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.