Sunday, September 15, 2019

What's happening this week - 9/15

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  This month's pattern is a simple Yarn Crab Fly, a great pattern for reds, sheepshead and drum. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net.

Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Building 500 in the Government Building Complex off F. Edward Hebert Blvd on the West Bank. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Also on Thursday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders resume their monthly meetings after summer break. Time is 6:00pm. Location is the Pack & Paddle "Outpost" building on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.acadianaflyrodders.org.

Brendan Bayard wins 2019 IFA Kayak Championship

The Inshore Fishing Association (IFA) Kayak Tour is the largest national saltwater kayak fishing series, incorporating five divisions across south Atlantic and Gulf waters. These tournaments are CPR (catch-photo-release) on IFA approved measuring boards, which allows for any sized fish to be entered.

Qualifiers from each division then compete in the national championship, which was held this past Friday and Saturday out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle.

Many of the biggest names in saltwater kayak fishing compete in this event each year, and one of those familiar names is Brendan Bayard of Baton Rouge, whose line of trophies probably requires it's own building!  Brendan is also a longtime kayak fishing field reporter on the "Outdoors with Don Dubuc" weekly radio show (Saturday mornings 5:00am to 7:00am).

Yesterday, Brendan pulled off another win. His two-day total of two redfish and two speckled trout measured out to an aggregate of 121.75 inches!  His longest redfish were 41.25 and 40.00 inches, his longest specks were 23.00 and 17.50 inches. He edged out Justin Rienerth of North Carolina, whose total length was 119.00 inches was anchored by a 43.00 inch red.

Other Louisiana finishers in the top 8 (received prize money) were: Matt Carr (5th), Lance Burgos (6th), Terry Pham (7th), and Scott Bienvenu (8th).  Terry lost out on a big speck that got sharked. Other anglers reported losing some nice fish as well. Even so, 22 of the competitors had four-fish total aggregates of over 100 inches!

Sunday, September 08, 2019

What's happening this week - 9/8

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Broadmoor United Methodist Church inside the Adult Education Center. Location is 10230 Mollylea Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual banquet in lieu of their monthly meeting. Location is Shanes on Mansfield Road in Shreveport. Time is 6:00pm. The banquet is open to members and non-members of NLFF. There's some great raffle items, some one-of-a-kind.  For more, call Scott at 318-469-0854.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier community building on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring $1 for materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome! For more, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Speckled trout in trouble, and "changes must be made"

Trout SPR has been below the conservation level for 8 years
On Thursday, at the monthly meeting of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, commission members and approximately 45 attendees heard a presentation by LDWF marine biologist Jason Adriance on the 2019 Speckled Trout Assessment.  In a nutshell, spawning stock biomass and spawning recruitment are below conservation standards - and have been since 2011.

The problem is happening across all estuaries. There are two main culprits:
- winter kills of speckled trout are more frequent and more damaging, despite milder winters. The cause may be due to coastal erosion and loss of deepwater canals and other winter freeze-kill havens for trout.
- Overfishing. There are more anglers, with more effort, and being more successful per trip (prior to the decline).

Making matters worse... Louisiana's target management for trout Spawning Potential Recruitment (SPR) is the lowest of any Gulf state, anywhere from 8 to 15 percent lower.  So there was very little margin for overfishing to begin with.

Adriance said LDWF will come up with management options and present those to the Commission, as well as get public input. The options include:
- creel limit reductions
- minimal length increases
- slot limits
- closed areas
- closes seasons
- special regulations after serious winter kills

According to an article in Louisiana Sportsman website, CCA Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson stated afterwards that they need time to fully understand the science regarding the variables at play. "We need to see more information before rushing into any judgements."

The Fly Fishers International (FFI) Gulf Coast Council was represented at the meeting by Glen 'Catch' Cormier, GCC Conservation Director. He posted the particulars of the meeting, including the various graphs and charts. Those can be found at www.gulfcoastcouncilffi.org.

The FFI-GCC understands the science, and is anxious to hear the recommendations of the biologists. It was very clear from the presentation, that Louisiana has had, for several years, a serious problem that needs changes.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

What's happening this week - 9/1

Monday is Labor Day, and the last day to enter a fish for the 2019 CCA STAR tournament.

On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to  www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com.

On Saturday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Tying Level 1" workshop at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 9:30am to 11:30am. Cost is $20. FTL1 covers the basics of fly tying, including hands-on tying of two effective flies for Louisiana. Tools and materials are provided for use during the session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required. To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Also on Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual Speck-n-Redfish Cup. Open to the public, entry fee is $25. The format is as follows: you can fish anywhere in Louisiana public waters. Bring your fish to Pack and Paddle in Lafayette before 5:00pm Saturday. Food will be served. Heaviest stringer of 4 fish (max 2 slot reds, max 2 specks) wins. Entry fee includes 1 raffle ticket for a new Hobie Pro Angler (more raffle tickets can be purchased at the weigh-in). Must be present to win. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

On Sunday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Fishing FUNdamentals" at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 2:00pm to 4:30pm. Cost is $40. FFFun covers the basics of fly fishing, with emphasis on gear, flies, techniques that work on Louisiana waters. Followed by hands-on casting session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required.  To register, go to www.packpaddle.com

Sunday, August 25, 2019

What's happening this week - 8/25

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: a presentation on a new KFF Casting Skills Challenge and the FFI Casting Skills Challenge, tackle tips for September redears, and video on Arkansas' White River. The public is welcome. For details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Independence Park Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd in  Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

What's happening this week - 8/18

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  This month's pattern is the March Brown Spider, one of several wet flies highlighted by Dave Hughes at last month's Masters Series. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net.

Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Building 500 in the Government Building Complex off F. Edward Hebert Blvd on the West Bank. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Friday and Saturday is the 11th annual Ride the Bull. More on that later.

Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet Blvd.  Time is 8:00am to 10:30am. No fee, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. Orvis FF101 is a one-day clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. To register, go to this link or call 225-757-7286.

Ride the Bull this weekend

The world's largest kayak fishing tournament takes place this weekend out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. Founded ten years ago by Danny and Kristen Wray, it's grown from about 60 participants to consistently over 600. After Kristen's long bout with cancer ended with her passing, CCA Louisiana stepped forward to help organize the tournament.

Registration began June 1st and will continue up to the morning of the tournament. Things kick off on Friday evening with the Captain's meeting, vendors, and live music. Saturday morning everyone launches and awaits the shotgun start.

The format is simple. Catch the largest bull red in a limited area of Caminada Pass. After the fish are landed, a chase boat is summoned to bring the fish in for weighing, tagging, and release.  Top fish are awarded places.  With this format, just about anyone with some fishing skill has a chance to win or place.

If you ever wanted to see all the kayaks - or other pedal / paddle boats that exist out there - this is the event to do it. Paddle kayaks, pedal yaks, round yaks, square yaks, canoes, pirogues, biyaks, SUPs (stand up paddleboards), even bathtub-looking boats have been entered!

For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. The website also contains helpful tips and a checklist for the tournament.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

From the Office of Advanced Strategic Planning

Times have changed when it comes to scheduling events.  For example, it was once common for clubs to begin planning their annual "conclave" just a few months before the event was to be held.  That included determining the date, the location, and the program speakers.

Nowadays, if you don't reserve a venue or speaker for your event many months in advance, then it's likely too late. In many cases, lodging for club trips needs to be booked at least a year in advance.

And that is why if you look at our Calendar page, you'll see that nearly all the major events for 2020 have been scheduled.  And in some cases, into 2021 and beyond. The Kisatchie Fly Fishers have scheduled their annual "March Brown" trips to the Little Missouri River into 2021.  The Red Stick Fly Fishers recently announced the dates for their annual "Spring Concordia" and "Fall Concordia" freshwater weekends, held at Lakeview Lodge in Ferriday. Those dates go into 2022.

While it's assumed that some events will recur on certain dates, nothing is ever certain. That's why we urge readers to check out our Calendar before making plans.

Monday, August 12, 2019

McCormick, Rajeff, Mittel again take titles at ACA Nationals

Last week, as they do each summer, some of the best conventional casters and fly casters in the country gather at the American Casting Association Nationals in friendly competition to see who is the best at  putting a lure or fly at given targets, or reaching out to long distances.

Maxine McCormick, the 15-year old wondergirl of fly casting once again made news as she set yet another record at the ACA Nationals in Pasadena, California.  Her total in the three Women's Fly Accuracy events totaled a whopping 291 out of a possible 300 points!  Her nearest competitor, Beth Statt, finished with 257 points.

By contrast, Steve Rajeff and Henry Mittel, both considered the greatest fly casters of modern times, finished 1st and 2nd in the Men's Accuracy Division with 294 and 290 points. Rajeff won the Trout Fly Accuracy contest with 98 points and the Bass Bug Accuracy with 97 points. But Mittel set a national record in winning the Dry Fly Accuracy, scoring a perfect 100 points! 

Rajeff and Mittel also split in the Fly Distance divisions. Rajeff won the 1-Handed Fly with a cast of 214 feet. Mittel won the 2-Handed Fly with 287 feet. Both tied for the Anglers Fly Distance with 166 feet, with Mittel winning the cast-off.

Other noteworthy performances included: Larry Allen won the Senior Men's Fly Distance 1-Handed with 173 feet and 2-Handed Fly with 214 feet. Elaine Gong won Senior Women's Fly Accuracy total with 245 points. Nicholas Galvan won the Junior Dry Fly and Bass Bug Accuracy with 91 and 89 points, respectively.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

What's happening this week - 8/11

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Broadmoor United Methodist Church inside the Adult Education Center. Location is 10230 Mollylea Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:45pm, program at 7:00pm.  The public is welcome! For more, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier community building on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring $1 for materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome! For more, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

This Saturday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Tying Level 1" workshop at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 9:30am. Cost is $20. FTL1 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly tying, including hands-on tying of two effective flies for Louisiana. Tools and materials are provided for use during the session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required. To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Summary of 2019 Louisiana lake drawdowns

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has planned drawdowns on several lakes this summer. Lowering the level of a lake by several feet has consistently proven beneficial for gamefish populations. It kills off nuisance vegetation - such as hydrilla, salvania, and alligator weed. It exposes the lake shoreline bottoms. Layers of organic muck that accumulate over time are exposed to sun and burn off, and compaction of sediments occurs as well. This typically results in a boom in gamefish spawning the following two years.

In most cases, waterways remain open to boating, but with strong precautions. Otherwise, boating is limited to certain areas or idle motoring only. In nearly all cases, fishing is still allowed.

Here is a list of lakes being lowered this year:

Kepler Lake in Bienville Parish - begins August 5th. Lake will be lowered by 4 to 6 inches per day to a target level of 8 feet below pool stage. Gates will close on November 29.

Bundicks Lake in Beauregard Parish - begins August 1st. Lake will be lowered by 2 to 4 inches per day to target level of 8 feet below pool stage. Control structure will be closed on November 29.

Saline Lake in Natchitoches and Winn parishes - began June 3rd. Lake dewatered 4 inches per day to target of 8 feet below pool. Gates will close on October 1st.

Lake Bistineau in Webster, Bossier, and Bienville parishes - began July 31st. Lake to be lowered 4 to 6 inches per day to target level of 8 feet below pool. Gates will close sometime this Fall.

False River in Pointe Coupee parish - begins September 3rd. Lake to be lowered 1.5 inches per day to maximum of 6 feet below pool. Gates will close on January 15, 2020.

Chicot Lake in Evangeline Parish - begins September 3rd. Lake to be lowered 3 inches per day to target level of 3 feet below pool. Gates will be closed in January 2020.

Vernon Lake in Vernon Parish - the lake was down 20 feet below pool while repairs were made to to the lake's dam. Due to heavy Spring rainfall, completion of the dam was extended to August/September. The lake will be restocked upon completion.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Miller's white bass to receive LOWA Fish of the Year

Photos courtesy of Charles Miller
Each year the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA) honors the anglers voted by the LOWA Fish Records Committee to have had the most significant catch in the previous year in both Rod & Reel and Fly Fishing Divisions. The winners receive their awards at the LOWA annual convention banquet. The convention takes place this weekend in Morgan City, with the banquet on Saturday night, August 10th.

In the Fly Fishing Division, Charles Miller of New Orleans, will be honored for a 3.98-pound white bass (Morone chrysops) caught in the Pearl River. It qualified for a new state record for that species in the Fly Fish Division.

Chuck, a professor in the Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences at Tulane University, is board member of the New Orleans Fly Fishers Club and a very active member of the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club. In 2017, he was named "Fly Angler of the Year" by Louisiana Sportsman magazine.

Chuck caught his fish on a chartreuse/white Clouser Minnow back in December while fishing from his Hobie Outback. That same day he also caught a white bass that registered as 3rd place in the state record.  Details of his trip can be read on his fishing blog, "Welcome to the Crawdad Hole", at this link.

An Honorable Mention in the Fly Fish Division will be awarded to Dustin Semar, a native of Lake Charles, who caught a 6.66-pound Bowfin in Cameron Prairie. That fish also qualified for a new state record.

In the Rod & Reel Division, top award went to 8-year old Drew Dubuc of Metairie for a 33.90-pound Striped Bass he caught in Lake Catherine. It ranks 6th in the state record book. Honorable Mention goes to Brian Neil of Metairie for a whopping 213.5-pound Big Eye Tuna caught in the Mississippi Canyon off Venice. It ranks 1st place in the state record.

Congratulations to all for this outstanding honor!

Sunday, August 04, 2019

What's happening this week - 8/4

Another very light week...

On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to  www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com.

Friday, August 02, 2019

August is here, and what that means

August 24th is the 10th annual Ride the Bull
1. The last full month of SweatFest, the festival no one likes to celebrate. It's fairly common for us to have several days this month with heat index over 110. So stay hydrated and limit your time outdoors if possible. Also be aware that water temperatures are at their highest of the year, and several strains of aquatic bacteria are active. So bring an antibacterial and treat any cuts or wounds immediately.

2. Now through September, the peak of hurricane season. We've already had Barry, and that one was bad enough. Hopefully we've reached our quota for the year.

3. When it comes to fishing, it's a mixed bag. August is the best month for fly fishing pelagic species, many of which come nearshore or invade lower bays. Expect excellent action on bull reds, cobia, jacks, mangrove snapper, king and spanish mackerel. Inside, there are speckled trout but you have to fight off the hordes of ladyfish and sailcats. Freshwater action is usually slow, EXCEPT in areas inundated with river water such as Old River Morganza, Deer Park, Henderson, Larto. As water levels continue to lower, expect excellent catches of bream, bass and crappie.

4. Football season kicks off. Louisiana fly anglers love their football just slightly less than they do their fishing.  So it's not uncommon to see more half-day trips now until the fishing gets really good. Saints camp started this week, and college teams begin practice today. The Saints face the Vikings on the 9th in their first preseason game.  College games begin on the 24th. On the 29th, Tulane takes on Florida International, on the 31st, LSU hosts Georgia Southern, UL-Lafayette travels to Mississippi State, and Louisiana Tech takes on Texas.  

Sunday, July 28, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/28

A very quiet week, with one activity of interest to kayak anglers.

On Thursday, Pack & Paddle will host "Learn to Ride the Bull - Kayak Fishing Edition" at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm to 8:00pm. There is no cost. Doug Menefee and members of the PnP staff will present an informative seminar on bull red kayak fishing, with emphasis on the upcoming "Ride the Bull" tournament.  Topics will include: rigging, anchoring, safety, reading wind and tide, landing a bull red, effective use of a fish finder, and much more. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A half-dozen items to catch up on

Just got back from 8 fantastic days in northern Colorado with fellow members of the Louisiana Hiking Club. Not counting the 4 travel days. It was mostly hiking, but I did spend two half days fishing and a full day fishing with my younger son Tiger Jake. Most of the waters were raging from runoff, the result of heavy spring snowfall and recent above normal temperatures. But we did find some fishable water, catching mostly brookies and cutthroat on dry fly.

A lot happened while we were gone. Hurricane Barry, for example. So let's catch up on at least a half-dozen items you may have heard about. Or maybe not.

1. Hurricane Barry aftermath.  The greatest damage appeared to come from the storm surge to unraised structures outside the storm levees below Houma and Golden Meadow. One of those was PAC Kayak Rentals at Pointe-aux-Chenes. In the 3 1/2 years since Eddie and Lisa Mullen established PACKR, it has become the most popular kayak fishing launch spot on the Gulf Coast, and site of numerous tournaments. The PAC Shack restaurant - which is raised - was intact. But the launch and shop were totally destroyed. The good news is that plans are underway to rebuild.

2. Fish kills. Anytime a hurricane hits Louisiana, the possibility of localized fish kills is high. In late summer, very warm water is low in oxygen. When leaves are stripped from trees by strong winds and blown into this water, they consume what little oxygen exists during decay. On Monday, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) received reports of kills around the lower Amite River, Blind River and Manchac. LDWF is investigating and determining the extent of the kill.

3. Rescheduled events from Barry. Dates have been set for the LA1 Slamboree kayak fishing tournament and Pack & Paddle's Spoon Fly Tying class. The Slamboree - hosted by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club - is now set for Saturday, August 10th. The Spoon Fly tying class will be held this Saturday, July 27th at 9:30am. Cost is $20. As of yesterday afternoon, a couple seats were still available. 


4. Kirk Dietrich's book is now published. It's not an exaggeration to say this is the most anticipated fly tying book of the year - and possibly several years!  Kirk, a native of Chalmette and lifelong resident of southeast Louisiana, is a nationally-renown fly tier recognized for his many innovative warmwater and saltwater patterns. Those include the Kirks Spoon (sold by Orvis), the Rattle Rouser, the Squirrelly, and numerous balsa poppers and divers. He's written numerous articles for magazines and websites, many on the subject of tying or fishing bugs. So it made sense that his first book would be "Tying Bugs: The Complete Book of Poppers, Sliders, and Divers for Fresh and Salt Water".  Stackpole Books (the publisher) has released a promotional card with the following: "The most complete fly tying book on poppers, divers, sliders (collectively called "bugs") ever written. Includes over 400 detailed step by step instructions with historical anecdotes for traditional patterns such as Lefty's Bug, Peck's Special Popping Minnow, Sneaky Pete, as well as innovate patterns tied with the latest materials. All facets of bug making are covered...". And there's much more. The book is 224 pages with 917 color photos! It can be pre-ordered from Amazon - available September 1st - for $39.95. Or a signed/inscribed copy from the author via Paypal (check Kirk's Facebook page for instructions).

5. The 28th annual Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival. Hosted by the Texas Fly Fishers, the 2020 event has been announced for Saturday, February 8th, at Bethany Christian Church on Westheimer in Houston. Featured tyer will be Gunnar Brammer of Duluth, Minnesota, an amazing young tier who specializes in designing and tying predator flies for all big game species. The Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival also features the largest contingent of tiers of any event on the Gulf Coast, from several states.

6. Enjoy this break from SweatFest. This morning's temperature here near Alexandria was a chilly 61 degrees! Over the next several days, both high and low temperatures north of Highway 190 will be below normal, with below normal humidity. Folks on the coast may not feel as much of the cool, but it should still be more comfortable than the last few weeks. I'm anxious to see how the fish like this cool weather! As far as SweatFest goes, it'll be back soon enough. We're also watching a possible tropical development in the Gulf.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/21

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Independence Park Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd in  Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

On Saturday, it's the annual "Masters Series" hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers club.  Location is the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on Sunflower Road in Bossier CIty.  Time is 9:00am to 5:00pm. Cost is $40 and includes admission, lunch, coffee, refreshments.   A few tickets are still available at this time.  This year's special guest is Dave Hughes.  Hughes has studied trout streams and lakes, the natural foods on which trout feed, and the flies that trout eat. He has written numerous articles and columns for various magazines, and written over 20 books on these subjects.  His presentation will explore many of his findings.  For more info or tickets, contact Tom Bullock 318-393-7729 or Scott Irwin 318-469-0854.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

TFO unveils new fly products at ICAST

Temple Fork Outfitters is at ICAST in Orlando this week, with several new offerings for 2020 in the New Product Showcase. Three of which will interest our readers.

The Axiom II-X is a variation of last year's revamped Axiom series. It has the new Axiom technology paired with the fast-action tapers found in the TiCrX series. The Axiom technology embeds a double-helix of Kevlar that acts to buttress the rod's carbon base under compression. Axiom II-X rods deliver high energy for long casts with incredible tracking. They also absorb shock better, with faster recovery.

The NXT Black Label series is designed to make fly fishing simple and affordable. The kit includes a TFO Pro II medium-fast blank, either 5-weight or 8-weight, a matching cast aluminum NXT BLK II or III reel, a premium weight-forward floating line, and 20-lb Dacron backing.

The BVK SD series of reels is now one of the best reel values on the market. That's because TFO took the popular BVK, added a fully sealed drag system, and didn't raise the price!  The new drag also has a wider range of settings. Like the BVK, the BVK-SD is machined and anodized, and so good for saltwater use.

ICAST Best of Show winners announced

Click on above for larger image
Starting Tuesday evening, and continuing today at the first full day of the ICAST expo, attendees had the opportunity to exam and vote on their favorite new products in the event's New Product Showcase.  A couple hours ago, winners were announced - and some came as no surprise.

While the show this year is nearly all conventional tackle, there are several companies who sell fly tackle in attendance. There's also a strong showing of kayak and kayak accessory companies. Hobie has made the biggest splash of them all with their new Mirage 360 Drive, which will be available on certain PA models in 2020.

Because most fly fishing representatives, industry personnel, pro staffers, media, etc. are not present (will be attending IFTD later this year), the voting is probably a lot more skewed than during the past 6 years when IFTD and ICAST were combined. For that reason, I'm not putting much stock in the results of the fly products... yet. They may be excellent products, but I'll wait and see.

Here's a list of fly and kayak-related product winners only:
- Best Kayak Accessory - Hobie Mirage 360 Angler
- Best Technical Apparel Coldwater - Simms M G4Z Stockingfoot Wader
- Best Technical Apparel Warmwater - AFTCO Overboard Submersible Shorts
- Best Fly Fishing Accessory - Simms Dry Creek Z Sling Pack
- Best Fly Reel - Seigler Reels SF
- Best Fly Fishing Rod - St. Croix Imperial Salt
- Best Eyewear - Costa Water Woman

The ICAST 2019 Overall Best of Show winner will be announced on Thursday at 2:00pm.

Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend has been cancelled

Earlier today, Red Stick Fly Fishers Saltwater Chair Randy Leonpacher informed all attendees of this weekend's Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend that the event was cancelled due to a tropical disturbance that is expected to become Hurricane Barry by the weekend.

Just an hour ago, Randy made contact with the folks at Boudreaux's Motel in Leeville, the location for the Friday and Saturday evening activities. And where many of the attendees would be staying. They said that the road in Leeville is under water and they are unable to get to the motel!

As of now, there are no plans to reschedule this event. However, the club's 2019 Fall Catch & Eat is scheduled for the last Saturday in October. All those who signed up for the LFFW are encouraged to take part in this event.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

2019 RBFF Report: fly fishing continues growth

As is the case each July, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation has released it's Special Report on Fishing. The 2019 Report will be part of the "State of the Industry" presentation at this week's ICAST in Orlando, Florida. It contains results from a comprehensive survey which targets angler participation in the previous year (i.e., the 2019 report covers 2018 participation) in the United States.

RBFF works with the Outdoor Foundation and a variety of market research and consulting firms in compiling the survey. The survey contains detailed information and trends on fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, geographic region and more.

The report also breaks down the participation by types of fishing, including fly fishing. And here, there's good news! Continuing a trend that began in 2010, fly fishing remains on the rise in America.

"Fly fishing has the fewest participants, but the number and percentage of participants has been increasing the most. Since 2016, the participation rate has increased by an average of 3.7 percent, and the number of fly fishing participants has jumped by an average of 4.5 percent."

"Also encouraging for fly fishing, the category had the highest rate of first-time participants. In 2018, 17.4 percent of participants were new to the category. In 2018, the number of fly fishing participants increased to 6.9 million participants, which was an all-time high for the activity."

By region, the highest number of fly anglers was in the South Atlantic (Maryland to Florida). Roughly 18.5 percent were from this region. Other top regions were Pacific (WA, OR, CA - 18.2 percent), Middle Atlantic (PA, NY, NJ - 15.2 percent), East North Central (WI, MI, IL, IN, OH - 12.5 percent) and West South Central (TX, LA, OK, AR - 11.4 percent).

Other continuing trends of fly fishing participation of the last decade continued in 2018.  Greater female participation, growing Hispanic participation, and a growing youth movement. In fact, the age group 25-34 now accounts for 19.1 percent of fly anglers in the U.S., with age group 35-44 second with 15.7 percent.

More evidence that fly fishing is strong among younger anglers - less than 25 percent of current fly fishers are 55 years or older. This is the lowest percentage of senior fly anglers in a decade.

Another interesting statistic from the survey was the level of participation among fly anglers. Over 98 percent identified themselves as either "avid anglers" or "would like to fish more". This indicates that the interest among participants is very strong and not likely to lose interest in the foreseeable future.

Monday, July 08, 2019

National Hurricane Center upgrades storm possibility for Gulf

We've been tracking reports of the possiblity of a tropical disturbance forming in the northern Gulf of Mexico later this week. As of 10:00am this morning, that possibility has been raised to 80 percent.

According to the National Hurricane Center, a trough of low pressure associated with a rare cool front over central Georgia is forecast to move south into the northeastern Gulf. Once it moves over the very warm waters of the Gulf, it's expected to strengthen. Gradual development is then possible.

By Thursday, the system will then likely move northward and westward. While the models show several different tracks, the most consistent place a landfall either just east of Slidell or south of Beaumont. Either location would result in a large amount of precipitation for south Louisiana. The other unknown is how organized the system will be when it lands - depression, tropical storm, or hurricane.

Attendees to the annual Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend this coming weekend will be notified if there is any change in plans.

Demystify publishes review of Shadow Assassin reel

We don't often link our news stories to other websites publications, but this is one we couldn't ignore. For the last few years, many of our readers who are on Facebook have seen the ads for Shadow Fly Fishing. They've asked about the fly reels, of which I've never seen one in person.

Shadow is a direct online retailer - not sold through shops or stores - much like Allen, Taylor and many others.  While they offer a variety of products, it's their two budget-priced fly reels that get most attention: the Assassin and the Gladiator. Both are bar-stock machined, with carbon fiber disc drag.

The Gladiator sells for $134 (currently on sale for $99). It claims a "water resistant drag". It comes in a few color options (gunmetal, red, green). But like many cheap reels, there's a low spool diameter to width ratio - the 7/8 model has a diameter of 3.46 inches and width of 1.18 inches. Still, it probably is satisfactory for marsh fishing.

The Assassin is definitely a notch up. It claims a "waterproof drag" with an amazing 20 pounds of drag strength!  It also promotes its use for saltwater. It comes in gunmetal or blue/black. The diameter/width ratio is much better - for the 7/8 model the diameter is 4.00 inches and width is 0.9 inches. This compares to many premium reels such as Galvan, Bauer, etc. It sells for $205, but currently on sale for $174.

As the article's author states, the discounts might indicate some new models or revisions of current models are forthcoming.

Want to know how the Assassin performed in real world testing?  Here's the link to the Demystify article.  CLICK HERE.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/7

One of the busiest weeks this summer, with several educational opportunities.

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at their new meeting location!  The club will now meet at the Adult Education Building at Broadmoor United Methodist Church on 10230 Mollylea Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. On the agenda: strategies for redfish and speckled trout in the marshes from Galliano to Grand Isle, as well as preparation for this week's annual Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend.  The public is welcome. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a free "Fly Fishing 102 - Trout Prep" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 4:00pm to 5:30pm. FF102 Trout Prep will cover the types of trout water, types of bugs and when they hatch, as well as rigging for dries, nymphs, and streamers. No fee, but registration is required. For more, call (225) 757-7286.

Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:45pm, program at 7:00pm.  The public is welcome! For more, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

On Wednesday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a free "Fly Fishing 102 - Sight Casting" clinic at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 4:00pm to 5:30pm. FF102 Sight Casting will cover the basics learning to spot fish and cast from the ready position, as well as fishing with a guide. No fee, but registration required. For more, call (225) 757-7286.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier community building on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring $1 for materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome! For more, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Starting this Friday and continuing to Sunday, it's the annual Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend (formerly Grand Isle Fly Fishing Weekend). Hosted by the Red Stick Fly Fishers, this event brings together members of clubs in Louisiana and Mississippi (and sometimes elsewhere) for marsh fishing along the Highway 1 corridor. Shrimp boil Friday night, fish fry Saturday night. Registration is required, deadline is Tuesday. For more info, check rsff.org for details.

On Saturday, Pack and Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Spoon Fly Tying Class" at their store on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 9:30am to 11:30am. Cost is $20. Instructor Flip Siragusa will guide students in hands-on tying of an epoxy spoon fly similiar to the Waldner variety, one of the deadliest flies for redfish and other species. Seats are limited, so pre-registration is required. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" class at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 8:00am to 10:30am. Orvis FF101 is a one-day, hands-on clinic covering the basics such as tackle, rigging and casting. Seats are limited so pre-registration is required. For more, call (225) 757-7286.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

St. Croix to unveil new Imperial Salt at ICAST

We're just days away from ICAST, the world's largest conventional sportfishing trade show. And while Fly Tackle Dealer is no longer merged with this event (IFTD will be in October), that doesn't preclude ICAST from having several new fly fishing products in the New Product Showcase.

As mentioned before, several companies - St. Croix, Pure Fishing (Hardy, Fenwick), TFO and others - make both conventional and fly tackle. For this reason, attendees will see and sample their new fly products for 2020.

Among the fly products to be featured at ICAST will be the new St. Croix Imperial Salt fly rod series. Available in six weights from 7 to 12, all in 9-foot length, the fast-action Imperial Salt combines SCIII carbon with St. Croix's patented IPC mandrel technology. Components are designed to withstand the toughest marine environments, such as Sea Guide PVD coated stripper guides with zirconia rings.

Made in the USA at their Park Falls, Wisconsin, factory, the Imperial Salt comes with a 15-year transferable(!) warranty. It also comes with a rugged rod case. MSRP ranges from $340 to $380.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Dates set for many 2020 events

We're at the midpoint of this calendar year, yet most of next year's regional events have already been scheduled.  Here is a list of those events and dates:

January 18 - Cenla Fly Fishing & Light Tackle Festival
February 1 - Atlanta Fly Fishing Show
February 8 - Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival (Houston)
February 15 - Little Mo Fly Fishing Fest
February 22 - GRTU TroutFest (New Braunfels)
March 7 - Red Stick Day (Baton Rouge)
March 21 - Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival (Plano)
March 28 - New Orleans City Park Rodeo & Big Bass Fishtival
April 25 - Fly Fishin For The Mission tournament
May 2 - Bass On The Fly (Lake Fork)

In addition, the New Orleans Fly Fishing Expo and an FFI Gulf Coast Council combination tournament/festival are in planning stage with dates soon to be announced.

Several clubs also have dates set for club fishing trips for first half of 2020. Among them are the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual trips to Lake Concordia and Spring Catch-n-Eat (marsh), and the Kisatchie Fly Fishers annual "March Brown" and "Cinco de Trout" coldwater trips.

Please check the Calendar page for updates. As these become available, we will post.

Monday, July 01, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/1

With Independence Day on Thursday, a very light week ahead.

On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to  www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com.

On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Fishing 101" sessions at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 8:00am. FF101 is a free one day, hands-on clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting.  No cost, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. For details, call 225-757-7286.

Also on Saturday, Orvis BR will hold a "Fly Tying 101" clinic at their store. Time is 3:00pm to 4:30pm. Orvis FT101 is a free one-day, hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools provided.  No cost, but pre-registration is required as class size limited. For more info, call (225) 757-7286.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Last week to renew your fishing license

Louisiana annual fishing licenses for 2018-2019 expire this Sunday at midnight, after which you'll need a 2019-2020 license. The new licenses became available on June 1st, and are good from the time of purchase thru June 30 of 2020.

Licenses can be purchased in several ways: (1) online at https://la-web.s3licensing.com, (2) at local license vendors, and (3) at LDWF offices in Baton Rouge, Opelousas, Lake Charles, Pineville and Monroe. Acceptable methods of payment made online are Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.

For residents, the basic annual license (covers freshwater only) remains at $9.50.  Saltwater license is an extra $13.00. Persons 60 years of age or older qualify for the special "Senior Fish/Hunt" license that covers all fishing, basic hunting, big game, and WMA use. Members of the military also get discounts on saltwater license, combined fish/hunt license.

As for non-residents, the basic stamp is $5.00 per day, with saltwater stamp $17.50 per day (total $22.50 per day). For frequent visitors to our state, the annual license might be a "cheaper" option. The NR season basic stamp is $60.00 and saltwater $30.00 for total of $90.00.

A word of advise.  Be aware that LDWF Enforcement gives out more tickets during the first week of July than any other week of the year. While a good number are for license violations, they also do boat safety checks. So be sure to check for PFDs, fire extinguishers, lights, and any other safety items on your boat or kayak before taking to the water.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

What's happening this week - 6/23

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Tom Konvicka, chief meteorologist for KALB-TV, who will talk about weather-related topics of interest to anglers. The public is welcome. For details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Independence Park Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd in  Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Wednesday, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers will hold a "Pint Night" at Tin Roof Brewing Company on 1624 Wyoming St. in Baton Rouge. Time is 5:30pm. Attendees can learn about the latest on public access issues in Louisiana. For more info, go to www.backcountryhunters.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

ICAST, IFTD, EFTTEX: The countdown to 2020 products begins now

We're a month away from the largest fishing trade show in the world.  But this year, it won't include most fly fishing products.

For the first time since 2012, the International Fly Tackle Dealers (IFTD) show will not be merged with the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST).  The American Fly Fishing Tackle Association (AFFTA), which hosts IFTD, made the decision last year to once again do it's own event. IFTD will be held in Denver on October 16-18. The decision to split was no surprise, but the date was. Before the merger, IFTD was traditionally held in August.

ICAST still has considerable relevancy to fly anglers. First, there are several companies that make both conventional and fly tackle, so it's likely we'll see new fly rods and reels from those companies.  Second, about two-thirds of the exhibitors at ICAST deal in products that span tackle choices. Those product lines include clothing, kayaks, waders, electronics, shoes, books, cutlery, artwork, coolers, sunglasses, and MANY more!

While we won't be attending ICAST (we will be at IFTD), we'll be monitoring the show highlights on various sites and Facebook and spotting the products we find most interesting to readers.

However, there's another show to consider and it's being held this week. The European Fishing Tackle Trade Assocation Expo (EFFTEX) is taking place in Brussels. Several fly companies are on hand revealing new products for 2020 (which will be available to retailers this Fall).

Temple Fork Outfitters will have an updated NXT outfit, featuring a new reel, new rod, and new (better) line. Also, a beefed-up version of the popular Axiom II rod, called the Axion II-X, offered in heavier line weights.  The BVK reels are being updated with a sealed drag system.

Sage looks to be replacing their BASS series fly rods. The new PAYLOAD rods are being promoted as capable of delivering big flies and heavy lines. It'll feature a powerful tip, transitioning to slower butt to allow a more relaxed casting stroke, and for more leverage when fishing fish. The sad news is that these rods will all be longer than the 8-foot lengths of the BASS series, even up to 9-feet, 2-inches!  Rod weights will range from 6 to 11. MSRP will be $550.

Sage is also introducing the Trout LL Series. This looks to be an updated version of the legendary Lightline Series of two decades ago. Newer KonneticHD technology matched with classic tapers.  The rods will feature a mahogany blank and the Sage Super Grip. Weights will range from 3 through 6, with lengths from 7'9" to 9'0". MSRP will be $800.

Rio has several new fly lines at EFTTEX, but the one that will interest readers the most is their new Technical Trout line. I say that because unlike some of the newer freshwater lines that have copied upon saltwater tapers (short, heavier heads) the Tech Trout lines will have a long head and back taper to improve loop stability and long range control. Think of fishing the Wall Hole at the Little Missouri River. MSRP will be $79.

Monday, June 17, 2019

What's happening this week - 6/16

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  Bill Morrison will lead the group in tying the Goober Bug, a simple but effective freshwater fly for bass and trout. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net.

Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

On Wednesday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a weekday edition of "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet Blvd.  Time is 4:00pm to 5:30pm. No fee, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. Orvis FF101 is a one-day clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. To register, go to this link or call 225-757-7286.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

On Friday, Pack & Paddle will hold a "Fly Tying Happy Hour" at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm to 8:00pm. This free event is open to all tiers of all levels. Bring your tools and materials and tie. Or just come and watch, or talk fishing. Pack & Paddle will provide the beer from Urban South Brewing Company. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

What's happening this week - 6/9

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. On the agenda: fly fishing the Highway 1 corridor and this month's annual Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend.  The public is welcome. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:45pm, program at 7:00pm.  The public is welcome! For more, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier community building on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring $1 for materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome! For more, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

What's happening this week - 6/2

A reminder that with National Fishing and Boating Week, Louisiana's free fishing days are this coming Saturday and Sunday. Both residents and non-residents can fish fresh or salt June 8-9 without needing a license.

On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to  www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com.

On Saturday, Ship to Shore in Lake Charles will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at Prien Lake Park. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Weather permitting. The Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club will also be on hand to discuss kayak fishing and kayak rigging. For more info, go to their Facebook page.

Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters of New Orleans will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at Deutsches Haus at 1700 Moss Street on Bayou St. John. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. Subject to weather.  For more info, check their Facebook page.

How all this river flooding will affect fishing

Bonnet Carre Spillway. Photo from USACE.
The Mississippi and Red Rivers drain over two-thirds of the United States. Since 1831, when steamboat captain Henry Miller Shreve cut a shortcut in the Mississippi at Turnbull's Bend, the Mississippi and Red / Atchafalaya have been separated. The Mississippi wants to take the shorter route through the Atchafalaya, which is why in 1950 the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the Old River Control Structure.

The longer path of the river has its own consequences. In years of extreme high water, the Mississippi gets bottled up - the water simply cannot exit fast enough into the Gulf of Mexico. The levees built to contain the river were meant to withstand weeks - not months - of inundation.

Despite the Bonnet Carre Spillway having been opened twice (and still open) along with other diversions, the Ol' Muddy is beyond stressed. Some flow is also being diverted through the Old River Control Structure into the Atchafalaya. But the Red River that feeds the Atchafalaya is itself at the highest level in many years.

That leaves one option left - opening the Morganza Spillway. The Spillway has only been opened twice in history, and was scheduled to open today but has been postponed to this Thursday. The Morganza diverts water into a broad plain containing forests, fields, camps and some homes. The delay will allow extra time for landowners to move livestock and belongings.

The water that flows into the Morganza eventually empties into the Atchafalaya Basin, putting more stress on Morgan City where the basin flushes back into the river. A barge will be sunk on Bayou Chene as a dam to prevent back-flooding in the Lake Verret, Belle River and Stephensville areas - although that will also result in higher water in those waters because water levels will be raised by the "dam".

So everyone is asking, "What will be the impact on fishing in areas affected by the rivers?".  The following is speculation, based on past situations.  Nobody really knows what the weather - and rivers - will do.

The live oxbows such as Old River Morganza, Old River Vidalia, Yucatan, Mary Crawford and Deer Park Lake will be a waste of time until the Mississippi gets down to under 25 feet on the Baton Rouge gauge.  But then expect a brief spurt of outstanding fishing! 

The Pontchartrain Basin has already seen a large impact from the Bonnet Carre. Freshwater fishing across the basin - from Highway 51 canals all the way to Shell Beach near Lake Borgne - is the best in many years. Redfish and sheepshead - which don't mind freshwater - continue to be fairly good. Speckled trout fishing has taken a big hit in Pontchartrain itself, but the edges of Lake Borgne and beyond have been very good as the trout have congregated eastward in avoidance of the river water.

Once the water starts to go down, we should see outstanding catches of bass, bream, and crappie in the Atchafalaya Basin. And also in the Verret Basin. Probably late June through July.

One area that will be a bust this summer will be Cypremont Point. It typically takes 2-4 weeks after the Atchafalaya hits it's summer low mark before the Point begins producing decent numbers of speckled trout. That could well be as late as August.

The worst fear on every anglers mind in south Louisiana is that once the rivers get down, we'll get a hurricane that will knock the fishing prospects back further.

Monday, May 27, 2019

ACA National Casting Championships coming this summer

Maxine McCormick at age 12.
The American Casting Association will hold it's 111th annual National Casting Championship July 31st - August 4th at the Pasadena Casting Club in Pasadena, California. Most of the top casters in the world - both fly and conventional - will be on hand to compete for distance and accuracy. Among the many events are Single Hand Distance, Two Hand Distance, Trout Accuracy and others.

Some of the records set at the ACA Nationals include 1-Hand Fly Distance men's of 243 feet (Steve Rajeff, 2009) and women's of 155 feet (Pamela Peters, 2006). The 2-Hand Fly Distance men's record is 294 feet (Henry Mittel, 2011) and women's record of 179 feet (Pamela Peters, 2010). Anglers Fly Distance records include men's of 190 feet (Rene Gillibert, Steve Rajeff), and women's of 150 feet (Alice Gillibert).

And then there's Maxine McCormick. The 15-year-old from Portland, Oregon, is the youngest world champion in fly casting history. She's become a rock star of our sport, featured in a variety of newspapers, magazines and national news. Considered America's top female fly caster, at age 12, she set the junior record for Anglers Fly Distance at 122 feet. Last year, at the World Championship in England, she took the two-handed distance casting title with an incredible 189-foot cast.

Young McCormick isn't just a distance champion. In the Trout Fly Accuracy competition, she has the second-highest score in history, at any category. Her 99 point performance in 2016 is second only to five men who tied with a perfect 100. And all five are casting world champions - Steve Rajeff, Tim Rajeff, Henry Mittel, Chris Korich and Zack Wilson.

Even so, from all reports McCormick has been working on her distance. Now that she's a lot taller, stronger and more refined, there's every reason to believe she will break the women's mark of 150 feet set by Alice Gillibert in 2004 at the upcoming Nationals in July.  You can bet the world will be watching.  

Sunday, May 26, 2019

What's happening this week - 5/26 (updated)

With Monday being Memorial Day, some scheduled activities will be adjusted.

On Tuesday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the East Baton Rouge Independence Park Library at 7711 Goodwood Blvd in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

Also on Tuesday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. For details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" session at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet Blvd.  Time is 8:00am to 10:30am. No fee, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. Orvis FF101 is a one-day, 2.5 hour clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. To register, contact 225-757-7286.

Also on Saturday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Tying Level 1" workshop at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 9:30am. Cost is $20. FTL1 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly tying, including hands-on tying of two effective flies for Louisiana. Tools and materials are provided for use during the session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required. To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Later on Saturday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Fishing FUNdamentals" at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 1:00pm. Cost is $40. FFFun is a one-day, 3-hour clinic covering the basics of fly fishing, with emphasis on gear, flies, techniques that work on Louisiana waters. Followed by hands-on casting session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required.  To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Arkansas increases funding for trout fisheries

For the thousands of Louisiana fly anglers who enjoy the fantastic coldwater trout fisheries of our neighboring state to the north, there's good news and bad news.

First, the bad news. Recently signed into law, Act 886 of the Arkansas General Assembly increased the cost of the annual trout stamp from $5 to $10 for residents. In accordance, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission last week passed a price increase of $10 to $20 for non-residents. It was the first increase in the trout stamp in 16 years.

The good news is that the increase will be used for better trout management, to maintain and improve trout hatcheries, and increase trout stockings in some waters, such as the Little Missouri River in southwest Arkansas.

Currently all AGFC hatcheries are in need of renovation, and the Spring River hatchery that provides stockings for the Little Missouri and other rivers is running at only 50 percent of historical production.  The increase will also help to fund improved fish habitat and increase angler access areas. 

Free fishing days start next weekend

This coming weekend kicks off National Fishing and Boating Week, a celebration of the importance of recreational boating and fishing in America. Most states, including Louisiana, have designated "free fishing days" either the first weekend or second weekend in June.

Free fishing days are a perfect opportunity to try out fishing for the first time. Or, if you're willing to travel, to partake of fishing in another state without having to purchase a license. Some states may have certain restrictions. For example, you might be able to fish freshwater for free, but still have to buy a saltwater permit or trout permit. So please check before making plans.

Louisiana's free fishing weekend is June 8-9. You can fish fresh or salt over these two days without needing a license.

Adjacent states:
- Alabama, June 8 (both fresh and salt)
- Arkansas, June 7-9 (beginning noon June 7th)
- Mississippi, June 1-2 (both fresh and salt)
- Texas, June 1st (state parks are always license-free with admission)
- Oklahoma, June 1-2

For a complete list of free fishing days in all states, go to www.takemefishing.org. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Welcome to SweatFest 2019!

The Summer soltice may not be until June 22nd, but seasons in Louisiana are always a few weeks early. Memorial Day weekend is the start of "90-90-90"... 90 days of 90 degree high temperatures and sometimes humidity up to 90 percent. Enjoy the June breezes because come July they go away and the sweating kicks up a notch.

The weatherman doesn't have to work hard this time of year, except when the occasional tropical storm pops up. This year, the National Hurricane Center and NOAA's Climate Prediction Center are calling for a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season. That means to expect between 9 and 15 named storms (winds 39 mph or higher).  Of those, anywhere from 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds 74 mph or higher), and 2 to 4 major hurricanes (winds of 110 mph or higher). 

By contrast, in 2018 there were 15 named storms, of which 8 became hurricanes, and 2 became major hurricanes.  None hit the Louisiana coast. Tropical storm Gordon in early September came closest, hitting the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

With SweatFest, comes an emphasis on summer safety. Summer sun and heat brings many dangers to anglers. Heat stroke is the number one threat. Bring an ice chest or cooler tote bag with water and/or sports drinks to stay hydrated. The sun itself is a threat, but does its damage over time. Skin exposed to high UV radiation months can lead to skin cancer. Protect your skin by putting on a high-SPF waterproof sunscreen before you get on the water. Wear long sleeve breathable shirts, a rim cap or a bill cap in conjunction with a gaitor (buff). Always were some type of cover for your feet.

Also be aware that thunderstorms can be a daily occurence in summer. At the first sign of towering  cumulus clouds, start making your way back to the launch (especially if you're in a kayak). Lightning can strike from eight miles away, so waiting for lightning to approach is not a smart option!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

What's happening this week - 5/19

On Monday, in lieu of their monthly fly tying session, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold a special program on "Rod Building Basics". Time is 6:30pm.  Roger Breedlove will present on what goes into assembling a custom built fly rod, including the selection of blanks, corks, reel seats and more. Those participating in the club's rod building clinic on June 29th can order blanks at this meeting. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net.

Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Also on Thursday, Pack & Paddle will host a free seminar on "Fly Fishing the World" at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Alaska and Louisiana fishing guide Ron Ratliff will talk about various salmon, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden in Alaska. John Williams will speak on a trip to a remote area of the Yucatan for bonefish, permit, snook and tarpon. Stephen and Lilly Outten will talk on camping and fishing creeks of North Carolina. Barret Bertucci will speak on a DIY bonefish trip to the Bahamas. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Starting Friday afternoon, it's the 10th annual "Bass On The Fly" fly fishing tournament at Lake Fork Marina in Alba, Texas. It's a CPR tournament with total length of five longest (5) largemouth bass with divisions for Boat and Kayak.  Entry fee is $70 and can be done online at www.ianglertournament.com or onsite Friday. Friday afternoon there's casting games, kayak demos, and from 2:00pm to 6:00pm is the annual Sunfish Tournament (optional $10 entry) followed by the Captains meeting and fishing report. Saturday is bass tournament day with weigh-in at 2:00pm followed by awards and door prizes. Proceeds go to Casting For Recovery and FFI Texas Council. For more info, go to www.bassonthefly.com.

On Saturday, it's the PAC Fly Fishing Journey kayak tournament out of PAC Kayak Rentals in Montegut. Captains meeting 5:00am, shotgun launch is 5:30am, weigh-in from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Entry fee $25. Heaviest stringer of two slot reds, with Sheepshead and Leopard Red side pots ($5 each). Fly fishing only, boat checks before launch. Human-powered paddle or pedal craft only. Sponsored by Fly Life Company, Chad Foster, Pack & Paddle and PAC Kayak Rentals. For more info, or to register, go to www.packayakrental.com.

Monday, May 13, 2019

What's happening this week - 5/12

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. On the agenda: this week's upcoming Spring Catch-n-Eat marsh fishing trip out of Golden Meadow. The public is welcome. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:45pm, program at 7:00pm. On the agenda: Glen 'Catch' Cormier and Larry Offner will present on the "Magnificient Seven", easy-to-tie panfish flies. Catch will also talk about conservation issues in the FFI Gulf Coast Council. The public is welcome! For more, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier community building on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring $1 for materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome! For more, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Also on Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "Fly Tying Happy Hour" at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your vise, tools, materials, and PnP will bring the beer from Urban South Brewing Company. This event is free and open to all tiers, non-tiers, and anyone who just wants to check out what others are tying. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" session at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet Blvd.  Time is 8:00am to 10:30am. No fee, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. Orvis FF101 is a one-day, 2.5 hour clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. To register, contact 225-757-7286.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Fly tournament options abound Memorial Day weekend

Competitive fly fishing is all the rage among the growing numbers of under-40 fly anglers nationwide.  And among some of us older folks, too. Taking a page from the kayak fishing community, these events combine comradery with learning experiences and shared knowledge, while doing what we all love most - actual fishing!

Well come Saturday, May 25th - the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend - regional fly anglers have options. Not one... not two... but three (!) tournament options to choose from.  Fortunately, only two are single-day events, the third is summer-long.

First off, Saturday kicks off the annual CCA STAR tournament. Once again, there's a Fly Fishing Division with two regional divisions, East and West. Each division will award a $1,500 gift card from Academy Sports + Outdoors to the fly angler who catches the heaviest speckled trout. Sponsored by Costa del Mar, the fly fishing division has been very competitive the last few years. To participate, an angler must be a CCA member -and- enroll in the STAR tournament (separate fee).  The STAR tournament continues through Labor Day. All rules can be found on www.ccastar.com.

Incidently, while other CCA states have a similiar tournament, only Florida has a Fly Fishing Division. Louisiana CCA members can participate in the Florida STAR if they have a Florida saltwater license and a Florida CCA STAR entry tag. Unlike Louisiana STAR, the FLSTAR is CPR (catch-photo-release) with an approved measuring device. Longest of each species wins. The species list is quite extensive: snook, seatrout, non-tagged redfish, tarpon, grouper, dolphin, and kingfish.

May 25th also is the 10th annual "Bass on the Fly" fly fishing tournament out of Lake Fork, Texas. The BOTF tournament is usually held the first Saturday of May each year, but was rescheduled this year due to the Bassmasters Elite tournament held that weekend on Lake Fork.  

BOTF is a CPR tournament with total inches for five (5) bass. Activities kick off on Friday with free casting clinics, product booths and kayak demos, and the Captains meeting and guide report at 6:00pm that evening. There's also a Big Sunfish tourney from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.  Saturday is the main event with lines-in after 6:00am and weigh-in  before 2:00pm. Categories include Boat and Non-Boat (kayak, canoe, float tube, bank, etc). The event is open to the public. Entry fee is $70 per person.

Registration and fish entry is through the iAngler app. Anglers who register prior to May 15th are automatically eligible for a drawing for a Sage Smallmouth rod.  Proceeds benefit Reel Recovery and the FFI Texas Council. For complete info, go to www.bassonthefly.org.

Also on May 25th, it's the inaugural "PAC Fly Fishing Journey" out of PAC Kayak Rentals in Montegut. This is a weigh-in fly fishing paddle/pedal tournament for two biggest slot reds ($25), with optional calcuttas for Big Red, Leopard Red, and Sheepshead ($5 each). Shotgun launch from the marina at 5:30am with weigh-in from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Food will be provided at the weigh-in for no extra cost. For more info, go to www.packayakrental.com and click on Fly Fishing Journal.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

What's happening this week - 5/5

On Wednesday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club and Masseys Outfitters will host the 2018-2019 Masseys Fish Pics Awards Ceremony at their New Orleans location on 509 North Carrollton. Time is 7:00pm (social) with awards at 7:30pm. The Fish Pics tournament is a free, months-long CP (catch-photo) tournament for BCKFC members hosted by Masseys, with Conventional, Fly Rod, and Youth Divisions. The Fly Rod division awards the most points based on total cumulative inches of redfish, speckled trout, and bass. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.

On Thursday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a weekday version of their "Fly Fishing 101" sessions at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 4:00pm. FF101 is a free one-day, 2.5-hour clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting.  No cost, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. For details, call 225-757-7286.

This Saturday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Tying Level 1" workshop at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 9:30am. Cost is $20. FTL1 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly tying, including hands-on tying of two effective flies for Louisiana. Tools and materials are provided for use during the session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required. To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Later on Saturday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Fishing FUNdamentals" at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 1:00pm. Cost is $40. FFFun is a one-day, 3-hour clinic covering the basics of fly fishing, with emphasis on gear, flies, techniques that work on Louisiana waters. Followed by hands-on casting session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required.  To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Also on Saturday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their annual "Oak Point Classic" tournament at PAC Kayak Rentals in Pointe-aux-Chenes. Entry fee is $25 + $1.25 Paypal fee. Open to the public. Heaviest weight of 2 reds and 3 specks, with a heaviest trout calcutta. Also Leopard Red category. Artificial tackle only. Registration deadline 12 noon, Friday May 10th. Fishing time 6:00am (shotgun launch) to 3:00pm (sign in to weigh deadline). For more info, or to register, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

Monday, April 29, 2019

What's happening this week - 4/28

On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to  www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com.

On Saturday, it's the 16th annual Paddlepalooza kayak fishing tournament. More on that later.

Also on Saturday, it's the 7th annual Cedar Lake Fly Fishing Tournament hosted by the Mississippi Coast Fly Fishers. Location is Camp Contributions Road in Biloxi. Time is 6:00am to 12:00pm. The tournament is open to all anglers. Entry fee is $30 and includes lunch from Your Mamaz House. Registration deadline is this Friday. Sign in morning of tournament at Camp Contributions. For more info, including tournament rules, go to this link.

Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Fishing 101" sessions at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 8:00am. FF101 is a free one day, 2.5 hour clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting.  No cost, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. For details, call 225-757-7286.

There's never a loser at Paddlepalooza!

This Friday evening and Saturday it's Paddlepalooza XVI, the longest-running kayak fishing tournament in the country, and one of the three largest. It'll again be held out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, it kicks off with the Captains Dinner on Friday evening. Saturday is tournament fishing day. After the weigh-in, there's fish fry, awards, and a huge raffle. Entry fee is $60. Onsite registration is also available.

Fishing is confined to the Highway 1 corridor from Galliano to Grand Isle. The Cajun Slam category (heaviest combination of 1 slot red, 1 speck, and 1 flounder) offers the top prizes. There's also individual species categories, Youth Division, Ladies Division, the Leopard Red and Trash Bash Divisions. The latter two offer the chance for any skill level to win. The Leopard Red is a slot red (18" to 27") with the most spots. In the Trash Bash Division, bags will be handed out to willing participants to collect trash in the marsh. Bring back a bag of trash and be eligible to win.

Regardless of who gets prizes, there's never a loser at Paddlepalooza! That's because this event offers great comradery and great food - Friday night pastalaya and Saturday night fish fry - as well as nearly $10,000 in raffle prizes. There's kayak demos and plenty of information sharing on yaks and fishing techniques. What's more, the revenues from the tournament go to charity. 

For a complete list of rules, or to register, go to www.bckfc.org.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!

What a wonderful Easter day! Hope you and yours are enjoying the great weather this weekend, after all the unsettled weather we've been through here in Louisiana the past month.

The ground has dried up enough for the kids to enjoy an Easter egg hunt without hip boots. Us adults are busy in the kitchen and outside on the grill. A true Cajun feast awaits at the Cormier homestead!

With all the fun, the reason for this day is not lost. We recognize the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was sent to redeem the world.

We wish everyone a great day. And a reminder that, with many schools having Spring break this week, to take a young person fishing!

What's happening this week - 4/21

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the East Baton Rouge Main Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library on Provine in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. With the good weather, the club will hold another of their casting sessions in the back lawn. The public is welcome. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Also on Thursday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" session at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet Blvd.  Time is 4:00pm to 6:30pm. No fee, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. Orvis FF101 is a one-day, 2.5 hour clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. To register, contact 225-757-7286.

Starting Friday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers' annual Spring outing to Lake Concordia near Ferriday for warmwater species. The highlight of the outing is the Saturday evening fish fry, featuring donations of freshly-caught bream and catfish caught by attendees. For more info, go to www.rsff.org.

This Saturday is the 3rd annual "Fly Fishin for the Mission" tournament  out of PAC Kayak Rentals in Pointe-aux-Chenes southeast of Houma. Friday is "Vets Fishing Day" along with fly tying, casting clinics, kayak demos, and more. Saturday is tournament day with Captains meeting at 5:30am, followed by shotgun launch. Weigh-in is 2:00pm to 3:00pm.  Format is two (2) heaviest redfish per team. Divisions include Boat, Kayak and Overall. Team format, entry fee is $100 per team with all donations going to the Mission Six charity, which aids veterans and other uniformed heros. For more details, or to register, go to www.mission6.org.

Also this Saturday is the rescheduled "Marsh Bass Madness" kayak fishing tournament hosted by the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club. This is a CPR tournament (TourneyX app) with target of five (5) bass with an 8" minimum. Fishing is from 6:30am to 2:30pm. Entry fee is $35. This tournament is open to the public. For more info, go to the LCKFC Facebook Page.