Saturday, November 26, 2022

Fly fishing world mourns the loss of Dave Whitlock

On Thanksgiving night, the fly fishing world lost one of it's greats. Dave Whitlock passed away at age 88 from a massive stroke. 

Dave was an innovator, fly tier, artist, photographer, writer and conservationist. His contributions included: Dave Whitlock's Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods, the L.L. Bean Flyfishing Handbook, the L.L. Bean Bass Fly Fishing Handbook, and illustrations for Imitating and Fishing Natural Fish Foods for Lefty's Little Library.

Dave also co-authored or contributed to The FlyTyers Almanac, Art Flicks' Master Flytying Guide, McClane's Fishing Encylcopedia, Selective Trout by Swisher and Richards, President Carter's Outdoor Journal, and many more.  His collection of artwork is some of the very best in the fly fishing collective. His depiction of sunfish and bass feeding on insects or flies is stunningly accurate - and colorful.

With regards to his many varied contributions, the awards included: FFF Buz Buzeck Fly Tying Award (1972), Max Ander's Wild Trout Award (1976), FFF Conservationist of the Year Award (1978), FFF James E. Henshall Award (1987), FFF Don Harger Memorial Award (1982), FFF Ambassador Award (1987), FFI Stanley Lloyd Conservation Award (2013). In 1996, Dave was inducted into the Arkansas Game & Fish Hall of Fame and in 1997, was given the NAFFTTA Lifetime Contribution Award.

Dave and his wife Emily toured the country over the last 20+ years, giving seminars, demonstrating Dave's patterns, and sharing their love for conservation. When it came to conservation, his most significant contribution was the Whitlock-Vibert Box System. The WVBS allowed trout and other salmonid eggs to incubate in natural streams, allowing fish to survive the perilous early stages of life and yet adapt to the waters as wild fish.

Dave Whitlock had a special place in the hearts of many warmwater fly anglers. That's because in the latter 20th century world of fly fishing, while there were many trout and saltwater "greats" - those whose innovation and experiences were impactful to the average angler - there were very few with bass credentials. And while Dave was certainly a trout guy half the time, the times he was a bass fisherman he was one of the very best.

Over the years, Dave met many Louisiana fly anglers at regional events, including appearances at the New Orleans Fly Fishers Club (November 2001), Contraband Fly Casters club (February 2003), North Louisiana Fly Fishers (July 2013), and Texas Fly Fishers (February 2018).  Of course, Dave was often seen at the annual events in Mountain Home, Arkansas - Sowbug Roundup (March) and FFI Southern Council Expo (October) - which many of our native fly anglers frequent.

At the NLFF Masters Series in 2013, he conducted one of the most unique presentations I've seen - an on-the-water seminar for bass fishing (photo above).  While I'd seen such presentations for trout on moving streams, that was a first as far as bass.

For those of us who met Dave Whitlock, heard his lectures, took his classes, enjoyed his artwork, or just listened to his many fascinating stories, the pleasure was all ours!  He will be greatly missed.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

This day means many things to many different people. For most, it's a day of feasting with friends and family. Here in Louisiana, the dinner table will be adorned with turkey, roast, venison, duck or other hearty meat slowly cooked, along with Cajun favorites like sweet potatoes and corn machcoux. There's a good chance that the bird of choice is stuffed  with crawfish or shrimp.  I'm getting hungry just typing this, lol!

Here in the Cormier household, while we do enjoy our feasting and football, we still recognize Thanksgiving as a day to give thanks for all the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us. We're thankful for all the woods, waters and wildlife we have here in the Sportsmans Paradise. And for the numerous friends we've made through our love of outdoors.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

2023 Calendar taking shape

It's that time of the year again.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah - and our Spring Calendar submissions. If you have, or know of, a fly fishing event taking place next year, please check the Calendar page and see if it's posted and the information is correct. Exact details are not required at this time. If the event is missing, or info is incorrect, please email me at

Here are some regional events already scheduled:

Jan. 21 - New Orleans Fly Fishing Expo. St. Christopher the Martyr School Gymnasium, 3900 Derbigny St, Metairie, LA. This is biennial event (every odd year) put on by the New Orleans Fly Fishers Club. Demo tying, casting, exhibitors, seminars, writers roundtable, raffle, silent auction, and more.

Feb. 3-4 - Atlanta Fly Fishing Show, Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, GA.  The Fly Fishing Show is the largest commercial event celebrating our sport with dozens of national and regional experts, recognized fly tiers, numerous seminars, workshops, vendors, conservation groups, and more.

Feb. 11 - Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival, 1414 Wirt Rd, Houston, TX. Hosted by the Texas Fly Fishers, this is one of the largest exhibitions of fly tying in the country, with both regional and national renown tiers. There's also seminars, casting and more.
Feb. 17-18 - TroutFest Texas, Lazy L&L Campgrounds, New Braunfels, TX. Hosted by the Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited chapter, it's one of the largest events in the South, featuring fly tying, exhibitors, casting clinics, seminars and a fundraising banquet.

Feb. 25-26 - Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival, Mesquite Convention Center, Mesquite, TX. Exhibitors, seminars, casting clinics, fly tying, and featuring Texas micro-brewed beer as well. There are also workshops on a variety of skills.

Mar. 4 - Red Stick Day, 4141 North Flannery, Baton Rouge, LA.  The Red Stick Fly Fishers host the longest-running "conclave" in Louisiana, featuring fly tying, casting, seminars, great food, and on-the-water activities including fishing on premises.

Mar. 22-25 - Sowbug Roundup, Mountain Home, AR. Hosted by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, this is largest fly tying event in the nation, with as many as 140 tiers from across the country and even other countries at one time. There's also free introductory classes, and free beginner fly casting lessons.

May 5-6 - Gulf Coast Classic, Gulf Shores State Park Learning Campus, AL. The FFI Gulf Coast Council is holding their first "conclave" style event in many years, with fly tying by recognized tiers from across the country, seminars, workshops, casting, a film festival, a "mixed bag" fishing contest, raffles, auctions, and much more. Also, the FFI Board of Governors will hold their Spring meeting at this event.

May 5-6 - Bass On The Fly, Lake Fork Marina, Alba, TX.  Catch-photo-release tournament with categories for boat, kayak, and bank fishing. Charitable event also features product vendors, casting contests, and more. 

June 9-10 - Lake Athens Fly Fishing Festival, Lake Athens, TX.  Fly tying, casting instruction, and fishing events. CPR bass tournament benefits Project Healing Waters - North Texas Patriots.

Sept. 15-16 - FFI Fly Tying Group Rendezvous, Branson, MO. The Fly Fishers International (FFI) Fly Tying Group is initiating an annual event featuring top fly tiers from across the country, and beyond. This promises to be a great event for anyone interested in fly tying at all skill levels.

Sept. 23 - National Hunting and Fishing Day. Barring a hurricane, expect LDWF to once again hold festivals at the usual four venues: Waddill in Baton Rouge, Woodworth, Minden and Monroe. 

Nov. 3-4 - North Toledo Bend Rendezvous, North Toledo Bend State Park, Zwolle, LA.  The largest casual gathering of fly tiers from across several states, with food, lodging, and more on premises.