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