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 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 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  or call 337.232.5854.