Louisiana Fly Fishing

Gobbules Rule! It's been a slow start for bream fishing across most of Louisiana, but that's about to change big time. The recent Red Stick Fly Fishers trip to Lake Concordia resulted in several nice stringers of the tasty sunfish. Another trip by a couple members of Kisatchie Fly Fishers to Tew Lake also proved productive (as shown in the photo). On both lakes, the Jitterbee under a small strike indicator fished over beds proved productive. Meanwhile, Cane River Lake and several of the north and central Louisiana reservoirs are producing on popping bugs, various nymphs (Beadhead Hares Ear) and fluff butts. Other hotspots lately have been Highway 51 canals, Bayou Black marsh, Jennings Oil Park, and Laccasine Refuge.


Fly Of The Month

Jitterbee. Texas and Louisiana fly tiers have created many great flies for sunfish over the past 30 years. One of the most effective submergents - especially in oxbows, bayous, marsh waters, and high nutrient lakes - is Randy Leonpacher's Jitterbee. It's also simple to tie. The hook is an Eagle Claw 080 size 8 or 10 (similiar EC baitholder hooks can be used). The tail is black silicon legs. The body is chenille or ultra chenille in two colors wrapped to the front. A 4mm gold bead is what Randy prefers. Best colors are orange/black in stained waters, chartreuse or yellow with black in green waters. For best results, use a light leader section from the strike indicator to the fly (2x, 3x, 4x material).


Featured Tackle

Redhead Finley River Waders. For beginner coldwater anglers on a tight budget, there's no better value in stocking foot waders than Bass Pro Shop's Redhead Finley River chest waders. At $69, it features 420 denier nylon construction with seams taped and factory tested, gravel guards, D-rings, nylon webbing belt, 3.5mm neoprene booties, and adjustable elastic suspenders. It's received 4.3 ratings (out of a maximum 5.0) from 33 reviewers. While our recommendation would be to spend the extra dollars for a lightweight, breathable waders, resale value of used waders is poor. So if you're beginner, this wader can be your starting outfit. You can then upgrade later, and keep these as a backup pair.



 TIPPETS
Sunday May 24, 2015
What's happening this week. Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Let's remember those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. With the holiday, a few changes also from the usual club schedules. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at Spahr's Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Tuesday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. The program will feature the video "Midge Magic Fishing" by Davy Wotton, who is the featured guest for the NLFF club's Masters Series coming in July. Also on the agenda: the upcoming rod building session, fishing reports, and upcoming events. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA Delta Chapter will hold it's annual banquet at the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 8:00pm. Tickets are $100 per person ($50 spouse, $25 youth) and includes 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, raffles, auction. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank building on 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Starting Friday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the 2nd annual "Destination Texas" fly fishing expo hosted by the Texas Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers. More on that later. On Saturday evening it's the mandatory Captain's meeting for the first of the two IFA Kayak Tour - Louisiana Division events for 2015. The tournament itself will be held on Sunday. Both the meeting and weigh-in will be at Team Lafitte Marina in Lafitte. This tournament is open to the public, entry fee is just $50. Moreover, entry into any 2 IFAKT events qualifies that puddler for the National Championship to be held at Chalmette in October - regardless of how they place. The IFA Kayak Tour is a CPR, artificial-only, roadrunner event, longest combination of redfish and speckled trout wins. For more info, go to www.ifatours.com/kayak-tour/.

This weekend's Destination Texas fly fishing expo is the largest fly fishing event in the Gulf region. Hosted by the Texas Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF), it'll again be held at the Civic Center in scenic New Braunfels. Although online registration ends today, folks can register onsite. This year's special guests are Molly Semenick and Hank Patterson. Activities kick off Friday afternoon at 1:00pm. Later at 6:00pm, it's the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (different than the Fly Fishing Film Tour). On Saturday, things kick off with a womens breakfast and a youth breakfast, followed by the usual variety of exhibitors, programs, fly tying demos, casting clinics, and workshops. The annual Texas Council banquet is Saturday evening at 5:30pm. On Sunday, there's religious services at 8:00am for attendees, with the Expo starting at 10:00am and running until 3:00pm. Among the highlights for folks from Louisiana making the trip over - the Fly Tying Theatre will feature a tier demonstrating their unique creations. Our own Fred Hannie will be featured at 1:00pm on Saturday. There's also an IFFF Certified Casting Instructor Prep Course being offered for would-be IFFF instructors. For more info on this great event, go to www.txflyfishexpo.com.

Summer has begun - climatologically speaking. The summer soltice may not be until June 22nd, but seasons in Louisiana are always a few weeks early. From now until the 2nd week of September, it's usually highs in the 90s and lows in the 70s. Except when a tropical system comes around, or in this year, El Nino. Due to El Nino, forecasters are predicting a cooler-than-normal June, with higher-than-normal precipitation. Like we really need more rain? Someday... someday... I promise the Calcasieu estuary will get salty again. The monsoons have severely impacted speck fishing in the estuary. They've also hurt freshwater fishing across the state. This time of year clear skies bring hot weather, but if that's what it takes to get fishing up to normal, so be it.

The summer season brings increased emphasis on safety. With school out, Louisiana waters get crazy with boaters, especially on weekends. Most of the boating fatalities coccur during the summer months. The good news in that regard is that - thanks in large part to the LDWF's Boater Safety Program - the number of fatalities has declined significantly in the last three decades. Louisiana averaged 52 per year from 1980-1989, 32 a year from 1990-1999, and down to under 25 since 2010. In 2013, there were 13 deaths, and last year, only 9. That's still nine too many. In most cases, these were alcohol-related and/or not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD). I know it's hot, but wear that PFD all the time if possible. It costs a bit more, but an inflatable PFD will save your life and keep you cooler.

Speaking of cooler, weather is also a safety issue in summer. Heat stroke can kill. Bring an ice chest or cooler tote bag with water and/or sports drinks to stay hydrated. The sun does it's damage over time - skin exposed to the high UV radiation during summer months can lead to cancer. Protect your skin by putting on a high-SPF waterproof sunscreen (30 or higher) BEFORE you get on the water. Wear long sleeve breathable shirts, a rim cap, or a bill cap in conjunction with a buff. Wear some type of cover for your feet. Also be aware of the daily thunderstoms that can pop up very quickly. At the first sign of dark clouds in the horizon, start making your way back to launch (especially in a kayak).

While in North Carolina I read an article in North Carolina Sportsman about the grand opening of the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Applachians. Located in Cherokee, North Carolina, the museum will feature exhibits and narratives about fly fishing in the region of states including Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia. In addition, the museum will serve to host various small events. One of those will be on June 6, the day of the grand opening. Several fly tyers and casting instructors will be on hand, with a casting clinic that afternoon. Up to now, the only museums dedicated to our sport were located in Vermont and Montana. To have a southern museum recognizes the continued growth and influence of fly fishing in this region.

Thursday, May 21, 2015
National Fishing and Boating Week is June 6 thru 14. NFBW was established the first full week of June each year to highlight the importance of recreational boating and fishing in enhancing the quality of life, and preserving our nation's natural resources. But for many, it's the "free fishing days" and youth fishing activities that are of interest. The free fishing days mean no license is required to fish either freshwater or saltwater, or both, for public waters in that state. In Louisiana, free fishing days are June 6-7. For popular destinations for Louisiana anglers... Arkansas free fishing days begin on Friday noon, June 12, and continue until Sunday midnight, June 14. A separate trout stamp may still be required. Mississippi days are June 6-7 (fresh and salt). Florida days are June 6-7 (saltwater) and June 13-14 (freshwater). Texas free fishing day is June 6. Oklahoma free fishing days are June 6-7. As for youth fishing activities... The Friends of Southeast Louisiana Refuges will hold a Youth Fishing Event on Saturday, June 6th, at the Bogue Chitto Refuge at the Pearl River Turn Around on I-59. The Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will be part of the multiple activities at this event, where members will demo fly tying. Near Winnfield, the Kisatchie National Forest, Winn Ranger District will hold their 13th annual Youth Fishing Derby also on Saturday, June 6th. It's free and open to ages 2-12. Location is the Bombing Range Pond. Pre-registration is required. Deadline is May 29th to enter. More info on these tournaments can be found by going to the LFF Calendar and clicking on any of these events.

The University of Louisiana-Monroe is currently ranked #4 in the Cabela's School of the Year rankings - the most prestigious title in collegiate bass fishing - going into the BoatUS Championship next week. Schools in the top 10, in order of ranking, are: North Alabama, Murray State, Tennessee Tech, UL-Monroe, Bethel, Clemson, Mississippi State, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Wisconsin, McKendree. Unlike other collegiate sports, bass fishing and kayak fishing are not organized under athletic administrations, but rather through student governments. For that reason, small schools have a decided advantage. However, large schools do have the advantage of pulling from a larger pool of anglers - and top-notch anglers at that. Example: the LSU Kayak Fishing Team has won the National Championship two of the last 3 years.

Monday, May 18, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Gene Taylor will demonstrate a couple of patterns. Bring your tying tools or just come and watch. Materials will be provided. The club has a few sets of tools for use during these sessions. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St Paul Lutheran Church Community Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and dicussion at 6:00pm, with general meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 Pinhook Road in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying session at the Whitney Bank branch at 1441 Metairie Road. Bring your tools, materials provided. Beginners are welcome. On Saturday, it's the start of the summer-long CCA STAR tournament. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Camp Fly Fishing School in Breaux Bridge will hold their annual "Advanced / Instructors Prep Workshop". Cost is $150 and includes instruction, lunch, refreshments and handouts. The class runs from 8:00am to 5:00pm. This clinic is for those fly anglers seeking to advance their skill level in caasting - e.g., getting more distance, handling wind, and more. But also, you will be exposed to the skills needed to become a casting instructor and some of the principles required for the FFF Certification Exam. Seats are limited, so pre-registration is required. For more info, contact Keith Richard at krichardthecamp@yahoo.com or call 337-344-0908. Also on Saturday, Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying session. Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. Bring your tools, materials provided. Beginners are welcome.

The Louisiana CCA STAR tournament kicks off Saturday and continues through Labor Day. Entry fee is $25 for Coastal Conservation Association members (you can become a CCA member for $30 or by purchasing a ticket to one of their banquets). Again this year, there is a Fly Division and a Kayak Division. Within the Fly Division, there are two (2) regional divisions, East and West. The winner of each division gets a $1,500 gift card to Academy Sports, sponsored by Costa. The Kayak Division has four (4) regional divisions, East, Southeast, Southwest, West. The winner of each division gets a Hobie Outback kayak, sponsored by Hobie. Getting back to the Fly Division... this year marks the return of the bonus drawing (we didn't have one last year). Catch a trout over 14 inches on fly, and get it weighed at one of the STAR tournament weigh-in locations, and your name goes into a drawing to be picked at the end of the tournament. The prize will be a saltwater fly rod (one can never have enough fly rods, right?). A few other notes... (1) last year's winners are ineligible so there will be new winners for 2015, (2) fly anglers and kayak anglers are eligible for other fish and other divisions as well, including tagged redfish and tagged speckled trout, (3) the June issue of Louisiana Sportsman comes out this week. In my Fly Lines column, I give expert advise from past winners and runnerups on how to catch qualifying trout for the CCA STAR. If you want to improve your "luck", read my June column!

We're only 7 weeks away from IFTD. That's right, fellow tackle and accessory fanatics! Thanks to the merger of IFTD and ICAST a couple of years ago, the two shows will be held together - at the same location as last year - the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Dates are July 15 through 17. Note that with the merger, IFTD is several weeks ahead of it's historical dates. That means we may not see all the 2016 products at the show. And because of that shortened time frame, it also means "new product buzz" will happen a lot closer to the show dates than it did in the past. If last year was any indication, we won't hear much until the latter part of June. As for what new products we'd like to see, here's a couple: (1) a line that doesn't twist after fishing and stripping it in all day, (2) hard-bottom wading boots that actually grip better than felt soles.

Monday, May 11, 2015
What's happening this week. First of all, I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day yesterday and spent time with their favorite women, be it their mom, their wife, their daughters, etc.. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building in Baton Rouge. Casting begins at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fisher hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on Eagle Bend Point in Bossier City. Social hour is 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Don Kirk from "Southern Trout" will speak about fly fishing the Great Smokey Mountains. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church Hall in Natchitoches. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. This month's session will be tying flies, patterns TBA. Bring your tying gear, materials provided. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, it's the CCA Shreveport Chapter annual banquet at Riverview Hall on 600 Clyde Fant Parkway. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include dinner, one-year membership, open bar, raffles, auction. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Frances Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, materials provided. Beginners welcome. Also on Thursday, it's the CCA Natchitoches Chapter annual banquet at the Natchitoches Events Center. Doors open at 6:00pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include dinner, one-year membership, auction, raffles, open bar. Starting Friday and concluding Saturday evening with the fish and shrimp fry, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual "Spring Catch-n-Eat" marsh outing along Highway 1. Members of other recognized fly fishing clubs are welcome. For more info, go to their website at www.rsff.org or check their forum page at www.warmfly.com. On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Fishing 101" sessions. There is no cost. This one-day, 2-hour clinic covers the basics of our sport, including basic casting. Seats are limited, so pre-registration is required. To register, contact Alex at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual Speck-n-Redfish Cup. Registration deadline is Friday at 11:59pm. Fish anywhere in Louisiana, weigh-in at Pack and Paddle in Lafayette. Entry fee is $25. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

The inshore shrimp season begins Monday, May 18 across all three zones of coastal Louisiana. At last week's monthly meeting of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting, the dates were set based on status reports from LDWF biologists. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the opening of shrimp season had a major impact on coastal fishing. Especially for fly fishing. As Cormier's 2nd Law states, "Clear water favors the fly angler". Conversely, dirty water favors the bait angler. But back in the old days - when shrimp boats flooded the marsh the first couple of weeks of opening season - the water was too dirty for anyone to have success. One of my favorite spots - Lake Laurier near Grand Isle - would have as many as a dozen trawlers the first weekend of the season. After Katrina, it was rare to spot even one! Katrina had a major impact for sure, but I also agree with some that recreational shrimping was on the decline prior. Just be aware that some areas will be influenced, and fishing will be impacted in those areas. But it's not nearly as bad as it used to be and clear water can be found.

One of the newer books on fly tying is "Step-by-Step Beginner Fly Tying" by Ryan Keyes. This young man has done an excellent job of providing an understanding of the terminology, concept, materials and process of tying flies. The book has some good imagery, perhaps not to the level of the Skip Morris books (which IMO, set the bar for tying). The manual also comes with a companion DVD. I like the concept that Keyes has come up with... much like Gary Borger's classic video "Tying Trout Flies", "Step by Step" demonstrates just a handful of patterns - seven to be exact - that include most of the techniques required to tie just about any fly. "Step by Step" was released last year and so availablity is a bit limited among fly shops. However, it can be purchased online from Amazon or Barnes and Nobles, as well as ordered thru your local BN store. List price is $27.95 but can be purchased for $20 to $22.

Sunday, May 3, 2015
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Casting practice starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the Ponchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on Girod Street in Mandeville. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Wednesday, the CCA Vermillion Chapter holds their annual banquet at the VN Hall on Lafitte Road in Abbeville. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 each ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include CCA membership, admission, dinner, open bar, auction, raffles. For more info, contact Rad at rad@ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the CCA Lake Charles Chapter holds their annual banquet at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 each ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes admission, CCA membership, dinner, open bar, auction, raffles. For more info, contact Julie at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, it's the 2nd annual "2-Fly Bluegill Buster Tourney" hosted by the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers club. Fishing times are 8:30am to 12:30pm. Location is Lamar-Dixon pond in Gonzales. The tournament is open to members of all recognized Louisiana fly fishing clubs. Tournament details can be found in the EVENTS forum. Also on Saturday, Backpacker of Lafayette will host a free "Kayak Demo Day" at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Brands include Hobie, Wilderness, KC Kayak, Perception, Mad River, Dagger, Yolo. Please call 337-406-8754 to confirm if weather becomes an issue. On Sunday, it's Mother's Day. Please remember to tell Mom you love her! Also on Sunday, the Backpacker in Baton Rouge will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at BREC's Wampold Park off Stanford Avenue. Time is 12 noon to 4:00pm. Same brands as the Lafayette store demo. Call 225-925-2667 to confirm if weather is an issue.

Allen now offers an entry level combo. Allen Fly Fishing started as an online business selling good quality fly reels at value prices. They've since expanded to a few dealers, and slowly built up a complete product line of rods, reels, lines, flies, tying materials, accessories, and even packs and apparel (more on that later this week). But the most intriguing new entry is their Prelude Combo. It includes a 4-piece Prelude graphite fly rod (9-foot,5-weight or 9-foot, 8-weight), a matching ATS machined fly reel, weight-forward ly line, 9-foot tapered leader, rod/reel case. The rod carries a one-year limited warranty. Both outfits are priced at $149. More details can be found at www.allenflyfishing.com.

Drawdowns scheduled for lakes Iatt and Cotile. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Grant Parish Police Jury will conduct a drawdown on Iatt Lake starting May 14th, and ending no later than October 15th. The water level will be lowered to 6 feet to evaluate the lake bottom. If necessary, the lake will be drained another 2 feet. Additional control recommendations may be needed, such as herbicide treatment and/or stocking of grass carp. Earlier this year, the Rapides Parish Police Jury approved a drawdown for Cotile Lake. That drawdown will begin September 1st and end January 1st. Cotile will be drawn down 8 feet maximum. Iatt and Cotile are quite different lakes... Iatt is fairly shallow while much of Cotile is 15 to 25 feet deep. While drawdowns on Iatt have had short term effects, those on Cotile have been beneficial for several years after. Fishing on Cotile was nothing short of excellent following the last drawdown and was pretty good two years ago. Last year, most of the famous "Island Beds" noted for superb bream fishing were covered thick. Regardless of nuisance vegetation or not, drawdowns are an excellent tool for revitalizing productivity of waters, and LDWF is making every effort to bring awareness to this.

Sunday, April 26, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahr's Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Speaker will be club member Morris Houck, who will talk about the upcoming CCA STAR tournament, kayak fishing in Cenla and southwest Louisiana, and CPR tournaments. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, materials are provided. The club has a few tool sets for use during the session. On Wednesday, the CCA Acadiana Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Boustany Center in Lafayette. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include CCA membership, dinner, open bar, raffles, auction. For more info, contact Ryan Reaux at 337-298-4741. On Thursday, the CCA Baton Rouge Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Baton Rouge River Center. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include CCA membership, dinner, open bar, raffles, auction. For more info, contact Rad Thrascher at 225-952-9200. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank branch at 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Starting Friday afternoon with Captains meeting, and Saturday with the main event, it's the 6th annual "Bass on the Fly" tournament on Lake Fork, Texas. More on that later. Also starting Friday evening with the Captains meeting, and the main event on Saturday, it's the Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing Association's 10th annual Spring Fling kayak fishing tournament. Location is Gulf Breeze, Florida. Entry fee is $60. Divisions include Inshore (slot red, speck, flounder) and Offshore (king mackeral, spanish mackeral, pelagic). For more info, go to www.gckfa.org. On Saturday, it's the second of "Orvis Days" at the Baton Rouge store in Perkins-Rowe. At 12 noon, ther will be a demonstration on "Getting More Distance in Your Cast", covering tips and tricks for better distance, including line management skills. Attendees are encouraged to bring their rods and cast. For more info, contact Store Manager Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Pack and Paddle will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at Vermilionville Pond on 300 Fisher Road in Lafayette. Time is 9:00am to 2:00pm. Folks can try models from Jackson, Hobie, Wilderness, Native, NuCanoe, Diablo, Hurricane, Bote and others. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

This Saturday is the 6th annual Bass On The Fly. Held at Lake Fork Marina in Lake Fork, Texas, this CPR (catch-photo-release) tournament has categories for boat, kayak/canoe and bank. Rods, reels and flies must be exclusively for fly fishing. Largest 5-fish photos wins and there's a club trophy as well (recognized fly fishing clubs only). Entry fee is $60, with a $5 big bass pot and a $5 big sunfish pot. Activities kick off Friday at 10:00am with free casting clinics, product booths and kayak demos. On Friday afternoon there's a Sunfish tournament from 3:00pm to 6:00pm, followed by the Captain's meeting at 6:00pm featuring local guide reports. Fishing kicks off on Saturday morning at 6:00am with "weigh in" at 2:00pm. This event is endorsed by the IFFF Texas Council and to my knowledge, is the largest fly fishing tournament for bass in the South. Members of the North Louisiana Fly Fishers have done well at BOTF, but the Club Award has gone to Dallas Fly Fishers the last 3 years. Hopefully a Louisiana club can pull the upset this time.

The May issue of Louisiana Sportsman is out and one of the major articles is on offshore fly fishing. Writer Jerald Horst tells of a day on the water with renown Baton Rouge fly angler Roger del Rio and guide Captain Chad Billiot of Marsh Rat Guide Service. Roger, a founding member of the Red Stick Fly Fishers, an IFFF certified fly casting instructor, and holder of several state fly rod records, shares some of favorite nearshore flies as well as tips for various nearshore species. Chad also describes his fly fishing charters, as well as the species he pursues and various techniques for each. Another article that caught my interest - among several - was also by Jerald Horst, on fishing the marsh from SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard). In the article, Jerald accompanies Pack and Paddle owner John Williams on a kayak mothership trip with Justin Head. Justin is a minister and a Terrebonne kayak fishing guide, owner of Heads-to-Tails Charters. My Fly Lines column, "Memorial Day Memories", recounts a couple of marsh trips with friends and family. In his "Puddles and Paddles" column, kayak fishing columnist Chris Holmes discusses GPS options for kayakers, and how and why they should use GPS. Jerald and Glenda Horst share recipes from Jessica and Justin Head.

CCA has filed suit to halt sector separation. The Coastal Conservation Association filed the motion in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern Division of Louisiana to halt Gulf Reef Amendment 40. Submitted by the Gulf Council, and approved by NOAA, GRA-40 would reallocate 42 percent of the recreational red snapper catch in federal waters to charter and headboat vessels. CCA states that the ruling constitutes "agency action that is arbitrary and capricious... and not in accordance with law". Indeed, in today's Advocate newspaper, Outdoors editor Joe Macaluso pointed out that the Magnuson-Stevens act does not discern between recreational entities. Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, Congress needs to take action and end the stupidity of federal management of red snapper. Although red snapper swim in federal waters, they're not a migratory species. As such, western Gulf waters have recovered to the point where the species is almost a nuisance, while eastern Gulf waters they continue to be in jeopardy. In other words, Louisiana and Texas are having to share the pain for Florida's long history of abuse.

Sunday, April 19, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. This month's pattern will be the Beadhead Hares Ear, in a style popularized by the late Polly Rosborough. It's proven to be a killer fly for area bream, especially redears (chiquapin). Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools if you have some. If not, 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's Lutheran Community Center in Lake Charles. Fly tying begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. 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. Guest speaker will be Rad Trascher from CCA. Rad will cover current topics concerning CCA as well as the upcoming STAR tournament. Also on the agenda: fishing reports, tackle tips, and upcoming events. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the East Jefferson CCA Chapter will hold their annual banquet at the Landmark Hotel in Metairie. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $75 per person ($40 spouse, $25 youth) and include 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, door prizes, raffles, auction. For more info, contact Nolan Reynerson or Leigh Isaacson at 225-952-9200. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tyings sessions at the Whitney Bank branch at 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your own tools, materials provided. Also on Thursday, the Bayou Chapter of CCA will hold their annual banquet at the Houma Civic Center. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, raffles, auction. For more info, contact Tony Berrigan at 225-952-9200. On Saturday, it's "Orvis Days" at the Orvis store in Baton Rouge. More on that later. Also on Saturday, The Camp Fly Fishing School will hold the first of their 3 annual schools. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly "Fourth Saturday Tying Clinic" in the White River Fly Shop. Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. Please bring your tying tools, materials provided. Beginners welcome. Instructor TBA. Also on Saturday, it's the "Delta Woods and Waters Expo" at the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort, Alabama. For our readers in coastal Mississippi and Alabama - and those in southeast Louisiana willing to make the short trip - this expo highlights the many recreational opportunities in the Delta area (including fly fishing). Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is free. Food and drinks will be available at family-friendly prices. For more info, go to www.deltawoodsandwatersexpo.com. On Sunday, Pack and Paddle will offer another "Louisiana Hooked" guided kayak fishing experience, location TBD. Pre-registration is required as seats are limited. The $99 per person price includes use of Hobie or Native kayak, paddle, PFD, guide, instruction and lunch. The Louisiana Hooked program offers participants a chance to learn kayak fishing and related skills and put them to use in pursuit of reds, specks and other marsh species. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

This Saturday is the first of Orvis Days at the Baton Rouge store in Perkins-Rowe. The "days" will conclude with another event on May 2nd. For the April 25th event, there'll be a "Fly Fishing 101" session from 8:00am to 10:00am. Pre-registration is required for FF101, as seats are limited. The clinic covers the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. Later at 12 noon, there's a seminar featuring Captain Lucas Bissett and store manager Alex Beane on how to effectively fish with a guide, including from a flats boat. The seminar will cover topics such as selecting a guide, questions to ask, working in unison with the guide, and more. The seminar is free and registration is not required. Also Capt. Bissett will be showcasing his new Beavertail BT3 skiff, along with Store Associate Bailey Short showcasing his new model.

This Saturday, School is in session. The Camp Fly Fishing School, that is. Keith Richard, owner and operator of the TCFFS in Breaux Bridge, annually offers 3 day-long workshops (Beginners, Advanced, Advanced / Instructors Training). The Beginners session will be this Saturday, and covers the basics of the sport with emphasis on casting. Time is 8:00am to 5:00pm. Cost is $150 and includes lunch, handouts, and instruction. I'm sometimes asked "Why should I pay $xxx to learn fly fishing when club (or store) offers it for free?". The answer is "Casting". I often encourage newbies to enroll in as many beginner clinics as possible. But The Camp clinics are special... Keith is a nationally renown casting instructor; he and his other instructors are IFFF Master Certified. The class is heavy on casting, and I've seen great improvement in the casting of friends who've attended the School. Pre-registration is required, as seats are limited. So please call Keith Richard at 337-344-0908 for details and availability. Or go to his website at www.thecampflyfishingschool.com.

Elmers Island to be partially closed starting Monday, according to a press release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. According to the release, the west end of the island will be closed, but the east end and access road will remain open. This is action prior to the May 1st start of the Caminada Headland and Dunes Restoration Project. The project will restore 489 acres of eroded beach and dunes between Elmers and Fourchon Beach.

Bistineau still producing big fish. The northwest Louisiana lake isn't nearly as productive as it used to be, in part to invasive aquatics. Most notably giant salvania. But the war on salvania - drawdowns, spraying, beetles - may be revigorating the lake. The crappie fishing has improved, according to all reports. In February, Stacey Malham landed a 3.44 white crappie on conventional tackle and took steps to register it for the Top 10 record listing. The Louisiana Outdoors Writers Association (LOWA), which maintains the top 10 listing of each species for both conventional and fly tackle, recently approved the entry. It's now listed in 2nd place, behind Tim Ricca's 3.80-pounder (caught on Lake Verret). Prior to a reorganization of the crappie records, both species - black and white - were maintained under one listing. Some of those included catches made on private waters. It should be noted that three of those old listings were caught in our old neighborhood lake, and ranged from just over 3 1/2 pounds to just over 4 pounds! Also, perhaps the largest crappie ever caught in Louisiana - a 6.0 pound fish taken by Lettie Robertson in 1969 out of a Westwego canal - is not recognized by LOWA but is recognized by the Freshwater Hall of Fame and Museum.

Waders that measure water temperature? According to a news report in the Daily Mail, Dutch scientists are working on developing waders that can collect hydrological info from streams. The idea is that there are a lot of anglers wading streams, and if many of them were wearing "smart waders" the scientists could collect tons of information in a very short time. At least compared to conventional methods. One benefit to anglers themselves would be a set of wading boots (or waders) that measure water temperature. Temperature sticks are popular among trout fishermen. Knowing what the temperature is can determine what species of fish are in a stretch of river, how active those fish might be, what hatches might be taking place, etc. We may not see the result of smart waders at this summer's International Fly Tackle Dealer show, but expect it perhaps as early as the 2016 show.

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Potential new state record hybrid stripers. The Red Stick Fly Fishers held their annual Spring outing to beautiful Lake Concordia near Ferriday this past weekend. Despite a gloomy forecast, the weatherman proved to be wrong (again!) and the Redstickers enjoyed fantastic weather. And as usual, fantastic fishing. Those who attended my presentation at Caddo Conclave on fishing Cenla waters saw some pretty impressive catches made from this lake (I rank it #4 among Cenla waters). According to RSFF ambassador Dugan Sabins, I may have to up my ranking... just about everyone caught big bream and the usual suspects caught some nice stringers of 8-9 inch fish! But in addition, a few members went hunting for hybrid stripers and had great success! In fact, Gary Peterson, Darin Lee and Mark Hester all weighed and submitted their catches for the LOWA Fly Rod Records list. FYI, the Louisiana Outdoors Writers Association (LOWA) maintains the top 10 of each species in three different categories: Rod-Reel, Fly Rod, and Private Waters. Currently, the Hybrid Striped Bass / Fly Rod category has two entries: Robert Wells at 5.13 pounds and Randy Lewis at 4.31 pounds. If approved, Gary's fish (shown in photo) will take 1st spot at 6.71 pounds. Darin's striper will be in 2nd place at 6.57 pounds, and Mark's entry will be 3rd at 5.97 pounds. For anyone who has ever fished for hybrids (or full stripers) on fly rod, knows these were epic battles, indeed! Dugan didn't mention what flies were used, but it appears from photo evidence either seaducers or decievers or some variation of baitfish pattern. In addition to Concordia and nearby Lake St. John, hybrid striped bass can be found at False River, Cane River Lake, Toledo Bend and Lake Claiborne. Claiborne is the most promising of the bunch for a double-digit fish on fly - the lake record is 12.87 pounds!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Low gas prices could continue thru summer. A new report released by the U.S. Energy Department is forecasting for gasoline prices to remain at their lowest level in six years, with projected national average of $2.45 per gallon between April and September. If this projection holds, it's great news for anglers! So far in 2015, the average price has been around 30 percent lower than in 2014. While cold and rain (and constant generation on tailwaters) has cancelled many fishing trips for Louisiana flycasters this Winter and Spring, low gas prices has been a boon to events. The Cenla Fly Fest, Rizzolo Fly Tying Fest, Red Stick Day, Sowbug Roundup, Guadalupe Trout Unlimited TroutFest and Caddo Conclave all had good attendance. If gas prices continue under $2.50 a gallon - or even drop - expect many fly anglers to make road trips this summer. It's in our nature!

Orvis Fly Fishing 101 - a great success story! A couple years ago, Orvis began a program to offer free introductory fly fishing instruction through it's stores nationwide. Not all stores do it on a regular basis, but the Baton Rouge store does. And it's been a huge success! Consider that prior to the Orvis program, the local Red Stick Fly Fishers did an annual "Fly Fishing 101" where attendance was very good - usually 20 to 30 folks. The Baton Rouge Orvis FF101 programs get 5 times that many each year! The program was featured in DIG magazine and has been recognized in my "Fly Lines" column in Louisiana Sportsman. FF101 is a 2-hour, one-day program that covers the basics of our sport - one hour covers tackle selection and knot tying, and one hour covers casting instruction. There's also a followup program for FF101 graduates... "Fly Fishing 201" puts the skills anglers learned to test on use on the water. Students tie knots, apply their casting skills, make fly selection, and learn to cast, retrieve, hook and fight fish. Even if the species is bluegill, it's a epiphany to many students.

For those interested in Fly Fishing 101 the Orvis store has 3 more sessions available before a summer break. Those dates are April 25, May 16, and June 6. Classes are typically from 8:00am to 10:00am. Pre-registration is required, as seats are limited. To check availability - and to register online - the store now has this online registration page. Also, registration can be done by calling 225-757-7286. Another set of events brought to my attention by store manager Alex Beane was Orvis Days. These are going to be Saturday, April 25 and Saturday, May 2. On April 25th, Captain Lucas Bissett and Alex will do a presentation on fly fishing with a guide - maximizing your time spent on the water for success. This free clinic is from 12 noon to 2:00pm. It includes topics such as questions to ask when booking a guide, understanding guide interaction and more. On May 2nd, the clinic will be on getting more distance in your casting. Time will be from 12 noon to 1:00pm, and will cover topics such as doing a double haul, line management, and more. Attendees are requested to bring their rods (or use one of Orvis rods) and cast. For more on all these events, check the Orvis Baton Rouge Facebook page.

Sunday, April 12, 2015
What's happening this week. A very important day, plus a very big event. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Casting outside beginning at 6:30pm, weather permitting. On the agenda: a recap of this past weekend's freshwater trip to Lake Concordia. Guests are welcome. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting on the banks of the Cane River downtown, weather permitting. The program will be on "Fly Fishing from Kayak and Canoe" with live demonstration. The group will head to Mama's afterwards for dinner. Guests are welcome! Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge, 150 Eagle Bend Point, in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. For the program, Erik Dilts and Frank Harmon will share their experiences from a recent flats fishing adventure to El Pescador Lodge in Belize. The public is invited. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Frances Church on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the CCA Monroe Chapter will hold it's annual banquet at the Civic Center Conference Hall. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse/date, $25 youth) and includes one-year CCA membership, admission, dinner and open bar. For more info, contact Julie Grunewald at julie@ccalouisiana.com. Starting Friday evening, and on Saturday, it's the 12th annual Paddlepalooza kayak fishing tournament. More on that later. On Sunday, Pack and Paddle will hold another of their "Kayaking 101" clinics at Lake Martin. Cost is $40 per person, and includes instruction, use of kayak, paddle, and PFD. This on-the-water workshop covers the basics of flatwater kayaking and kayak safety. Pre-registration is required, as seats are limited. To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

There's never a loser at Paddlepalooza! This Friday evening kicks off the Granddaddy of Louisiana kayak fishing tournaments - the 12th annual Paddlepalooza. Once again, location will be Topwater Marina (formerly Bobby Lynn's Marina) down in Leeville. Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, Paddlepalooza is one of the "majors" - one of the very special kayak fishing tournaments in the country. Last year's attendance of 262 could be in jeopardy - currently 223 are registered, and the Saturday forecast shows favorable weather and winds. The event kicks off Friday at 7:00pm with the Captain's meeting and pastalaya dinner. Saturday at 5:00am fishing begins, with weigh-in no later than 4:00pm. Entrants can launch and fish anywhere along Highway 1 from the Highway 3163 intersection south to the end of Grand Isle. Registration is only $51, and that includes tournament entry, Friday and Saturday meals, Captain's bag, t-shirt, a chance at numerous raffle items, and more. The tourney is setup so the maximum number of individuals come away with prizes, with several spots in each category awarded. And there's a ton of categories - Cajun Slam (heaviest combination slot red, speckled trout, flounder), individual species, Ladies Slam, Youth Division, and Leopard Red (most spots). There's cash and prizes awarded, including Hobie kayaks for the top two Cajun Slams and a KC Kayak for the Leopard Red winner. Yet another reason for the popularity of Paddlepalooza - early Spring can be excellent fishing for marsh reds and specks - and fly fishing, too! I've weighed in a fly-caught red and speck the last five Paloozas I've fished. Even though that elusive flounder has kept me from the prizes, I've still come away with goodies. That's because of the giant raffle containing dozens of prizes donated by the event's many terrific sponsors. The raffle income is used in part to support the club's charities. Finally, there's the food - it's the reason why unexplicably some puddlers gain a pound or two even with all the paddling or peddling. Whatever reason puddlers find appealing, they'll have no trouble registering this final week. Online registration will remain open thru Thursday at BCKFC.ORG, and there'll be onsite registration at the Captains meeting on Friday night.

Rain, rain go away! At Saturday's Caddo Conclave, fellow attendees were frustrated with the consequences of much-higher-than-normal rainfall this Spring. It's negatively impacted many freshwater spots, but also saltwater (the Calcasieu system in particular) and even popular trout destinations like the Lower Mountain Fork and the Little Missouri. In the latter case, there's no fishing tailwaters when they're generating most - if not all - of the time. Freshwater and saltwater may be "fishable" but "catching" isn't good. Cormier's 2nd Law of Fly Fishing states, "Clear water favors the fly angler", but dirty water favors no one! Well, maybe stink bait fishing for catfish. LFF readers will not like the forecast for the week ahead - most of the state is forecast for 50 to 80 percent chance of rain Sunday thru Friday, with flash flood warnings across most of south Louisiana. Not the forecast we're wanting to see at a time that bream activity is really picking up.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Redfish harvest in federal waters to resume? It's possible if a proposal by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources gets approval by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). According to several news sources, the plan would allow each angler fishing in federal waters with a licensed charter captain a maximum of 1 redfish per day. The minimum size limit would be 18 inches, with no maximum size limit. Harvesting of redfish beyond state waters - by either recreational or commercial - has been closed for nearly three decades. According to CCA Louisiana, the proposal would "open up a Pandora's box". We agree... one of the reasons for the great red drum fishery we have is because the spawners - all of them - are protected. It's nature's restocking program. One argument that proponents of the Mississippi proposal are making is that there would be a maximum quota of 30,000 pounds such that the spawning stock would not be adversely affected. Among the many things the snapper issue has taught us, it's that quotas were meant to be exceeded. NOAA will accept public comment through April 23. Those looking to express their opinions may email 0648.XD816.Red.Drum.EFP@noaa.gov.

Registration is now open for Destination Texas Expo. Destination Texas is the name of the IFFF Texas Council's annual fly fishing show (conclave). The show will be held at the New Braunfels Civic Center Friday, May 29 thru Sunday, May 31. Admission is $20 for IFFF members ($25 non-members) for all 3 days, or $10 for one-day. Among the highlights of the event are the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) on Friday night, the Expo banquet on Saturday night, the Fly Tying Theatre featuring scheduled tyers, IFFF Certified Casting workshops and more. There are free presentations, fly tying demonstrations, and fee workshops. One of the striking aspects of the registration form - ALL the workshops involve casting (no tying or rigging workshops of any kind). Strange. Anywho, this promises to be a great event, check it out at www.txflyfishexpo.com.

LDWF hosting Kids Fishing Day Camp in July. Once again, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a Kids Fishing Day Camp for ages 10 to 15 years at the Woodworth Outdoor Education Center. The camp will run from Monday, July 6 thru Thursday, July 9. Time each day is 9:00am to 4:00pm. Campers will be supervised by LDWF education staff and volunteers doing activities that focus on all aspects of fish and fishing. Registration is $75 per child. Deadline is June 30. Camp is limited to the first 20 participants. Lunch will be provided daily and each child will receive a rod/reel combo and stocked tackle bass courtesy of the Association of Louisiana Bass Clubs (ALBC) and Woodmen of the World. For more info, go to the LDWF website or contact Todd Buffington at 318-773-2402.

Sunday, April 5, 2015
Happy Easter! It's a shame the rain has spoiled the egg hunts over most of the state today. Even so, it's wonderful to spend time with family and enjoy the long weekend. The kids are celebrating the passage of the Easter bunny... there's going to be LOTS of chocolate consumed the next couple of weeks. The adults in our extended family celebrate the true reason for this day - the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion to redeem the world. No better way to celebrate that than with a cold beer! (now you know what I gave up for Lent, ha!). Here's wishing all - kids and adults - a great day!

What's happening this week. A busy one, as we begin that annual Spring stretch of activities laden with kayak demos and tournaments and CCA banquets. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presybterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, The Backpacker of Baton Rouge will host a "Paddlepalooza Fishing Seminar" at their store on Jefferson Highway. Time is 6:30pm. Hobie Team members Tommy Eubanks, Casey Bruning, Clayton Shilling, Todd Lewis, and Brendan Bayard will talk about kayak fishing rigging, fishing patterns, safety, strategy and fishing locations along Highway 1. There is not cost. On Thursday, Pack and Paddle will host a free "Fly Fishing 101" seminar at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Keith Richard, an FFF Master Certified Casting Instructor, will cover topics from tackle selection and fly selection for various species, as well as nearby fishing spots. No reservation is necessary. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. Also on Thursday, the Northshore Chapter of CCA will hold their annual banquet at the Castine Center in Mandeville. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include dinner, one-year membership, open bar, live auction, raffles, more. For more info, contact Ryan Guerin at ryan@ccalouisiana.com. Starting Friday thru Sunday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual Spring outing to Lake Concordia. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. Also starting Friday evening and continuing Saturday, it's the 6th annual Caddo Conclave. More on that later. Also on Friday evening, and continuing Saturday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "Venice Kayak Fishing Trip". As of this writing, a few spots were still available. Cost is $185 per person and includes Friday night accomodations, breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and guided kayak trip on Saturday (kayak, paddle, PFD provided). For more info or to register, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will host another of their "Fly Fishing 101" classes at their store on Perkins-Rowe. This free, one-day, 2-hour session covers the basics of the sport, including hands-on casting instruction. Reservations are required, as classes do fill up. To register, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, the Ascension Parish Library in Gonzales will hold a free Fly Tying Class at their South Irma branch. Time is 9:00am to 12 noon. Basics of tying fresh and saltwater flies. For more info, call instructor Darrell Crawford at 225-644-7989. Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters of New Orleans will host a "Kayak Demo Day" on Bayou St. John at 1400 Moss Street in New Orleans. Time is 11:00am to 3:00pm. There is no cost. Boats include Hobie, Perception, Dagger, Native, Jackson, Wilderness, Feelfree, Bote. For more info, call 800-754-7467. Also on Saturday, Backpacker of Lafayette will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. There is no cost. Boats include Hobie, Wilderness, KC Kayak, Perception, Mad River, YOLO, and Dagger. On Sunday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge will host a free "Kayak Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on University Lake. Time is 12 noon to 4:00pm. Brands will be the same as those for the Lafayette store demo on Saturday. Again, if weather becomes an issue, check with the store at 225-925-2667 to confirm.

This weekend's 6th annual Caddo Conclave will again be held at beautiful Caddo State Park in Karnack, Texas, just 35 miles northwest of Shreveport. The scenic lake that the park straddles is boundary water between Texas and Louisiana and is fishable with either state's basic fishing license. Co-hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers and East Texas Fly Fishers, the Caddo event marks the last regional club conclave until the Contraband club of Lake Charles does theirs in August (note that the IFFF Texas Council will hold their event in New Braunfels the last weekend of May). For those who still don't know what a "conclave" is, it's a celebration of fly fishing featuring seminars, fly tying demos by a variety of tiers, casting seminars and/or instruction, raffles, food, and plain ol' comradery. The Caddo event is no different... it kicks off Friday evening at 5:00pm with a pot luck dinner and evening fly tying. Saturday kicks off with a breakfast by the NLFF club, followed by fly tying demos, seminars, raffles, casting and more. Lunch will be provided by the East Texas Fly Fishers. Cost for the event is only $10. For more info, check the Caddo Conclave posts in our forum, or contact Mike Hawkins at 903-736-1887 or Scott Irwin at 318-469-0854.

Allen now selling rod blanks. The folks at Allen Fly Fishing began with a simple construct: to sell good quality fly reels at an affordable price, directly to customers. Their success was amazing, and it allowed the co-owners to expand into rods, flies, fly lines, packs, hooks, accessories and more. Now they've ventured into an area that had been on the decline for over a decade but is showing signs of resurgence. That's rod building. Last week, I received an email unveiling their new MC2 blanks. Here's what it said: "MC2 Series blanks are a result of our ongoing RD in our newest generations of fly rods. Featuring a medium action with plenty of power, light swing weight and quality construction.". Four-piece models run from an 8'6" 4-weight to a 9-foot, 8-weight and are priced at $125.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
No April Fools Joke - it's a record redear! That's what I thought this morning when I read this story on the Outdoor News (photo courtesy of OutdoorNews.com). But it's fact... a few weeks back, Hector Brito was fishing Arizona's Lake Havasu, site of several gargantuan shellcracker catches in the last few years. Brito was fishing a drop-shot rig using a nightcrawler when his rod nearly doubled over. Thinking it was a catfish during the fight, imagine his surprise when a redear surfaced. It weighed in at 5.78 pounds, and if approved by the International Game Fish Association will eclipse the previous record of 5.55 pounds caught by Bob Lawler in 2011. So what makes Havasu special for redear? It appears the lake is infested with an invasive quagga mussel. Similiar situation to Merritt's Mill Pond in Florida (one of our family's favorite fishing spots). Waters teeming with mussels and snails. According to a Florida Wildlife biologist I spoke to, once redears get a certain size, they go to work on these crustaceans... an all-you-can-eat buffet! Their growth explodes after that point. Incidently, the best spot to catch big redears in Louisiana? Caney Lake near Chatham - it has 9 of the top 10 record fish, ranging from 1.62 pounds to 2.87 pounds.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
CCA will be holding a fishing seminar this Thursday at Bent's Marine in Metairie. Hosted by the New Orleans Metro Chapters of CCA, the event will feature guest speakers Sam Barbera, Billy Nungesser, Captains Mike Gallo, Ron "Ahab" Broadus, C.T. Williams, Dudley Vandenborre, Greg Schlumbrecht, and Peace Marvel (weather permitting). Doors open at 5:30pm, speakers start at 6:00pm. Admission is $5, with ladies and kids free. And kids receive a free gift! In addition to a jambalaya dinner donated by Group Insurance Associates, there's adult beverages provided by Southern Eagle Budweiser. Enough of the particulars... the reason I'd be interested in attending this event should be pretty clear. We've had a rough winter and early spring, but the reports as of late have been quite optimistic. Nobody knows the fish more than the folks who do this for a living. The question on everyone's minds is will this Spring and Summer be a repeat of 2014 (good for reds, poor for specks). Hopefully they have some insight.

The History of Fly Fishing in Fifty Flies. That's the title of a new book by Ian Whitelaw. Normally I don't get excited about new fly fishing books unless they're either very good, entertaining, pertain to our regional fishing, or cover a different and/or unique topic. This one certainly falls in the unique category according to the press release... it tells the history of our sport beginning some 2,000 years ago to today through the "eyes" of flies, in the process covering fishing techniques of those flies and their use around the world. Based on the page samples I've seen, this looks to be the type of book I'd like very much to have in my library. The hardcopy is $16.42 on Amazon, but with the Kindle price of $9.99 it's worth a check.

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