Friday, September 01, 2023

September - a month of transition

SweatFest 2023 has been a record breaker. Excessive heat and drought, and while the drought is coming to an end, the heat is forecast to remain for at least for the first two weeks.  The good news is that sometime in September, relief will come. Some years it comes early, some years late.  

Science dictates it will happen. Consider that the amount of daylight and angle of the sun today is equivalent to that of April 9th. The combination of lower air temperatures at night and shorter days/longer nights means greater radiative cooling of waters. Just in the last week, the water temp here on Cotile Lake has dropped 3 degrees (measured at 8am each morning).

Why is this important? When water temps get below 80 degrees, fish go into their fall feeding frenzy. Bass school, redears congregate, spotted bass turn on, speckled trout move inside, and crappie move to the shallows. So make plans now, tie those flies, get your casting tuned-up. It's about to happen!

For a few species, the happening is now.  Bull reds are thick in the passes, jacks are crushing mullet along the surf and inland bays including Lake Pontchartrain, and the sand trout (aka, white trout) are piled up on oyster reefs and in deeper tidal cuts.  The bulls and jacks make for some epic "Cajun Sleigh Rides" when kayak fishing.  As for the sandies, those 10-inchers back in June are now almost 12 inches, and will be 13-14 inches come October.  Great fun on a 6-weight!  Some fine eating too as long as you ice them immediately and filet them the same day.

Activities wise, there are a few major events taking place this month, all towards the end.

September 23rd is National Hunting and Fishing Day. NHF Day celebrations are hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at four venues statewide. Admission is free. There are hands-on activities for all ages, plus exhibits, food, and more. The Woodworth and Baton Rouge venues will have fly fishing and fly tying supported by local clubs. For details, go to

On September 30th is the 14th annual Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo. Hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers, it's the largest and oldest freshwater fly fishing tournament in the deep South. The target species is the rio grande perch, the only cichlid native to the United States, but which was non-native to Louisiana. Pre-registration ends soon, but onsite registration is available. For details, go to

Also on September 30th is the 2nd annual Fly Fishing Round-Up at Millican Reserve in College Station, TX. This event should be of strong interest to fly casting enthusiasts since four (4) members of the FFI Casting Board of Governors will be on hand. There's also fly tying demos, a fishing tournament, Kids Zone, and evening dinner with entertainment. For details, go to