Sunday, September 25, 2022

Rio Rodeo this Saturday

13th annual Rio Grande Rodeo
Saturday, October 1st, 2022

7:00am - on-site registration
7:30am to 12:30pm - fishing time
12:00pm - weigh-in deadline
Event site: No Wake Outfitters
1926 Airline Drive, Metairie, LA
Hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers Club (NOFFC)

The Rio Rodeo is the longest running freshwater fly fishing tournament on the Gulf Coast.   Target species is the wary Rio Grande Cichlid. All entry fish must be caught on flies and fly tackle. Categories are “Longest Rio” and “Most Rios”. Net proceeds from the tournament go to Casting For Recovery.

At this point, anyone not pre-registered can register onsite at No Wake Outfitters starting at 7:00am. The $15 entry fee includes lunch and refreshments.   

For complete details, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Friday, August 19, 2022

LDWF seeking exhibitors for NHF Day events

Established by Congress in 1971, National Hunting and Fishing Day - always the 4th Saturday in September - recognizes the many contributions that hunters, anglers and other wildlife enthusiasts have made towards sustainable use of natural resources and towards conservation of those resources. For 2022, NHF Day is September 24th.

Last week, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced that National Hunting and Fishing Day would again be celebrated at four venues across the state: Bodcau (Minden), Monroe, Waddill (Baton Rouge) and Woodworth.

LDWF is currently seeking exhibitors for each venue. Fly fishing and fly tying have long been part of the many activities, so clubs are being asked to register in Baton Rouge, Woodworth and Minden. There is no local club in Monroe, but anyone interested in volunteering for casting or tying demonstrations are encouraged to register for that venue.

For clubs ONLY, one member of each club is asked to register as an EXHIBITOR. All other club members who will be assisting are asked to register as VOLUNTEERS.  This is so LDWF can more easily organize the layout of the venue based on the exhibitor entries.

If no member of your club has been contacted, please email Kristi Butler at kbutler@wlf.la.gov for links to the Exhibitor and Volunteer signup forms. These forms are online and take about a minute to complete.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Registration for Rio Rodeo now up

13th Annual Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo
Saturday, October 1st, 2022
7:00am – on-site registration
7:30am – 12:30pm – fishing time
Event site: No Wake Outfitters
1926 Airline Drive, Metairie, LA
$15 entry fee includes lunch and refreshments

Hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers Club, the Rio Rodeo is the longest running freshwater fly fishing tournament on the Gulf Coast.   Target species is the wary Rio Grande Cichlid. All entry fish must be caught on flies and fly tackle. Categories are “Longest Rio” and “Most Rios”. Net proceeds from the tournament go to Casting For Recovery.

The rodeo is open to all fly anglers.  Advanced registration must be received by mail by September 24th. Onsite registration is from 7:00am to 7:30am day of the tournament. Both onsite registration and weigh-in will be at No Wake Outfitters in Metairie. For complete details, and to download registration form, go to the NOFFC website at www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Vlahos' pompano recognized as FFOY

At their annual convention this past weekend, the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association recognized the "Fish of the Year" in both conventional and fly fishing categories.  This year's recipient in the "Fly Fish of the Year" category was Nick Vlahos for his 3.01 lb. Florida Pompano he caught while fishing out of Breton Sound. Ella Douglas of Thibodaux received the "Rod and Reel" honor with a 25.80 lb. Dog Snapper she caught while fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Both fish are new state records.

Nick is a fly designer and commercial tyer, owner of Sandbar Flies. He's best known for his signature pattern, the "Sandbar Crab", but his Sand Flea, Sandbar Mullet, Marsh Mullet and Dock Light Shrimp have also reported to be excellent flies for a variety of marsh and nearshore species.

After his family moved to Georgia, the Baton Rouge native came back home to college at LSU. Here is where Nick began saltwater fly fishing out of his kayak. In the days when our forum was a huge part of the laflyfish.com website, Nick was a frequent poster, sharing many of his successes on the water.  

Since the 1940s, LOWA has curated the state fish records, maintaining the top 10 catches by weight of each species, fresh and saltwater. In the 1980s, under the guidance of Pete Cooper, Jr. and Bob Dennie, the Fly Fish Division was added.

Fly anglers who believe they've landed a trophy-sized fish (or for some species, even a decent sized fish) should check the LOWA Fish Records website.  Registration can be printed and mailed, or filled in online. Registration fee is $25.
 

Friday, July 29, 2022

AFR club to host Acadiana Fly Fishing 101

Acadiana Fly Fishing 101
Saturday, September 17, 2022

Time: 10:15am - 1:00pm
Lafayette Parish - East Regional Library
215 La Neuville Rd, Youngsville, LA
FREE and open to the public!

Hosted by the Acadiana Fly Rodders, the FF101 workshop is an opportunity to learn about fly fishing, or improve your knowledge and skill in various aspects of the sport. Topics will include tackle overview and terminology, equipment and accessories for freshwater and saltwater fishing, types of flies, hands-on practice of knots and leaders, and hands-on casting led by FFI-Certified instructors.

There is no cost.  Refreshments will be provided. If you have equipment, it's advised to bring it. Otherwise, the club will have several sets of rods and reels available for use during the workshop.

AFR president Flip Siragusa noted, "We've seen the success of similiar workshops in Alexandria, Baton Rouge and elsewhere. It's not only brought new people into our sport, but also brought new members to clubs. For example, the Kisatchie club grew from a couple dozen members to over a hundred member families in a few years thanks to their Fly Fishing 101 clinics."

For this reason, the Acadiana club is encouraging family participation in this event. Attendees can optionally sign up as AFR members at a special discount rate of $10 (family membership).

Pre-registration is required. To register, go to the AFR website at www.acadianaflyrodders.org and click on "Fly Fishing 101". There you will find a link to the registration form, as well as complete details about the event.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

2022 RBFF Report: slight decline, but fly fishing gets younger

As been the tradition for the past 12 years, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation - along with the Outdoor Foundation - released its annnual look at fishing participation in the United States just prior to this week's ICAST fishing trade show. The 2022 Special Report on Fishing details participation trends in overall fishing, saltwater fishing, fly fishing and other areas of our sport based on licenses, surveys, tackle sales and many other datapoints from the previous year (2021).

Overall, more than 52 million Americans ages 6 and over went fishing in 2021. This was a four percent decline from the historic high in 2020, and yet still one of the highest numbers ever. Also of interest, women composed 37 percent of participants, the highest number ever.

With regards to fly fishing... participation in 2021 also declined four percent from the historic high of 7.8 million in 2020. The 7.5 million fly anglers is still significantly higher than anytime since records have been kept.

There's more good news. The majority of 2020 participants who lapsed were in the older age groups. This was offset by nearly 17 percent newcomers to fly fishing, mostly under age 35. Almost 60 percent of all fly anglers are now age 44 and under.

Diversity. Female participation continues to grow. About 19 percent of female participants were first-timers, compared to 16 percent of male participants. Conversely, the numbers of black and hispanics continue to be low at 8 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Income and education. Fly fishing continues to be favored by those with higher income and with some college or college degree. Seventy percent of fly fishers have annual income of $50k or more, while 60 percent have at least one year of college or higher.

Demographics. Once again, the South Atlantic region (Virginia to Florida) had the highest number of fly anglers, representing 20 percent of the total. This was followed by the Mid-Atlantic and Pacific regions, at 17 percent.  Our region - Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma - had 10 percent of all participants, or about 750,000 fly anglers. 

Friday, July 08, 2022

News from the New Orleans club

Charles Miller, secretary of the New Orleans Fly Fishers, recently posted an update on Facebook regarding upcoming club activities and events. Most, if not all, are open to the public.

Saturday, July 16th - the NOFFC will hold a casting clinic at LaFreniere Park on the big lake near the concession stand, weather permitting.  Casting will start at 9:30 am. This is a great opportunity to learn or polish your casting skills. If you know of someone who would like to learn how to fly cast, please feel free to invite them as this clinic is open to the public.

Saturday, July 30th - the club's monthly fly tying class will be held at No Wake Outfitters located at 1926 Airline Drive. Time is 10:00am. A.J. Rosenbohm will teach the class. Please bring $2 to give to the instructor to cover cost of tying materials. Beginners are welcome!

Saturday, October 1st - the 14th annual Rio Grande Rodeo returns after a hiatus last year due to Covid concerns. This is the longest running fly fishing only tournament on the northern Gulf Coast. The target species is the Rio Grande Perch, the only cichlid native to North America. However, not being native to Louisiana, it's been branded as an invasive species. This year the rios are showing up in good numbers. More details will be sent out later this summer.

Saturday, January 21st - the 2nd biennial New Orleans Fly Fishing Expo will be held at St. Christopher the Martyr school gymnasium. The venue will allow for casting instruction regardless of the weather. Committees are being organized, and more details to come. If it's anything close to the last NOFF Expo, it promises to be a great family-friendly event for both beginners and experts!

Charles also reported that the club will kick off their 2nd Big Year Tournament.  This is a "mixed bag" CPR contest where the goal is to catch as many different species on fly tackle. The Big Year kicks off August 1st and will end on July 31st, 2023. Look for details and contest rules coming up on the club website at www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Friday, June 03, 2022

Louisiana free fishing days June 11-12

This coming weekend kicks off the 20th anniversary of National Fishing and Boating Week (June 4th-12th), an annual 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. 

For 2022, Louisiana's free fishing days are Saturday-Sunday, June 11-12.  Here are the free fishing days for neighboring states:
Alabama - June 11
Arkansas - June 11-13
Florida - June 11-12 (freshwater only)
Mississippi - June 4-5, July 4th
Texas - June 4

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

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Welcome to SweatFest 2022

SweatFest.... a celebration of heat, humidity, hurricanes, and horseflies. As well as lots of mosquitos. Conversely, it's also a fun time for those who love the beach, snowballs, and cutting grass.  

Memorial Day weekend is usually the kickoff for 90 degree days and 70 degree nights, and high humidity.  Enjoy the June breezes now because come July they go away and the sweating kicks up a notch. By early September, the nights are long enough for radiative cooling to take effect, even if the days are still a bit balmy.

As for tropical weather activity, the National Weather Service predicts yet another above-average year. Hard to imagine they won't be right - we're on the first day of hurricane season and already we've got a system in the Yucatan worth watching.  The remnants of Pacific hurricane Agatha are reforming into what could be Tropical Storm Alex.  Current projections show it hitting southwest Florida by the weekend.

The summer sun and heat of SweatFest bring 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. Skin exposed to high UV radiation leads to sunburn, and over time 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 wear 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 28, 2022

Fishing license changes effective June 1st

In last year's legislative session, House Bill 691 proposed much-needed changes in Louisiana's fishing and hunting licenses and fees.  With strong bipartisan support, the bill passed and was signed into law.  In a few days - on June 1st - this new licensing structure will take effect. Here's a summary of the changes that will affect recreational anglers:

  • All licenses now will be valid for 365 days from the date of purchase.
  • Basic freshwater license (now includes crawfish nets):  $17 annual resident, $68 annual non-resident, $17 non-resident native 10-day, $30 non-resident 5-day.
  • Saltwater license (now includes crab traps and shrimp trawls to 25 feet):  $15 annual resident, $60 annual non-resident, $15 non-resident native 10-day, $30 non-resident 5-day
  • Hook & Line license (includes roadside crabbing): $5 annual resident, $5 non-resident native 10-day
  • Senior licenses (includes hunting): born before 6/1/1940 - not required, born between 6/1/1940 and 5/31/1962 - $5, otherwise anyone 65+ after 6/1/2027 - fee will then be $20.
  • Disabled (includes hunting): $4. If disabled native-born military, free.
  • Retired military: either resident or native-born - $20.
  • Lifetime fishing/hunting: resident or native-born - $500, non-resident $4,000.
  • Senior lifetime fishing/hunting: resident or native-born - $100, non-resident - $4,000.
  • Youth: the maximum age has been raised from 15 to 17. Does not require a fishing license.

For a complete list of changes, or more details, go to the LDWF Licenses & Permits webpage.


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Great Gobbules! Bream are on the beds

With so many family matters going on, I've been negligent in checking in on statewide fishing reports.  But I did get one last evening that the gobbules are on the beds at Lake Concordia.  If that's the case, then it's certainly happening elsewhere.

Some of our newer readers might ask: "What is a gobbule?". It's a bream.  I refuse to use the word 'sunfish'. That's a hippie word.  What does a sunfish do? Lie in the sun, getting a tan?

Bluegills, redears and longears are true fighting machines. They deserve a name that sounds like one of Freddie Mercury's concert shoutouts to energize his crowd.  So gobbule (pronounced gobb-bool) it is!

Tackle:  I recommend a five-weight outfit because it's somewhat common for a bass or catfish to hit a bream fly. If you fish ponds, then a 3-weight is fun to have as you won't have to worry as much about those predatory species taking you into heavy cover.

Flies:  Surface flies like popping bugs and Triangle Bugs are a must.  Not only do bluegills like to hit on top, but it's super cool to watch them slurp a fly!  Redears mostly feed subsurface, so sinking flies like Cap Spiders, Rosborough-style Hares Ears, Fluff Butts, Slow Sinking Spiders, Black (or Purple or Blue) Boudreauxs, and many others will work on them.  And of course, work on the bluegills as well.

Strike indicators:  anytime I can use a small football type strike indicator, I do.  Keeping the fly in the strike zone longer is one reason.  But it's also so much fun to see the indicator plunge down when the big gobbules hit the fly underneath.  It's important to use one as small as possible but that still floats (fly not too heavy).  Some ask me if you can use a "half a perch float" like a Vertically Oriented Strike Indicator (VOSI).  The answer is "yes", but I suggest pointing the narrow end of the VOSI towards the fly line.  Otherwise the fat end will make a pop when stripped and the VOSI will attract the fish more than the fly underneath.  Of course, if that happens, simply tie on a popping bug!

Good luck!  And if you catch a big one (or colorful one), and you're on Facebook, please post it to the Louisiana Fly Fishing Community Page.


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Menhaden legislative update - 4/28

The saga to protect one of the ocean’s most valuable forage species continues this Spring in the Louisiana Legislature. CCA Louisiana, The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, the FFI Gulf Coast Council and many other conservation groups are working in support of House Bill 1033 by Rep. Joe Orgeron. This bill would require weekly reporting of menhaden catches as well as establish limits on menhaden harvesting on a tiered distance from shore.

To understand where we are, a quick overview on this issue:

  • Menhaden (pogies) are the most important food source for redfish, speckled trout, spanish mackerel and many other predatory fish. This nutrient-rich species is also harvested commercially for a variety of uses, from dietary supplements to pet food.
  • Overharvesting of menhaden has been linked to poor condition of fish and decreased biomass of species, as well as displacement of sea birds and mammals.
  • Of equal concern is the bycatch. The methods used to harvest pogies has been documented to result in the demise of thousands of bull reds (spawning stock) as well as large numbers of spotted seatrout.
  • For these reasons, most coastal states have long banned commercial harvest within their waters, while the few states that allow it have established buffer zones (distance from shore) of at least one mile. Louisiana is the lone exception in allowing unlimited nearshore harvest.

… and a history of how we got here…

  • In 2019, video and photos surfaced in social media of menhaden vessels working just yards off the Louisiana shoreline, with dead redfish (and other sport fish) floating by the hundreds. These sparked magazine articles and outrage among anglers and other conservationists.
  • In June 2020, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission heard from biologists and conservationists on a proposal for a one-mile buffer zone. LWFC rejected the proposal.
  • In March 2021, conservationists took their case to the Louisiana Legislature. HB535 would have established a 1/2 mile buffer zone. While it had overwhelming support in both the House and Senate, the Senate Natural Resources Committee Chair, Bob Hengens of Abbeville – an ally of Omega Protein – did a masterful job of stalling the bill, leading to its failure to pass before the session ended.
  • In January 2021, the LWFC voted on a Notice of Intent to establish a 1/4 mile buffer zone. Apparently the LWFC came to realize that if it did not act, the legislature would again take up the issue. However, the NOI was amended to not include Breton Sound, infuriating legislative members.

So now the legislature takes up HB1033. It’s different than HB535 in that it still allows harvesting within a half-mile, but places a very restrictive quota.  HB1033 sets the following limits:

– statewide a total limit of 573 million pounds
– 150 million pounds within one mile of shore
– 229 million pounds within two miles of shore
– daily set locations for each vessel, and weekly reporting of harvests
– harvest zones will be closed once limit is reached

Meanwhile, Senator Hengens has filed a bill favoring his harvester allies. SB447 would only require weekly reporting of harvest with no other restrictions.

As of this writing, HB1033 by Rep. Orgeron has passed the House Natural Resources Committee by a 9-3 vote and has passed the House Floor by a 75-22. It now goes to the Senate Natural Resources Committee where it faces a tough fight, thanks to Sen. Hengens.

We ask all fly anglers and conservationists to contact their state representatives and senators and ask them to SUPPORT HOUSE BILL 1033.


Thursday, April 14, 2022

Learn fly fishing basics at these upcoming clinics

We all love to fly fish, but the learning curve can be quite steep if you don't have someone to help guide through the tackle, terminology, and most important, the casting basics. For those looking to get into this wonderful sport, we have several opportunities coming up where personalized hands-on instruction is available... in most cases at no cost!

Cenla Fly Fishing 101 - April 23

The Kisatchie Fly Fishers will host their 8th annual "Fly Fishing 101" on Saturday, April 23rd at Booker-Fowler Hatchery on Joan Stokes Rd in Forest Hill. Time is 8:30am to 12:30pm. There is no cost, but registration is required.

The agenda includes fly fishing overview and terminology, hands-on casting led by FFI-Certified Instructors, hands-on knots and leaders, discussion of equipment and accessories needed for fresh and inshore saltwater fishing, and different types of flies for various fish.  For complete details or to register, go to www.kisatchiefly.org and click on "FF101".

Orvis Fly Fishing 101 - April 23, May 21, May 28, June 11, June 18

The Orvis store in Baton Rouge conducts introductory fly fishing clinics throughout the year at their store at 7601 Bluebonnet. Time is 8:00am to 10:30am. Orvis FF101 is a one day, 2.5 hour clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting.  It includes hands-on rigging and casting instruction. There is NO cost, but pre-registration required as class size limited. For more info, call (225) 757-7286.  Or to register online, CLICK HERE.

Acadiana Fly Fishing 101 - Date TBA

The Acadiana Fly Rodders of Lafayette are planning to hold a "Fly Fishing 101" clinic later this year (early September appears likely). The format will be very similiar to the one conducted by the Kisatchie club as described above.  Keep checking their website at www.acadianaflyrodders.org for 

Monday, April 04, 2022

F3T coming to Lafayette this Saturday

2022 Fly Fishing Film Tour & Hangout
Saturday, April 9, 2022

Pack & Paddle
601 E. Pinhook Rd, Lafayette, LA

3:00pm - hangout starts
5:00pm - films showing
Tickets $20

Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will again host their annual showing of the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) along with their popular "Fly Fishing Hangout" prior to starting the films. Tickets are $20 in advance and at the door (if not sold out already).

The Hangout will feature fly tying demos, casting games, snacks and beer, and more. Many of the top fly anglers from across south and central Louisiana will be on hand for those looking for a little advise.

The films will kick off between 5 and 5:30. These collection of short films run the gamut from coldwater steelhead to jungle streams of aggressive fish, to personal stories of inspiration, to conservation issues and victories. If you've not been to an F3T event in recent years, it's a far better production than the early days of primitive filmmaking and anglers yelling "boo-yah" into the camera after every catch (there's an occasional boo-yah left, but you can count on one finger).

For tickets, go to www.packpaddle.com  or call 337.232.5854.

Monday, March 14, 2022

LWFC proposes closed season for flounder

At the March meeting of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting, the body adopted a Notice of Intent (NOI) to set an annual closed season for the recreational and commercial harvest of Southern Flounder from October 15th through November 30th of each year. The purpose of the NOI is aid in the recovery of stocks which have seriously declined in state waters over the past decade.

The problem is not unique to Louisiana. Throughout their range - from North Carolina to south Texas - Southern Flounder have declined steeply in numbers. As a result, almost every state has adopted a closed season in late fall. This is the period in which flounder migrate to the sea to spawn. In doing so, they often congregate making them easy targets for harvest.

It's not a problem of overfishing as much as low spawning recruitment. According to various studies, flounder born with XY chromosomes can determine their sex after they're born and when they're between 30 and 65 millimeters in length. These juveniles are becoming increasingly more masculine, with very few females left for future recruitment.

A study by researchers at LSU reported that the cause may be related to warmer water temperatures. There is a certain critical water temperature, that above that temperature, these tiny flounder are much more likely to become males. That's because - under environmental stress - males function better than females. They use less energy during their lifespan for growth and reproduction.  Males seldom grow over 14 inches in length, while females can get up to 28 inches.

Some states are attacking the problem from two sides. For example, Alabama not only has a closed season but they are stocking juvenile flounder raised in hatcheries where the water temperature is ideal for 50/50 sexual orientation. This will lead to a much faster recovery than closed season alone. 

The public can submit comments relative to the proposed rule to Jason Adriance, Fisheries Division, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email to jadriance@wlf.la.gov prior to noon on May 2, 2022.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Bob Tabbert, a leader in casting & conservation, passes

On February 23rd, Louisiana lost one of its great contributors to our sport when Robert "Bob" Tabbert passed away. Bob was 93 years old. Born in Ripon, Wisconsin, his job as a geologist took him to south Louisiana where he embraced the lifestyle. After retirement, he became a seasonal summer resident of his native state, living in a cabin in northern Wisconsin chasing his beloved brook trout. The rest of the year he lived in Lafayette, where he was a longtime active member and board director for the Acadiana Fly Rodders club.  

Bob had many interests, but his passions were fly fishing and conservation. In the Federation of Fly Fishers (now Fly Fishers International) he found an avenue for combining both. A longtime FFF member, in 2000, he and a few other members helped rebuild the FFF Conservation Committee and establish new goals and direction. He served many years on the FFI Conservation Committee, and more recently as the Committee's Senior Advisor.  He worked on the FFF's native fish conservation projects and chaired their Coldwater Committee. He also served as vice-president of conservation for both the Southern Council and the Gulf Coast Council after its formation in 2006.

In 2012, he was awarded the "FFI Conservation Award" for extraordinary contributions to the conservation of fisheries resources. He was also awarded the Don Harger Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to fly fishing.

In addition to his contributions as a conservationist were his contributions to fly casting. Bob was one of the first FFF Certified Casting Instructors in the state, and one of its first Master Certified Instructors. He also served a stint as Casting Director for the FFF Gulf Coast Council.  He helped organize several casting clinics for the Acadiana club, and directed casting activities for their annual conclave.

In 2019, Bob wrote a book "The Great Depression & Alaska Fly Fishing", a collection of stories from his youth growing up in central Wisconsin during the Depression. The second half of the book is about his time in Alaska working as a geologist. Both segments of his life are intertwined with his love of fly fishing.

Bob's wife, Phyllis, passed away in March of last year. They are survived by their children, Lori and Matthew, and a string of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Make plans for Red Stick Day March 5th

27th annual Red Stick Day fly fishing festival
Saturday, March 5, 2022

8:30am to 2:30pm
LDWF Waddill Outdoor Education Center
4141 North Flannery Rd, Baton Rouge, LA

Hosted by the Red Stick Fly Fishers, Red Stick Day is the longest-running fly fishing festival (aka, club conclave) in our state. There's seminars, fly tying demonstrations, casting instruction, loads of raffle items, and more.  And best of all, admission is free!

The event will again be held at the LDWF Waddill Outdoors Education Center off North Flannery Road.  The ponds on the premises are full of big bass and bluegill.  In addition, Masseys Outfitters will be on hand with a variety of kayaks from Hobie, Native and other brands for folks to test paddle/pedal.

The programs range from kayak fishing the marsh, bass on the fly, fly fishing southwest Louisiana, and details about a nationwide mixed bag fly fishing contest.  Roughly a dozen of the region's top fly tiers will also be on hand to demonstrate their various flies, along with their favorite legacy patterns. There will also be casting instruction from regional FFI Certified Casting Instructors.

There's also a giant raffle and silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind items, all to benefit the club's educational projects.

Details about the event, including speaker and tier bios, schedule of activities, and more can be found by going to www.rsff.org and clicking on "Red Stick Day" in the menu.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Conservationists asked to comment on Menhaden

In January, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission sought to establish a regulation to create a 1/4 mile menhaden (pogey) harvest buffer zone. This means that no industrialized harvest would take place closer than 1/4 mile from the defined shoreline of Louisiana.  Since an amendment was added to the original Notice of Intent - the amendment would exclude Breton Sound from the buffer - the NOI had to be reintroduced for public comment before a final vote can be taken.

CCA Louisiana, the Louisiana Charter Boat Association, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the FFI Gulf Coast Council, and other conservation partners are vehemently opposed to the 1/4 mile buffer because it is woefully inadequate. NO OTHER STATE allows menhaden harvest less than one mile from shore, and most states don't even allow it within state waters. 

Most inshore species spawn within the littoral zone, there are greater concentrations of menhaden within this zone, and these fish (reds, specks, mackerel, etc) depend on these higher concentrations of pogies for nutrition.  Equally of concern.. there have been several documented large fish kills of spawning redfish and trout as the result of pogey harvesting bycatch within several hundred yards of beaches and passes.

The conservation groups are asking the Commission to reject the current Notice of Intent, and instead implement a statewide buffer - including Breton Sound - of at least 1/2 mile. While a one-mile buffer would be much better, the 1/2-mile buffer was the original compromise before some supporters of the menhaden industry backed away.

On Tuesday, February 22, at 5:30 pm, there will be a public meeting at the Joe Herring Louisiana Room of the LDWF Headquarters at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Attendees can express their concerns at the meeting.

If you cannot attend in person, then please send your public comments asap to comments@wlf.la.gov.  These comments need to be received by February 22nd.

CCA is also asking their members and other conservationists to copy their local legislators.  You can find them using this link: Legislators - Louisiana State Legislature.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Rainbeaux trout are back!

Each winter, nearly two dozen ponds across Louisiana are stocked with rainbow trout. Some of the stockings are by local agencies. For example, ponds in East Baton Rouge Parish are stocked by Baton Rouge Recreation (BREC) and in Ascension Parish by the AP Police Jury. Most other ponds are stocked by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries under their "Get Out and Fish" community fishing program.

Earlier this month, EBR and Ascension parishes conducted their stockings. Yesterday, LDWF stocked the following public ponds: Parc Natchitoches, Purple Heart Memorial Park (Ragley), Fort Randolph (Pineville), William Polk Park (Vidalia), Kiroli Park (Monroe), Elmore Mayfield Park (Ruston), Grambling City Park, and Turners Pond (Minden).

Next week, LDWF will stock: I-10 Park (Jennings), Girard Park (Lafayette), Southside Regional Park (Youngsville), Bayou Country Sports Park (Houma), Joe Brown Park (New Orleans), Burbank Pond (Baton Rouge), Sidney Hutchinson (Walker), Zemurray Park (Hammond), Bogue Chitto State Park.

Even though trout are not regulated by LDWF, you do need to have a Louisiana fishing license.  All fish must be caught on legal recreational tackle (rod and reel, fly tackle or cane pole).

The concept is to give the public good fishing at a time when native species like bass and bream are sluggish. These ponds have good bank fishing, which allows a segment of the population to enjoy good fishing. Most of the stocked fish are between 10 and 12 inches, but each pond will have several up to 16 inches to give anglers the opportunity for a bigger fish.

For fly anglers, all that is needed is a 5-weight outfit. However, for those with an ultralight outfit (3-weight or lower), the fun factor is amplified!

Regarding flies. The first couple of weeks the fish are opportunistic. An olive or black woolybugger will work best, along with a few nymphs such as Prince Nymph, Copper Johns, Hares Ears, and San Juan Worms. Once the trout have acclimated to their environment, dry flies work very well late in the day.   

Friday, January 21, 2022

Fly fishing events highlight Spring calendar

Based on the number of events for Spring 2022, its clear that Omicron variant of Covid-19 isn't scaring anyone from getting back to some semblence of normal.  And we couldn't be happier!

When it comes to fly fishing, Spring is event season across the deep South. These events can vary in type from large commercial expos like the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show to club festivals like "Red Stick Day" to fly fishing tournaments like the “Fly Fishin For The Mission” to hybrid events like the “Sweetwater Classic” to purely educational events like “Fly Fishing 101” hosted by the Kisatchie Fly Fishers.

Here is a list of Spring 2022 events either in Louisiana or within a days drive from a population area inside our state.

Jan. 29 (Sat) – 4th biennial CENLA FLY FISHING & LIGHT TACKLE FESTIVAL, Kees Park Center, Highway 28 East, Pineville, LA. 8:30am – 3:30pm. Free admission. Presentations, fly tying demos, casting clinics, exhibitors and more. $5 lunch available. Benefits Food Bank of Central Louisiana. Hosted by Kisatchie Fly Fishers club. Website: www.kisatchiefly.org.

Feb. 4-5 (Fri-Sat) – ATLANTA FLY FISHING SHOW, Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Duluth, GA. 9am – 6pm. Admission $15/$25, military $10. Largest fly fishing show in the South. FFI will host the Learning Center, with casting and fly tying instruction free to show attendees. Website: www.flyfishingshow.com.

Feb. 12 (Sat) – 29th annual Dr. ED RIZZOLO FLY TYING FESTIVAL, Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Rd, Houston, TX. 8:30am – 4:30pm. The largest fly tying event on the Gulf Coast features over 80 tiers as well as seminars and vendors. Featured guest tier: Jerry Coviello. Adults $10, students and seniors $5, children free. Hosted by the Texas Fly Fishers club. Website: texasflyfishers.org.

Feb. 26-27 (Sat-Sun) – 5th annual TEXAS FLY FISHING & BREW FESTIVAL, Mesquite Convention Center, Mesquite, TX. Nationally known fly fishing authors, professional guides, expert casters, fly tiers from across the country, dozens of exhibitors. Microbrew sampling. Website: txflyfishingfestival.org.

Mar. 5 (Sat) – 26th Annual RED STICK DAY, Waddill Outdoor Education Center, 4142 N Flannery Rd, Baton Rouge, LA. 8:30am – 3:30pm. Free admission. Seminars, tying demos, kayak demos, casting clinics, food, refreshments. Hosted by Red Stick Fly Fishers. Website: www.rsff.org.

Mar. 11-12 (Fri-Sat) – 2nd annual SWEETWATER CLASSIC, Percy Quin State Park, McComb, MS. Free admission, bass tournament entry $30. Fly tying demos, casting clinics, seminars, raffles, Big Bream Contest (free), CPR big bass tournament with categories for boat/kayak and bank fishing, plus Slab Master (largest crappie). Hosted by FFI Gulf Coast Council. Website: www.ffigcc.org.

Mar. 24-26 – 25th annual SOWBUG ROUNDUP, Baxter County Fairgrounds, Mountain Home, AR. 9am – 4pm, each day. Admission $10 for all 3 days, adults with kids under 12 free. Largest fly tying event in the country, over 150 tiers. Seminars, fly tying clinics, vendors. Special guests Dave & Emily Whitlock. Hosted by North Arkansas Fly Fishers. Website: www.sowbugroundup.org.

Mar. 26 (Sat) – 73rd annual NEW ORLEANS CITY PARK FISHTIVAL & BIG BASS RODEO, New Orleans City Park, New Orleans. 6:30am – noon. Fishtival free, Rodeo entry fees: adults $10, kids $5. Fly Fishing category. Also fly casting and fly tying by New Orleans Fly Fishers Club. Hosted by LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Website: www.neworleanscitypark.com/big-bass-fishing-rodeo-and-fishtival

Apr 29 (Sat) – FLY FISHING 101, Booker-Fowler Fish Hatchery, Forest Hill, LA. 8:30am to 12:30pm.  Free to the public, pre-registration required, limited seats. Basics of fly fishing and casting with hands-on instruction. Hosted by Kisatchie Fly Fishers. Website: www.kisatchiefly.org.

May 4-5 (Fri-Sat) – 13th Annual BASS ON THE FLY TOURNAMENT, Lake Fork Marina, Lake Fork, TX. Free admission, tournament entry fee $70. Free casting clinics, kayak demos, casting contests, Sunfish Tourney ($5), CPR bass tournament has categories for boat, kayak. Entry fee entitles participants to door prize drawings. Charitable event is endorsed by the Texas FFI Council. Website: www.bassonthefly.org.

June TBA – 2nd annual BIKES & BUGS, Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, AL.  8:00am to 1:00pm.  No cost, but registration requested.  Anglers will pedal and fly fish their way around the park’s Lake Shelby in pursuit of bass, bream, and anything else that bites.  Open to all lady anglers, equipment and bikes available for use.  Hosted by FFI Women Connect and FFI Gulf Coast Council.  Website: www.ffigcc.org.

June TBA – 10th annual CEDAR LAKE FLY FISHING TOURNAMENT, 12056 Cedar Lake Rd, Biloxi, MS. 6:00am to noon. Registration fee $25. A bluegill tournament, flies and fly tackle only. Sign-in required on morning of tournament. Hosted by Mississippi Coast Fly Fishers. Website: www.gcflyfishers.org.

As always, please continue to check our Calendar page for more details on each of these events, and for any new events that may come up.

Monday, January 03, 2022

LWFC Commission to vote on menhaden regulation

This Thursday, January 6th, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will vote on a proposal to enact a 1/4 mile buffer zone for menhaden harvest.  According to its author, the intent of the regulation is to avoid user conflict between recreational anglers and commercial pogey boats.

CCA Louisiana, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and other conservation groups point out this proposal was put forward by the menhaden industry itself and is unacceptable. The overwhelming majority of spawning of inshore and nearshore species takes place in the littoral zone, which in Louisiana is at least a mile out or more.  In addition, this area contains greater concentrations of menhaden – needed for the high protein requirements of spawning fish.  

While all parties would much prefer a one-mile buffer, the Commission is highly unlikely to accept that wide a buffer.  For that reason, they are asking for an amendment for a 1/2-mile buffer.

CCA and the FFI Gulf Coast Council are asking their members and other conservationists to petition the Commission to amend the Notice of Intent (NOI) to a minimum of 1/2 mile. To do so, email your comments to comments@wlf.la.gov before Wednesday at 2pm. You may also make your comments on Thursday, 9:30am at LDWF Headquarters in Baton Rouge.