Sunday, November 20, 2016
What's happening this week. It's Thanksgiving week, and with school out for the week, a chance to take a young person fishing! On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Province Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Catch Cormier will lead the group in tying the "Silli Butt", a very effective pattern for crappie, bluegill, even smallmouth bass. Beginners are welcome. Thursday is Thanksgiving, and Friday is "Black Friday" the official start of the Christmas Shopping season. Have a great week!
Cold weather has finally arrived. The cold front that pushed thru the state on Friday brought the first frost of the season last night across north and central Louisiana. Another frost warning is out for tonight. Of consequence to anglers is that this cold air will send crappie to their winter haunts - deep water, feeder creeks, and structures such as bridges and submerged brushpiles. It will also send more trout from open water reefs further up into estuaries. In southeast coastal areas, that means bayous, canals, deadends, and deep pits. In the Calcasieu area, look for trout to be more concentrated in the LNG terminal canals, Lakes Prien and Charles, and Turners Bay. This "second migration" of specks also brings bigger fish in closer proximity of popular kayak fishing launch spots. The 15 day forecast calls for a succession of fronts which should lower tides and expose banks for sightcasting opportunities. The trick will be to pick the right day between fronts when winds are down.
The December issue of Louisiana Sportsman is out and available at sporting goods and convenience stores across the state. As you might guess, a lot of this issue is dedicated to hunting, but there's enough fishing stuff to make anglers happy. In my Fly Lines column - "The Joys of Christmas Fishing" - I recall a mid-December marsh fishing trip with friends Mike LaFleur and Roger del Rio. The coast provides many presents over the holiday season - silver, red, brown and striped - for fly anglers taking the right approach for each species. In his "Puddles and Paddles" column, Chris Holmes advises not to put the yak up for winter. He tells paddlers where to look for fish on cold winter days, and what techniques to use. In their Seafood Bible column, Jerald and Glenda Horst highlight Kevin Quigley, who shares his recipes for grilled delights on his Big Green Egg, such as Shrimpburgers. In his Game Warden column, Keith LaCaze details the comeback of the Louisiana alligator. In Field Notes, Phillip Gentry gives readers the 10 Commandments of Crappie Fishing. Feature articles include "From Hot to Cold" where Patrick Bonin tells why the Chalmette Hot Water Canal is no longer THE winter hot spot it once was, but how it and nearby waters can still be productive. Kinny Haddox writes about how the drawdown on Lake D'Arbonne is a great opportunity for crappie anglers. Rusty Tardo tells why Pointe a la Hache provides consistent action for winter reds and specks. Many more articles, plus tidal charts, solunar tables, and regional fishing forecasts.
The Winter issue of Fly Tyer magazine is out. Fly Tyer is an national publication celebrating all things of the vise, and featuring numerous fly patterns on a quarterly basis. Most of Fly Tyer columns are submitted by guest columnists. Spotlighting this issue in the "Saltwater Feature" column is an article by Fred Hannie of Lake Charles, giving step-by-step instructions on his Mono Grass Shrimp. He also writes on why this realistic pattern is so successful and how it should be fished. In "Materials Notebook" column, David Klausmeyer tells about three new materials and instructions on a fly that uses each one. Drew Chicone shares his StrawBoss fly, a pattern with lifelike motion that he claims trigger the feeding instincts of big bass. Al Ritt shares winter patterns for Colorado; Al and Gretchen Beatty give pro tips for tying CDC wings; Eric Austin provides photo step-by-step instructions for the "Evening Star" salmon fly pattern. Other columns include "Editor's Bench", "Beginners Corner", and "Reader Favorites".
Monday, November 14, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Community Center on old Highway 1 in Natchitoches. This month the club will meet early at 5:00pm as they'll be making poppers. Bring your tying tools. Beginners and guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Visitors are welcome. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St Paul Lutheran Church on East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, 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. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda are fishing reports, tackle tip, and the upcoming Turkey Trout Tournament. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tying tools if you have some, otherwise the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. On Saturday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their final series tournament of the year, the "Where Y'ak? Throwdown". Fishing is anywhere in St. Bernard or East Plaquemine Parish. Entry fee is $20 plus Paypal fee. Top bag of 10 trout plus 1 flounder wins. Fishing starts at 5:30am and weigh-in is at 1:00pm at Gulf Outlet Marina in Chalmette. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.
Donald Trump and fishing. It was the most contentious - and unbelievable - presidential race in my lifetime. It seems like more people voted AGAINST the other candidate rather than FOR someone. But last Tuesday night the voters of America made their decision and elected Donald J. Trump as our 45th president. Unlike many of the protesters who needed a "safe space" following the election, those anglers who supported Clinton (or Johnson) probably found their safe space on the water. The few who did vote Democrat or Libertarian had many concerns, two of which were fishing and conservation. But Trump may be more friendly to both than folks imagine. For example, during the GOP race, he stated that he opposes sale of federal lands because his sons hunt and fish on public lands and those are utilized by many other outdoorsmen. He also has opposed Obama's executive order which designates vast areas of the ocean as "national monuments" to prohibit fishing in those areas. Trump has also opposed the EPA E85 mandate which the Recreational Fishing Alliance and boating groups have opposed because it could damage existing outboard motors. There's also the issue of state management of red snapper - which Obama opposed and threaten to veto any such bill. Most believe Trump would sign such a bill which would be a "yuuge" win for Louisiana offshore anglers. Overall, I see the Trump presidency being pro-conservation. Folks need to realize that The Donald is more of a populist Republican, and that many of his views are in line with average folks rather than corporate lobbyists.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
What's happening this week. The most important week of the year as Tuesday is Election Day. Please remember to go out and exercise your American right to vote! It's also Veteran's Day on Friday. Please remember to thank those who served to protect our freedom! On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their annual banquet in lieu of their meeting. The banquet will take place at Jan's River Restaurant in Greenwood. Time is 6:00pm. For more details, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. On Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" seminar at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Keith Richard, a Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) Master Certified Instructor will cover topics including: tackle selection, fly selection, and nearby fishing locations. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop on Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none a few sets are available for use during the session. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the Bayou Pirates kayak fishing club holds their monthly meeting at Harbuck Outdoors on 1914 East 70th street in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual Fall Catch-and-Eat marsh outing along Highway 1. For more info, go to www.rsff.org.
The latest issues of Tide Magazine and Louisiana Sportsman are out. Tide is the bimonthly publication of the Coastal Conservation Association, available only to CCA members as a perk of membership. In the November/December issue, Erik Landesfeind tells about the "Red Crab Invasion" that is attracting big numbers of tuna and other species that feed on the delicious crustacean; Jason Arnold writes about standup paddle board fishing; Scott Sparrow writes about Lower Laguna Madre redfish; Jason Brooks tells why cold rains in the Pacific Northwest make for excellent silver salmon fishing. Plus, state news updates and a collection of five "Catch, Cook, Eat" recipes. The November issue of Louisiana Sportsman is available at convenience and outdoors stores across the state. In my "Fly Lines" column, I summarize some of the exciting new reels, fly lines, and accessories revealed at ICAST and available now into 2017. In his "Paddles N Puddles" column, Chris Holmes gives tips for locating and catching fall speckled trout from kayak. Jerald and Glenda Horst share shrimp recipes from Lane LeMaire of Lafayette in their "Seafood Bible" column. Feature articles include: David Brown on how to locate winter redfish by locating mullet; Jerald Horst on kayak fishing for Lake Prien trout; and Rusty Tardo on late fall patterns for Delacroix trout and redfish. Also, tide charts, solunar tables, and regional fishing forecasts.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
What's happening this week. With Halloween on Monday, and the start of November on Tuesday, it's a week of many activities. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church on 415 Roselawn in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club holds it's bi-monthly meeting at Ward 3 Recreation Center on 7903 Lake Street in Lake Charles. Visitors are welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to their website at www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. Starting Friday afternoon, and continuing thru Sunday morning, it's the annual Toledo Bend Rendezvous at North Toledo Bend State Park near Zwolle. "Rendezvous" is the largest gathering of fly tiers in our state, with no planned activities but plenty of fly tying, food, and fishing. Many of the top tiers from the Ark-La-Tex region will be on hand tying at the numerous tables inside the large dining room. Five bunkhouses are reserved for overnight stay on Friday, Saturday or both nights. The 2-night fee is $50 family, $40 single, and 1-night fee is $25 family, $20 single. Those coming just for the day Saturday are asked to make a donation to help offset the rental fees. For more details on this event, check Bowfin47's post on the General Discussion forum. Or go to this link at Walter McLendan's website.
Southern Trout Magazine to launch Ozark Edition. For those that aren't aware of this fine magazine, STM is an online regional publication that covers coldwater and smallmouth bass fishing for the southern Appalachians and extending into the Mid-South region or the Ozarks and Ouachita rivers of Missouri and Arkansas. The publisher has decided to spinoff the Mid-South region into a separate magazine. Coming this week is the launch of Southern Trout Ozark Edition. STM will remain a bi-monthly publication, ST Ozark will also be bi-monthly but on those months that STM does not publish. To subscribe for current issues via email, or to read previous editions online, go to www.southerntrout.com
Great speckled trout weather continues. In fact, it might be just a little too good. The numbers are there, but not the size yet. Great reports are coming from open lakes like Lake Jesse, Laurier, Catfish Lake, Lake Barre, Lake Borgne and Big Lake. There's also some nice catches of white trout mixed in. For flycasters, the Clouser Minnow or EP Spawning Shrimp under a VOSI are getting the numbers, but topwaters early are picking up some sizeable fish. Bass fishing also continues to be good, and there's been an unusually late good run on chiquapin! While this dry spell and low river levels have greatly improved fishing in places like Vermillion Bay, it's been bad for stream fishing here in central Louisiana. Kisatchie Bayou is more like Kisatchie Ditch. Of course, the farmers need rain as much as we need for our gardens and lawns. As of now, there's a slight chance of rain on Thursday, but we'll be back to dry weather next weekend as a strong cool front pushes thru the state.
Mel Gibson is back! The Oscar-winning director and actor has been out of the limelight for the last decade, following his battle with personal demons. But the devout Catholic returned to his spiritual roots, and spent more time fly fishing. Yes, fly fishing does wonders for the soul! Gibson also found inspiration in the story of World War II hero Desmond Ross. And became determined to bring that story to the big screen. "Hacksaw Ridge" is currently in theatres and drawing praise as one of the best movies of 2016. It follows the story of Ross - the first conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor - during the Battle of Okinawa, where without a gun, he saved the lives of 75 men.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker Don Lawler will give a presentation on "Materials of Opportunity" on unconvential sources for tying unique flies. The public is invited. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. On Tuesday, there's a Sportmens Meeting on the 2017 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 5:30pm. Co-hosted by CCA Louisiana, Ducks Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the session will review some of the coastal restoration plans for the coming years by the Coastal Protection Restoration Authority (CPRA). The meeting is open to the public. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Friday evening with the Captain's Dinner, and continuing Saturday with the tournament, it's the 11th annual "Fall-n-Tide" kayak fishing tournament out of Cypress Cove in Venice. Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, entry fee is $62 for adults, and free for 12 and under, and includes entry, Friday dinner, Saturday fish fry, t-shirt, captain's bag, and loads of raffle prizes. Categories include Cajun Slam (slot red, speck, and flounder), Ladies Slam, Youth Slam, individual species, and Leopard Red. For more info, or to register online, go to www.bckfc.org.
We were saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Brown. A resident of Baton Rouge, Bill was a friend and former co-worker at Albemarle, and for many years an active member of the Red Stick Fly Fishers club. Bill served at various positions in the club over the years, including Warmwater Chair and Membership Chair. But probably his greatest contribution to the club - and even to fly fishing in general - was his series of "Eternal Novice" articles posted in "The Red Letter". These were educational pieces often written in a storytelling format. As a tribute to Bill, we'll post some of those "Eternal Novice" articles later this Fall.
We were also saddened to learn of the passing of Johnny Chamness. He was 77. Readers who have been part of the Southern and Southeastern Federation of Fly Fishers events for many years will recall that Johnny was the auctioneer for both councils. The Huntsville, Alabama resident was a member of the Tennessee Valley Fly Fishers, and a friend to all. Johnny wasn't your typical auctioneer: he wasn't fast talking and most of his presentation was humorous and filled with jokes - and not always family-friendly. You can say he was a "character". My fondest memory of Johnny was at one of the Southern Conclaves when myself and other "Bayou Chefs" prepared the welcoming dinner. I had prepared a shrimp etoufee in a large black iron pot. After emptying the contents into a 20-gallon pot for serving, Johnny showed up to my cooking area, grabbed half a loaf of Champagne's French Bread I had on a table, and sopped up the gravy left in the pot.
We also read of the passing of Maggie Merriman. A resident of California, she earned her reputation as "Fly Fishing Lady of the West" by establishing fly fishing schools - mostly women's only - in the late 1970s. She continued to teach schools in West Yellowstone and California for decades. Merriman was very active in the Federation of Fly Fishers, doing workshops and seminars at both National and regional conclaves, and writing articles for their Flyfisher magazine. She is one of the most honored women in the IFFF, having recieved "Federator of the Year" in 1995, Lew Jewett Memorial Award in 1983, and inducted into the "Legends of Fly Fishing" in 2003. She was 80 years old.
Regulation proposals making news. Because my internet was down this past week, I posted two news items in the LFF Forum regarding proposed regulation changes in neighboring states. Both are of interest and impact to Louisiana anglers. The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has imposed a winter closure for recreational specks, from January 1 thru March 31. They're also contemplating an increase in the minimum size, from 13 inches to 15 inches, while maintaining the legal limit at 15 daily. I've seen discussion of this change on several forums. A valid argument being made is that this could result in increased fishing pressure in southeast Louisiana waters. Another poster argued that increasing the minimum size would result in much more harvesting of female trout, and that a better solution to protect spawners would be to set a maximum size limit. For example, only allow 2 fish over 20 inches per day. Perhaps the best argument was why the commercial fishery for specks would continue during this "closed period".
The Little Red River proposal was presented at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission October 13th meeting. The Little Red is a year-round tailwater fishery below Greers Ferry Dam in Heber Springs. Many Louisiana trout enthusiasts frequent the Little Red for two reasons: close proximity, and it's a world-class brown trout fishery. The proposed rules - if enacted - would combine increased conservation measures with more practical enforcement management. Among the key points: replace the existing 5 fish limit, 16-24 inch protected slot for all trout species with a 5-fish limit with only one over 16 inches; enact a no-culling rule; convert the JFK and Mossy SRAs into year-round catch-and-release; and convert Cow Shoals into a year-round catch-and-release. A public survey has been placed online to gather comments before the AGFC meets again on November 17.
A major fish kill at False River. Television station WAFB in Baton Rouge reported that thousands of dead fish were popping up around docks on both ends of the popular oxbow near New Roads. The good news is that nearly all the fish were threadfin shad. Probably the victim of "overturn". In deep lakes like False River where thermoclines exist, cool fronts can drop surface water temperatures below those of the oxygen-low thermocline. Cooler water sinks, the warmer bottom water rises. Shad are highly intolerant of low oxygen conditions. LDWF also acknowledged that there's an overpopulation of shad in the lake that helped contribute to the kill. My suggested solution to that problem? Stock hybrid stripers!
Sunday, October 16, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. This month's fly will be the "Mop Fly", a simple imitation of a crane fly larvae. Guests are welcome. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 E Pinhook Road in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda is the finals of the club's CPR Challenge tournament, tackle tips, fishing reports and more. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. On Thursday, it's the annual CCA STAR Awards Banquet at Live Oak Arabians on Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Gates open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction at 8:00pm. Tickets are $50 per person, $30 spouse or date, and $25 youth, and includes dinner and open bar. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! On Saturday, Pack and Paddle will hold their major Fall "Kayak and Canoe Demo Day" at Vermillionville Pond off Fisher Road in Lafayette. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. There's no cost. Brands include Hobie, Jackson, Native, Vibe, Hurricane, Bote and others. Several of the new 2017 models will be available for demo. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.
Time to think about the 2017 Calendar. The end of 2016 is quickly approaching. We have only two major events left for this year for fly fishing and kayak fishing interests: Fall-n-Tide kayak fishing tournament out of Venice the weekend of October 28-29 and Toledo Bend Fly Fishers Rendezvous the weekend of November 4-5. More on those events later. As for 2017, dates for the usual activities are being added on a weekly basis. For example, last week the Red Stick Fly Fishers announced their annual Spring and Fall weekend outings to Lake Concordia - not just for 2017, but 2018 and 2019 as well! Earlier this week, the IFFF Southern Council announced the dates for their annual conclave as October 6th and 7th. Based on strong attendance and positive feedback, the 2017 Southern Fly Fishing Fair will return to The Sheid Convention Center, located on the campus of Arkansas State University Mountain Home. And then on Thursday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club announced the dates for their annual Paddlepalooza, the state's 2nd largest kayak fishing tournament and one of the five largest in the country. For 2017, Paddlepalooza will be held the weekend of April 29th, at a new venue - Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. According to BCKFC, the decision was made to move from it's traditional Leeville location due to lack of space and parking (the tournament continues to grow, with over 250 attendees this past April).
While several longtime events return for 2017 there's also a few new ones added to the calendar as well. One of the new "regional" events is the inaugural Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival set for March 11-12, 2017 at the Plano Center, 20 miles north of Dallas. As is our longtime policy, the LFF Calendar lists all in-state fly fishing and kayak fishing activities as well as all day-long or longer fly fishing events within 8 hours of a state metro area. Please check the LFF Calendar and if you see an event or activity that is not listed, send me an email and it will be added.
Fly Rod and Reel Magazine has announced their 2016 Kudo Awards. This is their 30th year of bestowing praise on noteworthy products and services. Among the winners were the Simms G4 Pro Jacket, Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink 30 Clear fly line, Sage X fly rod, Tiemco 200R hooks, Redington Behemoth Reels and several others. One of those other winners was the Dan Bailey Lighweight Waders. I'm currently on my second pair. Of all the waders I've owned, they've been my all-time favorites. Perhaps there's some Kudo Award winner you might be interested in... check it out at www.flyrodreel.com.
Speaking of awards, Monday the 2016 Kayak Angler Choice Awards will be posted on YakAngler.com. These awards are voted on by the public over three elimination rounds. The first round lists contained several Louisiana-related or fly fishing related entries for Angler of the Year, Magazine of the Year, Forum of the Year, Retailer of the Year, Location of the Year, Employer of the Year, Video of the Year and Blog of the Year. But by Round 3, the only remaining were Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club for "Forum of the Year" and "Bass on the Fly" by Steve Fisher for "Photo of the Year". We'll soon find out if those two won their categories.
When will the fall fishing turn on? Well it already has, just not to the expectation level we come to associate with mid-October. The reason is a strong ridge of high pressure that has settled over the northern Gulf, giving us higher-than-normal temperatures and tides. But a strong cool front predicted for later this week should push some of that high water out, and push more trout to inside waters. Right now, specks are feeding on clouser and shrimp patterns suspended under a VOSI, over reefs and in bayous and deadend canals. A lot of feeding activity is taking place under diving birds. Freshwater wise, bass continue to chase schools of shad on most north and central Louisiana reservoirs, with outstanding catches taking place on Toledo Bend. Crappie fishing has also been hot, with most fish holding by deep piers or timber adjacent to deeper water. Heavily-weighted flies (1/64 ounce) tied on 9-foot leaders are taking fish in 6-8 feet of water in reservoirs, while fluff butts 3-4 feet under a strike indicator are working in shallow lakes and along grassy canal banks. Chain pickeral are getting active, hitting orange/red Seaducers worked on the edge of hydrilla mats. Fishing for "grass pike" should improve once the water temps drop below 80 degrees.
Monday, October 10, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be Glen 'Catch' Cormier who will talk about new products for 2017. The public is welcome. Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Community Center in Natchitoches. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Bring your vise, we'll be tying flies. Materials will be provided. Beginners are welcome! On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their quarterly meeting at Don's Seafood in Hammond. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be Captain Eric Muhoberac, expert on fishing the Venice area. Also, discussion on the upcoming Fall-n-Tide tournament on October 29th out of Cypress Cove in Venice. On Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop on 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the Bayou Pirates kayak fishing club holds their monthly meeting at Harbuck Outdoors on 1914 East 70th street in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Starting Friday, with the Captains meeting, it's the "Kayak Bass Fishing Open Series" at Toledo Bend. For more info, go to www.kayakbassfishing.com. On Saturday, it's the annual "Wild Things" sponsored by the Friends of Louisiana Refuges at Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge on Highway 434 in Lacombe. Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is free. Wild Things is a celebration of wildlife refuges featuring speakers, wild animals, wildlife-related crafts, live entertainment and more. Once again, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will be conducting fly tying demos. Monies raised from food and drink sales help to pay for refuge programs.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome! On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Guests are welcome. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Southern Fly Fishing Fair (conclave) at Vada Sheid Convention Center on the campus of Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. The Mid-South's premiere fly fishing and fly tying show will also feature seminars, workshops, fly fishing film festival, youth activities and more. For more details, go to www.ifffsoc.org. Also starting Friday and continuing Sunday, it's the "Kayak Fishing Boondoggle" at Fountainebleu State Park in Mandeville. Admission is free. Camping, workshops and Saturday night dinner are extra. A "boondoggle" is the kayak fishing version of a fly fishing "conclave". It's the largest non-tournament kayak fishing event held each year, featuring exhibitors, seminars, workshops, cooking, raffles, and more. For more info, go to www.yakangler.com/boondoggle. On Saturday, it's the 4th annual "Fish the Bayou" tournament out of Larose. The Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their "Fish the Bayou" tournament in conjunction with this event. Entry fee is $25. FTB benefits the Dusty Richardel Memorial Foundation providing scholarships to high school seniors aiming to technical/vocational schools. For LKFC participants, heaviest combination of 3 slot reds and 2 speckled trout wins. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.
October is here and that means... the start of the best 60 days of marsh fishing in Louisiana. Cool fronts have begun to lower those high tides of late summer and along with a decrease in the organics due to cooler water temps, will make for excellent sightcasting opportunities for redfish now through winter. Speckled trout are on the migration inside and already we're getting some great inside reports on the kayak forums. In freshwater, bream activity has decreased as bedding season is over. But crappie action has really picked up the last two weeks, and with water temps in the 70s, expect the grass pike (aka, chain pickeral) to get very active any day now. Reports are that bass are busting shad on most north and central Louisiana reservoirs, I've witnessed this the past week. This schooling action will migrate more to coves and backwaters as the month progresses. Topwater action should be good for bass, speckled trout and redfish, so have those poppers ready! For coldwater trout enthusiasts, stockings on the Little Missouri and Broken Bow tailwaters resume this month. And for most southern tailwaters, like the Sispey River near Jasper, Alabama, cooler weather typically equates to less generation and more available fishing time.
BASS changes maximum rod length for tournaments. Last week, the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) announced that competitors in their tournaments will be allowed to use rods up to 10 feet long. The previous maximum length restriction was 8 feet. Why is this important? Several fly rod manufacturers have "bass rods" of 7-feet, 11-inches, or even 8-feet long, and market these as legal for bass tournaments. The irony is that use of fly rods has never been allowed in BASS tournaments, nor has any of the competitors used fly rods in a sanctioned tournament. However, I doubt this rule change will make any difference in the popularity of short "higher weight" (7 thru 10) fly rods. As I've written on a few occasions in my "Fly Lines" column in Louisiana Sportsman, there are numerous advantages of these fly rods, such as casting wind-resistant bugs and streamers in tight quarters with accuracy and for general purpose freshwater kayak fishing.
The October issue of Louisiana Sportsman is now available at outdoors stores, newstands and convenience stores. In this issue, my Fly Lines column is about "The Creature of the Marsh Lagoon". Sounds spooky, right? Yeah, sometimes those Redzillas in shallow water can be! As the column points out, now is the ideal time to chase reds in the marsh. I point out a few casting tips and some fly selections to bring creatures to your boat or kayak. In his "Paddles 'N Puddles" column, Chris Holmes talks about fishing for snapper from a kayak. Yes, you can paddle out to red snapper waters just off the coast of eastern Alabama and northwest Florida. Chris tells where to look and necessary tackle. In his "Creature Feature", Jerald Horst tells all about the Speckled Hind, a reef species that is currently being overfished. In feature articles, Rusty Tardo talks about backup plans for fishing the Lafitte area when cold fronts come barreling through; Jerald Horst tells about areas of Vermillion Bay where redfish anglers can find lots of fish with little pressure; David Brown writes about use of jerkbaits when targeting bass following baitfish migration patterns. Plus many articles on hunting, tide tables, solunar tables, and news features.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting. Location TBA as this will likely be an on-the-water session. For more info, check their Facebook page or go to www.finaddictflyfishers.blogspot.com. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Rapides Westside Library on 5416 Provine in Alexandria. Meeting time for this month will be 6:00pm. This is the club's annual fall casting session. Bring your outfit, casting will be on the lawn next door. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Orvis store in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. A pair of flies for Concordia and other warmwater locations will be featured. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. Also on Monday, Pack and Paddle will hold their weekly "One Beer Casting" casual fly casting session. Meet at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette at 6;00pm. PnP will provide the beer. This is a free event. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel, 7840 Lakeshore Drive (across the parking lot from Blue Crab Restaurant). Time is 7:00pm. This month's program will focus on this Saturday's Rio Rodeo and topics on fly fishing this species. The public is welcome. Also on Thursday, the NorthshoreFishingReport.com website will hold their annual "Fall Fishing Seminar" at T-Rivers Bar in Madisonville. Time is 6:00pm. Guest speakers include Captains Mike Gallo, Brooks Levy, Andy Jones, Noel Brumfield and fly fishing specialist John Zeringue. Also, a live band, prizes and chartered trips and other raffle items. For more info, go to www.northshorefishingreport.com. Starting Friday, and continuing Sunday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual "Fall Concordia Weekend" fly fishing for bass, bream and other warmwater species, culminating with the Saturday night fish fry. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, it's the 8th annual Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Ship to Shore in Lake Charles will hold a "Kayak Demo Day" at Lake Prien Park. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. This will be their last demo day of the year, with several demo boats on sale for end of model year. Weather permitting, so check with StS at 337-474-0730. On Sunday, The Backpacker - Lafayette store will hold a free Paddle Demo Day at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 9:00am to 1:00pm. Models include Hobie, Wilderness, KC Kayak, Perception, Yolo and more. Some models will be on sale. Weather permitting, call 337-406-8754 to confirm. Also on Sunday, Pack and Paddle will host a "Hobie First Class" fishing trip. Price is $99 per person. Pre-registration is required. Price includes use of Hobie brand kayak, paddle, PFD, anchor system, basic instruction. Semi-guided trip to an area saltwater spot. Limited seats still available. Go to www.packpaddle.com for more details or to register.
This Saturday is the Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo. Hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers club, this event - now celebrating it's 8th year - has become the largest fly tournament on the northern Gulf Coast. Time is 8:00am to 12 noon (weigh-in). Registration will begin at 7:30am, with coffee and donuts available. Also maps of the fishing area. At the weigh-in, there'll be lunch and drinks provided. Prizes include a fly rod combo. This year, the tournament is open to all fly fishers (not just members of recognized clubs). Entry fee is $10 which will go to the Second Harvesters Food Bank to help victims of the flood. There's only one category, and that's heaviest Rio Grande Perch. The rio is America's only native cichlid, common to south Texas but considered an "invasive" to Louisiana. It's introduction to the waters of New Orleans, Jefferson and a few other south Louisiana parishes the result of "aquarium dumping". The rio is now well established in the waters around New Orleans City Park, where fly fishers have discovered it to be an ideal species for ultralight pursuit. Rios LOVE flies, but they're also very wary. Many over a pound - some up to 1 1/2 pounds - have been taken in City Park. But several have witnessed potential world record rios in Bayou St. John (the world record is 2.02 pounds taken from Lake Dunlap in Texas). The RGFF Rodeo record is 1.58 pounds. A number of folks on Facebook believe that this year will see a new rodeo record. For more info about this event, check out the EVENTS section in the LFF Forum.
Finally, cooler weather on the way! It's been unusually hot for late September. At yesterday's Cenla Hunting and Fishing Day celebration in Woodworth, it was the hottest I can ever recall for a NHF Day event. The high reached 93 degrees, the low yesterday morning was 72 degrees. The average high and low for yesterday was 86 and 63, so that's well above normal. Darn that Global Warming!! But the good news is that a major cool front will invade the state tomorrow, bringing highs in the Alexandria area in the mid 80s and lows in the upper 50s thru all of the week! The front will bring relief from heat and humidity to the southeastern parishes as well. Just as important to human comfort will be the impact on fishing. Thanks to radiative cooling, we've seen water temperatures on the decline despite the hot air temperatures. Most of the area lakes were at 82 to 84 degrees on Friday. This front should drop them below the magical 80 degree mark - what crappie love! On the coast, the northerly winds should push high water out of the marsh, send the trout inside and those pesky nuisiance summer species (ladyfish and catfish) on their way to their winter offshore home. Last week's trip to Calcasieu was tough, and yesterday's Cajun Castaway kayak tournament proved it wasn't a fluke on my part - many outstanding kayak anglers had a tough day. But what we're all hoping for is that this front brings the start of what should be awesome fall marsh fishing - and freshwater too!
Friday, September 23, 2016
Is it time to modify speckled trout regs? Back in August, I posted that the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources was considering tightening their regulations on speckled trout. This was after survey studies showed that recruitment of spawning age fish (SPR) was at 10 percent, considerably below their conservation goal of 20 percent. The options that MDMR were considering were reducing the daily limit from 15 trout to 12 trout, with a 13-inch minimum size limit. Last week, LDWF released an updated assessment report on speckled trout and it appears that Louisiana may be suffering from the same dilemna. Anecdotal evidence suggests that speck fishing isn't as good as it was a decade ago. Consider this: prior to 2005, recreational and commercial catches rarely exceeded 9 million pounds (only 3 times in 25 years). Since 2005, it's exceeded 9 million pounds every year except one, averaging just over 11 million pounds. That would seem to indicate that speck fishing is better than ever. What has to be factored in is the numbers of fishermen. Coincidently, the last decade has seen an explosion in the number of kayak anglers - and consequently, numbers of saltwater anglers. Add to that the loss of estuary over the last decade and you can see where this is going. And it's not good. Last week, Todd Masson of Nola.com addressed this issue once again, pointing out that since 2007 when Texas adjusted their limits they've seen a consistent improvement in their trout fishing. Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists have confirmed this, with SPRs above 19 across the coast. At the Gulf Coast Fly Fair, I spoke to my old friend Maumus Claverie, Jr., who once headed CCA Louisiana's Science Committee. T-Mau believes that we need some adjustment in our trout regs on the southeast coast (Southwest Louisiana already made a reduction from 25 to 15 based on public demand). What might work is a new statewide limit of 15-fish with a 13-inch minimum size limit. At 13 inches, nearly 70 percent of all female trout have spawned multiple times. Almost all of the anglers I've spoken with - including guides and kayak anglers - favor a 15-fish daily limit. For the last decade, I've had my own "Cormier limit" of keeping only 15 trout per trip. Most of those trips the average size is about 14 inches, and trust me, that makes for a heavy bag of filets! But I understand some folks like to make "meat trips" and want to "stock the freezer", so there's going to be resistance to any changes.
The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians will be re-opening tomorrow at it's new home in Bryson City, North Carolina. The celebration will include the Hall of Fame Luncheon and Induction. This year's inductees include Jim Casada (Communications), Walter Cary (Crafts), Wanda Taylor (Recreation) and Phil Bracewell (Conservation). The Museum is also coordinating a "Hooks and Hackle" event on November 4th and 5th that will mirror the popular "Fly Tiers Weekend" which had to be cancelled this year. The Hooks and Hackle will be held at the Birdtown Complex between Bryson City and Cherokee, and will feature fly tyers from across the Southeast and elsewhere. Admission is free, but donations for the museum will be welcome. A "BBQ and Bluegrass" will take place Saturday night, tickets are available for that event in advance and at the door. For more info, go to www.flyfishingmuseum.org.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Americans finished in the top five in this past week's FIPS-Mouche World Fly Fishing Championships held near Wolcott, Colorado. As a team, Spain finished first, France 2nd and USA 3rd. Julian Daguillanes of France took 1st place in Individual honors, followed by Jordi Cortina of Spain in 2nd, Lance Egan of USA in 3rd and Pat Weiss in 4th. During the 3-day competition, Daguillanes caught 86 trout, Cortina caught 70 and Egan caught 60. The fish were also measured for length and each competitor received points based on both the number of fish caught and length of the fish. It should be noted that Team USA is coached by George Daniels, who will be the featured speaker at next year's North Louisiana Fly Fishers' annual "Master Series" in July.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Where's the cooler weather? Let's face it, it never gets very cool in September. But by now we've usually seen a few days of highs in the upper 80s, lows in the upper 60s, and much lower humidity. Here in the Cenla area, we've had just 2 days of those conditions. It's also been wetter than normal for the month so far. Checking this morning's forecast for various cities across the state, it appears a dry pattern is developing but no relief for temperatures in the next week. Many locations will have highs almost 5 degrees above normal. I'm like most of you - waiting impatiently for that first big cool front!
Two down, one to go. This year, each of the five southern regional councils of the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF or FFF) - Southern, Southeastern, Texas, Florida, Gulf Coast - had scheduled their conclaves for this fall. Conclaves, aka "fairs", "expos", "festivals", etc., are open-public events featuring seminars, fly tying demos, casting instruction, exhibitors, and more. They're also the primary annual fundraiser for each council, helping to fund conservation projects as well as supported charities like Casting for The Cure, Reel Recovery, Project Healing Waters and more. The Southeastern Council no longer has their own event, rather co-hosting with Little River Outfitters in Tennessee the annual "Fly Tiers Weekend" the first weekend of November. It's a great low-key event with a really good turnout. Unfortunately, it's been cancelled for this year due to unforeseen circumstances (expected to be back again in 2017). The Florida Council typically holds their conclave late October or early November. This year, the dates are November 4th and 5th, and will again be held at The Plantation on Crystal River. Unlike the SEC event, it's a very structured event with several big names. But it too has a strong turnout. At one time, southeast Louisiana and Florida were both part of the Southeastern Council and Louisiana has strong representation at events in Florida and Tennessee. Other than myself and one other tier, we've been the only Bayou State residents at the "new" Southeastern conclave. I'm not sure how many have been at the Florida expo, but it's very few if any. That leaves only the Texas, Gulf Coast and Southern conclaves as being of strong interest to Louisiana fly anglers, so those are the ones we promote here on LFF. Now that Gulf Coast and Texas are over, that leaves the Southern Fly Fishing Fair left on the calendar. It's coming up October 7th and 8th in Mountain Home, Arkansas, but at a new venue - the new Vada Shield Convention Center on the campus of Arkansas State University Mountain Home. At lot of folks I've spoken to are excited about the new venue.
My feedback on the Texas and Gulf Coast conclaves. I've gotten several inquiries about these two events. Comparing the two would be like comparing apples and oranges. The Texas Fly Fishing Expo was a very structured event, with many activities, lots of exhibitors and vendors, numerous workshops, and top quality headliners. The Gulf Coast Fly Fair was much more casual, no headliners and only three vendors, but with a large number of fly tiers and better food (the awards dinner featured catfish courtboullion from the "Bayou Chefs"). And best of all, it was free admission and the casting instruction was free. I thoroughly enjoyed both conclaves! At both, I got to see tiers who I'd never known about but whose patterns and skills were very impressive - particularly Matt Bennett at Texas and Ed Lash at GCC. But in the end, conclaves serve four primary purposes: bringing fly fishers together, introducing new folks to fly fishing, educating all levels of anglers, and raising money for causes. I think both events did very well on meeting the first two goals; attendance was very good for both. The Texas event had about 3-4 times as many attendees but that's expected from a council with a vastly larger population. As for the 3rd goal, again a success. As for the 4th goal, Texas had a large number of high quality auction items and made a lot of money, but they also spent a lot of money on their event. GCC didn't make very much money, but they also spent very little. So in both cases, it was not an ideal situation but any positive net income is always good. Now, if I could offer "constructive criticism" to both... Texas: with all the outstanding tiers they have, I expected a lot more flies in their raffle. I realize not all tiers will submit donations, but there was a very low proportion. I also would suggest looking at ways to reduce costs as this conclave has the potential to fund a LOT of their projects based on revenue. I'd also suggest returning to Grapevine if possible, it was a great location. Gulf Coast needs to recognize donations (who and what), recognize any vendors, solicit for better auction items, and get a new auction person. On the positive side, keeping admission free seems to get a lot more walk-in traffic.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
What's happening this week. A busy one, culminating with one of the largest outdoors events held in Louisiana. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. This month, Dan Fromme will lead attendees in tying the Slow Sinking Spider created by Stephen Robert of Houma. Guests are welcome. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Monday, Pack and Paddle will hold their "One Beer Fly Casting". Meet at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette at 6:00pm. There is no cost. This is just an informal group of folks interested in practicing their fly casting. PnP supplies the beer! Also on Monday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a public meeting on Lake Bistineau at the LDWF Region 1 Office on 9961 Highway 80 in Minden. Time is 6:30pm. The meeting will give an update on current status of the lake and field questions about Bistineau management. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, 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 E Pinhook Road in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: this Saturday's upcoming "Cajun Castaway" tournament in Lake Charles. The public is invited. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the Reel Paddling Film Festival comes to Ruston. Location is the Louisiana Tech University Planetarium on 305 Mayfield Avenue. Time is 6:00pm. Tickets are free. Hosted by Louisiana Delta Adventures, the 11th Reel Paddling Film Festival consists of short films in 10 categories, selected among hundreds by judges, and celebrating the world of paddle sports. For more info, go to www.reelpaddlingfilmfestival.com. On Saturday, it's Louisiana's National Hunting and Fishing Day. More on that later. Also on Saturday, it's the 8th annual Cajun Castaway kayak fishing tournament out of Lake Charles. Hosted by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club, this event is open to the public. Entry fee is $25, and can be paid online via their website. Artificial lures only. The single category is Cajun Slam (combination of one each of slot red, speckled trout and flounder 12 inches or longer). There's an optional $5 calcutta for flounder. Boundaries are Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes, public access only. Weigh in will be at Calcasieu Point Landing. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.
This Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Established in 1972, NHF Day recognizes the contributions of America's hunters, anglers, and other outdoors enthusiasts and is celebrated on the last Saturday of September each year. Here in Louisiana, NHF Day is celebrated annually at four venues - Bodcau, Monroe, Baton Rouge, Woodworth - with close to 15,000 attendees. Making it one of the largest outdoors event in the state, rivaled only by the Louisiana Sportsmens Show held each March. This year, the Baton Rouge venue has been cancelled due to impacts from the August Flood. The Waddill facility was damaged, but in addition, many of the usual volunteers are having to deal with damaged homes, either theirs or loved ones. The good news is that the other venues are good to go. Each venue has a long list of activities and exhibitors, and the Bodcau and Woodworth venues will feature fly fishing, casting and tying thanks to the North Louisiana Fly Fishers and Kistachie Fly Fishers. Admission to each venue is free for all ages. Time is 9:00am to 2:00pm. For more details, check out the post in our Events Forum or go to www.wlf.louisiana.gov.
Green Trout Fly Shop is closing its doors. Earlier today, I received an email from Larry Offner that GTFS is having an "Everything in the store... 35 percent off" sale starting this Tuesday, September 20th. And that it "ends with store closing September 29th". This is sad news, indeed! But there may be a silver lining, or two... more on that later. Founded in 2009 by warmwater expert and enthusiast Larry Offner of Denham Springs, GTFS has always been "the little fly shop that could". From it's days as rented space inside an antique mall in downtown Denham Springs, the business grew despite heavy competition from local giant retailers Orvis, Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas. One reason was outstanding customer service, another was the fact that warmwater fanatics - both local and across the country - found the equipment, flies, and tying materials needed for pursuit of bass, bream, crappie, smallmouth, and other species. GTFS was also highly visible as a vendor at all of the regional club conclaves. A few years ago, Larry moved GTFS to it's current location at 3753 Perkins Road in Baton Rouge, adjacent to his daughter's business, Cupcake Allie. Many a flyfisher - including myself - came to Baton Rouge and stopped at Green Trout for fly fishing stuff and a cupcake and coffee. Okay, maybe a few cupcakes! The problem is that the cupcake business has been a booming success, perhaps TOO booming and relocation was going to be necessary. Add to that the residual problems post-flood, and it's going to be very difficult for small businesses to find retail space in the greater BR area. Now all this sounds like the epitath for Green Trout Fly Shop, but perhaps it's not. Larry did mention that "online sales in the near future". There's also a possibility of someone purchasing the business. Whatever happens, it simply won't be the same without visiting "Uncle Larry's store".
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Congratulations to Kyle Moppert and Fred Hannie! At last months' International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) National Fly Fishing Fair in Livingston, Montana, Kyle was awarded the "Federator of the Year" award, which goes to that individual or director who has demonstrated unusual devotion to the IFFF, and through outstanding contributions has benefitted the organization. Kyle - bowfin47 on our forum - is a resident of Baton Rouge and current president of the IFFF Gulf Coast Council. He previously served on the FFF Board of Directors and the FFF Southeastern Council board. Fred, from Lake Charles and another member of our forum, was awarded the Charles E. Brooks Memorial Award. This award is named in honor of Brooks, who had a deep affection of the outdoors and was very active in teaching the sport to others. Fred has shared his love of realistic fly tying with the public through numerous events, classes and donations.
LDWF will hold a public meeting on Lake Bistineau next Monday at the LDWF Region 1 Office on 9961 Highway 80 in Minden. Time is 6:30pm. The meeting will include an update on the current status of the lake. Members of the Inland Fisheries Staff will also field questions on management of the lake and giant salvinia. Everyone interested in the lake is encouraged to attend. Space is limited to 100 individuals, so please keep this in mind when making plans to attend.
Fishing industry growth expected to continue. The sportfishing industry has been on a rise the last several years and now Technavio, a global research firm, says that growth will continue steady for the next four years - thanks to the popularity of kayak fishing. One reason that kayak fishing continues to grow is that it's a low cost alternative to motorized craft - from purchase price to fuel to insurance and more. Further, it appeals to a very broad base of the public that enjoys the many aspects kayak fishing offers, from health benefits to stealth to the comradery among the puddling community. Clubs and tournaments have a vastly greater appeal that those of motorized clubs and events. Last year, more than 38 million kayak fishing trips were recorded in the USA, or 4.4% of the total trips. Technavio analysts forecast the sports gear market to grow at 3 percent over the next four years. They cite one of the benefits being the development of more access for kayak anglers (we certainly would love to see that!).
Sunday, September 11, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Church Center on Old Highway 1 in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Howard Malpass of Gray Wolf Fly Shop in Shreveport. Guests are welcome! Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. This is their first meeting since The Great Flood, so discussion will be on members experiences with flooding. Also on the agenda: flies for fall bream, with emphasis on the upcoming outing to Lake Concordia. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. Also on Monday, Pack and Paddle on 601 Pinhook in Lafayette will hold their "One Beer Fly Casting" session, weather permitting. Time is 6:00pm. This is casual fly casting, beer provided by PnP. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on Sunflower Road in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. This month Tom Bullock will discuss George Daniels' new book, "Strip Set: Fly Fishing Techniques, Tactics and Patterns For Streamers". Daniels will be guest speaker for the NLFF club's Master Series next July. Prior to the meeting starting at 6:00pm, Tom will demo tie Euro nymphs and large streamers. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers will meet at Red Alert Lures on 6403 Shreveport Highway in Tioga. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: fishing reports, club business, and suggestions for fall club tournaments. For more info, go to www.cenlakayakanglers.com. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop on Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none a few sets are available for use during the session. Beginners are welcome. For more info, go to www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. Friday kicks off the first day of the annual Gulf Coast Fly Fair in Ocean Springs, hosted by the IFFF Gulf Coast Council. More on that later. On Saturday, Pack and Paddle in Lafayette will hold their annual "Garage Sale" at their store on 601 East Pinhook. The sale kicks off at 8:00am and lasts until noon. Although all types of outdoor gear is for sale, this event always has several used canoes and kayaks at great prices. Those wishing to sell their boats should bring them to PnP between Monday and Friday. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.
The Gulf Coast Fly Fair returns to Ocean Springs this Friday and Saturday. The largest fly fishing event on the northern Gulf Coast will again be held at the Ocean Springs Civic Center, adjacent to some of the best marsh fishing in Mississippi. Hosted by the International Federation of Fly Fair (IFFF) Gulf Coast Council, their conclave features seminars, fly tying demos, casting clinics and workshops, tying workshops, auctions and raffles, an awards banquet and more. Things kick off Friday with an open casting clinic, examination review for potential Certified Casting Instructors (CCI), a special presentation by Steve Oliver on "Managing Your Club Using A New Excel Program", followed by the Awards Banquet. The Awards Banquet will feature a casual buffet and live auction. Saturday offers casting workshops, tying workshops, seminars, and fly tying demos by some of the top tiers from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, western Florida and beyond. There are activities for beginners and youth. The best part of the Gulf Coast Fly Fair is that admission is FREE! And workshops are FREE also. While free, some of the workshops have limited attendance, so pre-registration is necessary to reserve a spot. If you haven't already reserved a workshop, I suggest you do so now. There will be onsite registation as well for those workshops that are not full. The fundraising activities support research programs and Boy Scout activities. It's always a great time at these events, but I most enjoy exploring some of the many opportunities we have for fishing across the northern Gulf Coast from others, or learning about the flies they use. For more info, go to www.gulfcoastifff.blogspot.com.
LDWF has delayed the drawdown for False River. Acting in conjunction with the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury, Wildlife and Fisheries rescheduled the start of the drawdown from September 6th to this Tuesday, September 13th. This was a precautionary measure to prevent any compound effects from flood events back in August. Some downstream areas are just now seeing water levels back to normal. The drawdown itself will have no adverse effects, as only 1.5 inches per day will be released. When the lake reaches 6 feet below pool stage, the gates will be closed. The slow dewatering is to prevent shoreline erosion and seawall collapse. The drawdown will cease on January 15th. It's hoped that exposing shallow areas to air and sun will allow decomposition of organics and harden soft sediments, giving fish better spawning areas.
Sunday, September 4, 2016
What's happening this week. Monday is Labor Day, and the last day of the CCA STAR tournament. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn in Lafayette. Casting prior to the meeting at 6:00pm, with meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the Orvis Baton Rouge store will host a "Fly Fishing Night" celebration honoring Captain Bailey Short to the Orvis Endorsed Guides. Time is 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Free pizza and refreshments, plus a presentation. No registration is required. Also on Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Abita Brew Pub on Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, it's the first day of the Texas Fly Fishing Expo. More on that later. Also on Thursday, the Bayou Pirates Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Harbuck Outdoors on 1914 East 70th in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will host a "Family Fishing Fest" at Ivan Lake Recreation Area near Cotton Valley. Time is 6:30am to 11:30am. Registration is free, and can be done online until Friday, or onsite starting at 6:30am. Divisions include Little Angler (8-under), Junior Angler (9-15) and Adult Angler (16+) with Categories for Boat and Bank. For more info, contact Danica Williams at 504-628-7282. Also on Saturday, the Save Louisiana Coalition will hold their annual "Battle for the Bayou" fundraiser at the Sigur Civic Center in Chalmette. Time is 6:00pm to 10:00pm. Tickets are $40. The event will feature Louisiana seafood, live music, silent auction and more. For more info, go to www.thesavelouisianacoalition.com. Also on Saturday, Backpacker of Lafayette will hold a free "Paddle Demo Day" at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models from Hobie, Wilderness Systems, Perception, KC Kayak, and more. Subject to weather, so call 337-406-8754 to confirm. On Sunday, the Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold a free Paddle Demo Day at Wampold Park on University Lake in Baton Rouge. Time is 12 noon to 4:00pm. Call 225-925-2667 to confirm if weather issues arise.
This week is the 2016 Texas Fly Fishing Expo. Hosted by the Texas Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF), the expo will be held at the Grapevine Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas (in the Dallas and Fort Worth area). This marks their 3rd annual conclave since becoming a new council in the IFFF, and their first one ever held in north Texas. The event kicks off Thursday with casting workshops at Oak Grove Park. Later that night there's a welcome dinner followed by a showing of the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4). On Friday, the "expo" part of the conclave kicks off at the Convention Center. There's the usual conclave stuff - seminars, fly tying demonstrations, casting demos, silent auction to raise money for council projects, youth activities, and also a Tying Theatre featuring one of the special guest tiers. On Saturday, there's a Womens Breakfast, a Youth Breakfast, a Kayak Demo Day at Oak Grove Park, and that evening, the Awards Dinner featuring a kayak raffle and live auction. One of the reasons that there's a lot of buzz about this event are the headliners... they include Dunn Magazine editor and fly fishing personality Jen Ripple (pictured), commercial fly tier and deer hair phenom Pat Cohen, Montana guide and creator of the articulated patterns Kelly Galloup, Classic Salmon guru Kyle Hand, fly casting expert Molly Semelik and several others. The seminars span a wide range of fly fishing interests, from urban fishing to fishing Colorado to the history of women in fly fishing to fiberglass rods. Pre-registration is available online at www.txflyfishexpo.com or onsite. Admission is $10 per day for IFFF members, $12 for non-members with extra cost for some activities such as some workshops, the Awards Banquet, and the IF4 Film Festival.
Voters in Calcasieu, Cameron and Vermillion Parishes will be asked to vote for a property tax increase to help pay for part of a coastal restoration and protection projects in southwest Louisiana, according to Executive Director of the Chenier Plain Authority. Last week, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) met in Lake Charles to discuss some of these projects in Cameron Parish - shoreline protection in Grand Lake, marsh creation in Oyster Bayou and Grand Bayou and others. Meanwhile, a study by the Corps of Engineers calls for $3.3 billion in projects to restore or protect 15,000 acres of marshland. Those projects would be funded by Congress.
A new book by John Gierach is due out for April, 2017. For LFF readers not familiar with author John Gierach, or his countless works, then the best description I can offer is that of the Wall Street Journal which calls him "the voice of the common angler... with a sharp sense of humor and keen eye for observation to the fly fishing life, or for that matter, life in general.". Some of his previous titles include favorites like "All Fishermen Are Liars", "Sex, Death and Fly Fishing" and "Where the Trout Are As Long As Your Leg". His newest book will be available this coming April. Entitled "A Fly Rod of Your Own", the description I got on it was as follows, "Gierach... scrutinizes the art of fly fishing. He travels to remote fishing locations where the airport is not much bigger than a garage.". More of the description includes "all but impassable roads" and destinations from Alaska to Rockies to Canadian Maritimes. This sounds like a book about the quirks of getting to those spots where fish seldom enounter humans. But the description also added that Gierach "explains why the most conscientious fishermen always seem to accumulate more rods and flies" than they'll ever use. I may have to read this book and find out why I do those things!