Louisiana Fly Fishing

It's bassin' time! While many reports of spawning activity have been reported, most bass are just beginning their mating ritual. The next six weeks will provide fly anglers with a stern test - bedding bass are often the most difficult to entice a strike. Lots of patience is needed - as well as the right fly. Consider that the best conventional lures are the ones that imitate a threat to the nest, such as lizards, frogs, crawfish, etc. Fly anglers might use woolybuggers, leech flies, crawfish patterns. Use long leaders and cast just slightly past the next, then strip slowly with pauses. The "strike" will be light, so flies tied on sharp hooks are a must.


Fly Of The Month

Bass Bully. This fly is the creation of Terry Wilson of Bolivar, Missouri. Terry and his wife Roxanne are hardcore warmwater anglers and outdoor writers who have authored several books on warmwater fly fishing. In recent years, this fly has proven to be one of the best submergent flies for both largemouth and smallmouth. The Bass Bully is sold by Orvis, but fly tiers with intermediate skills can tie this fly. Materials include TMC 8089 or similiar hook, Zonker Strip for the tail, Estaz for the body, Silli-Legs or Crazy Legs for the legs, lead barbell eyes, and sculpin wool for the head. Best colors are olive and rust, but chartreuse or black are also popular. Video on Terry Wilson tying his Bass Bully can be found on Youtube (click here).


Featured Tackle

Diamondback Clout. Two years ago at the ICAST/IFTD trade show, one of the big surprises - at least for me - was the Diamondback booth. Nate Dablock had resurrected the once-famous brand of fly rods. But there was a caveat: shortly after Cortland bought the company, they closed down the Vermont factory and disbursed the mandrels and other equipment. Which means Dablock had to start from scratch with new models. In the highly competitive fly rod market, it would take something innovative to regain recognition. Enter the Diamondback Clout. What caught my attention - and that of everyone else - was the "Link Grip". It adds ergonomic functionality to a rod designed for the perfect blend of power and finesse. As one reviewer described, "A die-hard trout angler's dream rod". At the IFFF Southern Fly Fishing Fair (conclave) last October, the Diamondback booth received a lot of requests from participants anxious to cast this rod. Nearly all gave it high praise. As Nate says, "Cast the rod, not the cork". Implying that once you cast this rod, you'll love the rod - and the grip! MSRP is $425 and comes with a lifetime warranty.



 TIPPETS

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Time for the mid-week tidbits. Those bits of news that trickle in over the last week and are of interest to fly fishers and kayak anglers or others.

Tough choices for Louisiana fly anglers. Spring 2017 is turning out to be one of the best in many years for marsh speckled trout. While most of the reports are conventional tackle, fly anglers are having success on topwater poppers and shrimp patterns under a VOSI. However, soon these trout will be heading to the bays and surf, so time is limited! Meanwhile, central and northeast Louisiana waters that were flooded and muddied by the big storm of two weeks ago have now cleared up. Fly anglers are having good success this week on popping bugs and jitterbees for bream, and poppers and Bass Bullies for bass. Seaducers are also catching bass as well as chain pickeral in grassy areas.

Fly Fishers International has an updated website. The organization formerly known as Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) has updated their site in conjunction with their name change. It's better organized and easier to navigate. If you're looking for videos on fly tying by Mike Verduin or other past tiers, check out the FFI fly tying page.

More evidence of the growth of fly fishing. Last week's 2017 Sports, Fitness and Leisure Activities Topline Report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) indicated that most Americans are diversifying their sports participation. Some of the beneficiaries of that trend are fitness sports, camping, hiking and fly fishing. In fact, fly fishing topped all fishing and hunting sports with an increase of 6.0 percent year-over-year. In conventional fishing, Freshwater was ahead 1.2 percent, while Saltwater was ahead 2.4 percent. Another interesting trend - Standup Paddle Boarding is up 23.3 percent over the last five years, and 6.6 percent over last year.

Sunday is the last day to early register for the upcoming Paddlepalooza XIV kayak fishing tournament taking place along Highway 1 corridor on April 29th. After Sunday, onsite registration is available at the tournament headquarters - Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. But there is an extra cost, and the possibility that tournament shirts may not be available.

The 2017 Hurricane Season is expected to be average with 12 named storms predicted. This forecast calls for less storms than last year, even though none impacted Louisiana. However, it was a tropical depression in August that resulted in one of the worst flood events in state history, rivaling that of Hurricane Katrina. Much of this forecast is dependent on the strength of an El Nino event. If it strengthens, then the forecasted number of storms would diminish.

Already the 2018 Calendar is getting busy. A number of regional fly fishing events for Spring 2018 have been announced, but most are long-standing traditional events such as the Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival, Sowbug Roundup and Louisiana Sportsman Show. One new show that will return is the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show the first weekend of February. Apparently it was a huge success and will remain part of The Fly Fishing Show tour. Most kayak fishing events are not announced until late in the year.

The ACA National Casting Championships set for July 27-30. The American Casting Association will hold their 109th event in San Jose, California. While the championships entail both conventional and fly casting, it's the fly casting results that often get the most attention. And rightfully so... some of the most impressive stories come from this competition. Among the events are Trout Fly Accuracy, Dry Fly Accuracy, Bass Bug Accuracy, Anglers Fly Distance, One-Hand Fly Distance, and Two-Hand Fly Distance. Expect two of the world's best casters - Steve Rajeff and Henry Mittel - to once again battle it out in Mens categories, while reigning Junior Champion Maxine McCormick could set new records once again.

Sunday, April 16, 2017
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. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. 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 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda are location of the month and fishing product spotlight. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA East Jefferson Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Landmark Hotel in Metairie. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall at 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. 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 North Louisiana Fly Fishers holds their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Also on Thursday, the CCA Northshore Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Castine Center in Mandeville. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. Starting Friday and continuing to Sunday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their annual "Spring Concordia Weekend" trip to Lake Concordia. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, Ship to Shore of Lake Charles will hold a "Kayak Demo Day" at the Prien Lake Park Launch off I-210. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models include Hobie, Nucanoe, Wilderness, KC Kayak, and more. Weather permitting, call 337-474-0730 for more info.

Orvis has scheduled several fly fishing classes for the month of May at their Baton Rouge store. These free classes are 1-day, 2-hour sessions. Registration is required in advance. The classes include Fly Fishing 101 on May 6, May 20, and May 27, and Fly Fishing 201 for May 13, May 20, and May 27. Again, check our LFF Calendar for times and more details on these classes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
The IFFF is now Fly Fishers International. The largest organization dedicated to the sport of fly fishing underwent a name change on April 1st. The International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF), which began in 1964 and for decades after was known as the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF), is now Fly Fishers International (FFI). The name change came after a marketing study in which "brand identification" was tagged as one of the issues in reaching out to the growing number of young fly casters. To put it simply, organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Coastal Conservation Association all have their primary focus (ducks, trout, coast) identified in the first words. For IFFF, that was in the 3rd and 4th words. While a name change is only a small part of the overall marketing effort, it's one that has made the most news - and favorably at that. A logo change also has been made. One of the two new logos is shown on left. Currently, if you click on their old website domain name, www.fedflyfishers.org, it will take you to www.flyfishersinternational.org. Also, a couple of councils and a few club websites have made the change from the IFFF name to the FFI name. Making name changes, changing websites, changing club leaflets, etc. isn't a minor task! I expect it'll be a few months - at least - before all IFFF references are modified to FFI.

Fly Rod and Reel is no more. I read on Dan Blanton's website that the popular magazine is now defunct, but I'm not completely certain after reading former editor Greg Thomas' blog. On March 26th, he posted that he'd been terminated by the owner of Down East Publications. Not because the owner or the board of directors was unhappy with Thomas' work, but because the fly fishing industry's support of the magazine was lacking. In this web-centric world we live in circa 2017, print media has taken a severe beating. But there continues to be strong exceptions (e.g., Louisiana Sportsman). I still believe that strong and diverse content can revive print media. As for FFR, I'll certainly miss the reviews and articles by the best anglers in our sport.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time for our mid-week updates. Several tidbits of news of interest to flyfishers and kayak fishers in a quick-hitting format.

Nominations will soon end for Best of Louisiana Outdoors. Started three years ago by the Louisiana Charter Boat Association in conjunction with outdoors radio personality Don Dubuc, BOLO recognizes the professionals, businesses, and others who make Louisiana outdoors great. Nominations and voting are open to the public. The nomination period ends this Friday, April 14th. Folks who make nominations are eligible for several great prizes, including fishing trips.

Of all the categories in Best of Louisiana the ones of most interest to LFF readers are the following: Best Guides (flyfishing and kayak fishing guides are eligible), Best Fishing Forum, Best Outdoor Writer (hey, I'm just mentioning this), Best Outdoor Photography, Best Louisiana-born lure (fly is eligible), Best Marina (my nominee is Eddie's Kayak Rentals), Best Kayak Tournament, Best Fishing Blog, and many more.

Congratulations to Josh Reppel. Josh won the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Redfish Rumble" out of St. Bernard Parish this past Saturday. One of BCKFC's smaller "Series Tournaments" - which are also open to the public - The Rumble had a strong turnout of almost a hundred puddlers. Nearly half of which didn't weigh in a single red! Josh weighed in 3 reds and 1 bass totaling 28.88 pounds, followed by Bill Crawford with 26.82 pounds and Shawn Rogers with 26.55 pounds. BTW, Josh won last year's BCKFC / Masseys Fish Pix Fly Rod Slam Division. But in this case he caught his fish on conventional tackle.

Of course, Paddlepalooza is next up for the Bayou Coast club. The state's 2nd largest kayak tournament, and 4th largest in the country, will be stationed at Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle the last weekend of this month. Online registration continues, as of this morning 101 had signed up. It's still early though, and typically 100 to 150 sign up in the last couple weeks.

Congrats to the Kisatchie Fly Fishers on a successful "Fly Fishing 101" this past Saturday. The Alexandria-based club held it's 3rd annual half-day event covering the basics of the sport including hands-on fly casting, hands-on knots and leaders, equipment, flies and fishing locations. With 18 participants, it was their largest FF101 turnout to date, edging out last year's class.

The Contraband Fly Fishing Expo scheduled for August 19th has had a change in location. The new location will be the VFW building (Post 7321) at 2668 Highway 1 in Lake Charles. This is north of Moss Bluff, and just south of the small community of Gillis.

Temple Fork Outfitters has a new logo (again). A few weeks back, TFO introduced a new logo that spelled out "Temple Fork Outfitters" with no imagery. Apparently it didn't get well received based on Facebook responses. Of course, Facebook alone shouldn't be the judge of a marketing logo, but it certainly is a barometer. I think one response that summed up my feelings as well was that the popularity of window stickers and most of them are small to medium size. The full text logo would've been somewhat large. TFO went back to the drawing board, and what you see is their latest effort. IMO, it's a much better logo. Based on early Facebook responses, they apparently have a winner.

Sabine Skiffs is coming to Orvis BR on June 3rd. Based out of Bayou Vista, Texas, Sabine Skiffs manufactures an aluminum flats skiff known as The Versatile. It's 17 1/2 feet in length, with a maximum 78 inch beam, and horsepower rating between 30 and 50. Designed by Brian Little, The Versatile looks much like it's fiberglass counterparts and supposedly has no hull slap. It boasts features like zero dead rise hull and walk-around gunnels. On June 3rd, the boat will make it's appearance at the Orvis store on Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge. Later that week, on June 6th, Sabine will be at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club where a "Demo Day" will take place.

John Geirach has a new book. "A Fly Rod of Your Own" is the latest from fly fishing's favorite author. Geirach, part humorist and part commentator, is a member of the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. In his latest book, he brings his usual sharp sense of humor to the fishing life and life in general. "A Fly Rod of Your Own" is available thru bookstores and online for $25.

Sunday, April 9, 2017
What's happening this week. It's Easter Week, so lots of folks will be on the water. Be safe! On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Visitors are welcome. Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Community Center off Old Highway 1 in Natchitoches. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be John Williams of Pack and Paddle in Lafayette who will talk about kayak fishing and rigging. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will host 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 update on current status of the lake, including efforts to control giant salvania. Everyone interested is encouraged to attend. On Wednesday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their quarterly meeting at The Backpacker on Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: presentation by Brendan Bayard and the upcoming Paddlepalooza on April 29th. The meeting is open to the public. On Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Old Towne Fly Shop on 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Beginners are welcome! Bring your tools, if none, sets are available for use during the session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Bring your tools, in none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" in the morning, and a "Fly Fishing 201" later in the day. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of our sport with emphasis on rigging and hands-on casting. FF201 is a one-day, 2-hour "on the water" clinic applying the basics of our sport to actual fishing situations. For more info, or to register for either or both, call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge will host a "Kayak Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on University Lake. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. New 2017 models from Hobie, Wilderness, KC Kayaks, Perception, YOLO and more. Sunday is Easter.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Another mid-week update in quick hitting format. But since we didn't do a Sunday report, let's begin with what's happening this week. It's not too late, as activities begin tonight.

The Acadiana Fly Rodders meet tonight at Grace Presbyterian Church in Lafayette. Casting starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. The public is invited.

One topic of discussion at the AFR meeting will be a recap of this past Saturday's conclave. It was a well-planned event, and the programs were terrific. But the attendance was below average. The club opted this year to move from their traditional last Saturday in February to April 1st. IMO, Lafayette in April has just way too many things to compete against. Judging from the list of local events and activities in the Times Magazine, it has to be the Events Capital of the World!

Other meetings this week. The Pontchartrain Basin meets Wednesday night at Abita Brew Pub on Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. On Thursday night, the CCA Monroe Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Monroe Civic Center. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction at 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth). Go to www.ccalouisiana.com for more info.

Cenla Fly Fishing 101 is this Saturday. Sponsored by the Kisatchie Fly Fishers, CFF101 is a one-day, 3-hour workshop covering the basics of fly fishing and fly casting, with more emphasis on casting than most FF101 courses. Location is the LDWF Booker-Fowler Fish Hatchery in Forest Hill. Onsite registration begins at 8:30am, with class starting at 9:00am sharp. For complete details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

The 3rd annual Lake Athens Fly Fishing Festival kicks off Friday at Lake Athens Marina in Athens, Texas. This event features exhibitors, fly tying, and on Saturday, a fishing tournament. The "festival" is free, the tournament has a $40 entry fee. All proceeds benefit Project Healing Waters. The event - organized by local fly fishing guide Johnny Martinez - is growing in popularity thanks to the lake's reputation for big bass on fly. For more info, go to www.johnnyonthefly.com.

For kayak anglers, a busy weekend. Saturday will be the Bayou Coast club's annual Redfish Rumble out of St. Bernard Parish. Registration is still open at www.bckfc.org. Meanwhile for those interested in getting into kayak fishing or upgrading their current boat, Backpacker of Lafayette will hold a free Kayak Demo Day at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Also on Saturday, Masseys of New Orleans will hold a free Kayak Demo at Bayou St. John near Cabrini Bridge. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm.

The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club quarterly meeting will be next Wednesday, March 12, at the Backpacker in Baton Rouge. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda will be their upcoming Paddlepalooza tournament on April 29th. This is the club's largest tournament of the year, and one of the top 5 tournaments in the country. This year, the activities location has changed from Leeville to Bridgeside Marina at Grand Isle to better serve the growing participation.

The Fin-Addict Fly Fishers have announced a date for their annual 2-Fly Bluegill Tournament. It's Saturday, April 29th. The location will again be at Lamar-Dixon in Gonzales, but the pond will be different. It'll be the smaller pond behind the last expo building. The contest is free and open to any member of an organized Louisiana fly fishing club. This is a really fun tournament and one I look forward to each year! Complete details - including rules - have been posted in our Events Forum.

Louisiana Sportsman reports that a 10-pound speck was caught on Friday - out of all places Pointe-aux-Chenes! The angler, Ted Samanie of Schreiver, is a longtime speckled trout veteran. PAC is not known for producing big trout, but this 29-inch behemoth fell for a green-sparkle soft plastic tightlined within sight of the boat ramp.

This monster trout means big specks are still in the marsh. In fact, trout fishing in the interior marshes remains good usually until about the middle of April. But already the migration to the lower bays and coast has begun. If you want to get into good marsh speck fishing, better do it real soon!

One place where speck fishing won't be good this weekend is the Calcasieu estuary. The upper Calcasieu (here in western Cenla) received up to 11 inches of rain on Sunday alone! The two creeks - East Calcasieu and West Calcasieu - join to form the single river near Hineston. As of yesterday, each branch was a small lake a half-mile wide! All this "chocolate milk" was rushing south in a fury!

Even in the normally clear freshwater lakes of central Louisiana, there's dirty water just about everywhere following Sunday's deluge. Cane River Lake is a 35-mile winding oxbow that is a bream fisherman's paradise in April. Unfortunately the heavy rain has forced closure of the two of the three launches. Leaving only the downtown launch - where the dirtiest water is found. Hopefully, no more rain and things will clear up soon!

Orvis has a promotion for a limited time. When you purchase a Helios 2, Recon, Superfine Glass or Superfine Carbon fly rod, you'll recieve a free fly line of your choice.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Time for those quick-hitting mid-week reports. A lot of small things we cover that are of interest to fly anglers, kayak anglers, or both.

First some breaking news. The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) has announced that in 2019 they will move the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show to Denver. Also, to increase industry participation, the show will move from July to mid-October. Currently IFTD is joined with ICAST, the world's largest fishing trades show. It's been held in Orlando in mid-July the last 3 years and will continue for this year and 2018. After 2018, the two organizations will again operate separate trade shows at different times and locations.

This announcement is somewhat disappointing. Although the majority of AFFTA members felt that IFTD should move back west, and be separate from ICAST, that doesn't change several facts. First, growth in fly fishing is taking place more rapidly along the mid-Atlantic and Southeast and Sun Belt areas. Second, for many dealers who carry mixed tackle, this means having to attend two shows. Even moreso for those who carry kayaks, where a third show (Outdoor Retailer) is in play. Third, having the show in October presents a change in the industry itself. What will happen when dealer orders for new year products are taken in September? It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Looking to buy a kayak or upgrade to a new one? April is the most prolific month for those ever-popular "demo days". As my friend Don Dubuc likes to say, "Always try before you buy!". Coming up next month, we have demos on April 8th (Backpacker, Youngsville and Masseys Outfitters, New Orleans), April 16th (Backpacker, Baton Rouge) and April 22nd (Ship to Shore, Lake Charles).

Harbuck Outdoor Sports in Shreveport may also be doing a demo next month or in May. At the Cane Country Fly Casters meeting earlier this month, Adam did a demo for the club. He mentioned that, with the addition of his new 8-yak trailer, he'll start doing more. Also, Harbuck Outdoors will soon be carrying the NuCanoe line of kayaks.

Registration has begun for Paddlepalooza XIV which will be held on April 29th. Palooza is the 2nd largest kayak tournament in Louisiana, and 4th largest in the country. While fishing boundary is still the Highway 1 Corridor, the "headquarters" has moved this year to Bridgeside Marina to better accomodate crowds and parking. Entry fee is $60 and includes tournament entry, Friday night dinner (Captains meeting), Saturday night fish fry, t-shirt, goodies bag, and a chance at hundreds of raffle prizes. In addition to the Cajun Slam and four species categories, there's also a Ladies Slam, Youth Slam, and new for this year, Seniors Slam (age 65 or older). For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.

Registration has begun for Lake Athens Fly Fishing Festival to be held April 8th and 9th at Lake Athens Marina in Athens, Texas. Originated by local fly fishing guide Johnny Martinez three years ago, this event is part conclave, part fishing tournament. Registration is only needed for the contest, and can be done in advance or on-site. Categories are Boat and Kayak. For more info, go to www.johnnyonthefly.com.

Registration has begun for 8th annual Bass On The Fly which will be held on May 6th. Location will be Lake Fork Marina on Lake Fork, Texas. This CPR tournament awards based on total length of 5-fish photos. Categories include Boat, Kayak/Bank, Club, and Big Bass. Entry fee is $60. There's also an optional Sunfish Tourney on Friday afternoon with entry fee of $10. Registration prior to April 16th will be eligible for a drawing for a Sage Bass II Fly Rod. For more info, go to www.bassonthefly.org.

Congratulations to Terry and Roxanne Wilson. The Missouri-based outdoor writers are well known to many Louisiana fly anglers, whether it's from their presentations at club events, or from regional conclaves, or as authors of several warmwater fly fishing books. Yesterday, Southern Unlimited of Montevallo, Alabama, publishers of various outdoors magazines, announced the couple as new co-editors of Southern Trout Ozark Edition Magazine. They will take over with the upcoming May issue. STOE is an offshoot of Southern Trout Magazine that focuses on fishing in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

Louisiana Boating Education "Lagniappe Day" will take place at nine locations across the state on April 22nd. Each location will have instructors for the boating education course, along with food and refreshements, door prizes, all for free. However, pre-registration is required. Sign up quickly as these classes fill up fast. Louisiana law requires anyone born after January 1, 1984 must complete an approved boating education course and carry proof of the completion in order to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower. For a list of class locations, go to www.wlf.la.gov.

For anyone visiting Florida this weekend it's "Freshwater Free Fishing Weekend" Saturday and Sunday. The requirement for having a fishing license is waived for all recreational anglers - residents and non-residents - for those fishing freshwater only. Another freshwater license-free weekend will take place on June 10-11. The saltwater license-free weekend takes place June 3-4.

A study on tarpon genetics has concluded with interesting results. The 2-year study was done by Bonefish and Tarpon Trust and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to determine how many distinct populations of Atlantic Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) existed. The answer is one! Fish from Virginia to Mexico to Brazil and even the African coast were found to share high levels of genetic flow, indicating interbreeding. What this means is that migrations and/or larvae dispersal takes place over great distances and that conservation measures need to be applied to all areas where tarpon are found.

Sunday, March 26, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting. For March, it's their annual "on the water" gathering at Cotile Lake with fishing followed by grilled burgers, dogs, chips, etc. at one of the pavilions. 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 on 7601 Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Sydney Dobson will be leading the group in tying the Carrot Nymph. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners and others are welcome! For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying clinic. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, there are sets available for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7840 Lakeshore Drive (across the parking lot from the Blue Crab Restaurant). Time is 7:00pm. The public is welcome. On Saturday, it's the 30th annual Acadiana Conclave. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will conduct both a "Fly Fishing 101" and a "Fly Fishing 201". Both are free of charge, but pre-registration is required. FF101 is a 1-day, 2-hour clinic designed to introduce basics of fly fishing and fly casting. Time is 8:00am. FF201 is a 1-day, 2-hour on-the-water clinic where casting and other skills are applied to actual fishing situation. Time is 12 noon. To register for either, call 225-757-7286.

This Saturday is the 30th annual Acadiana Conclave. Hosted by the Acadiana Fly Rodders of Lafayette, this festival is the oldest - and longest running - fly fishing event in the state of Louisiana. Once again it'll be held at the Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 8:30am to 3:00pm. As with all conclaves, it's a public event where families are invited, with seminars, fly tying demonstrations, casting clinics and coaching, and vendors. There's also raffle items and silent auction items that offset the costs of the event and that raise money for the club's charitable activities. Many of the raffle items are one-of-a-kind or difficult to find items, including donated fly boxes with flies never or seldom seen in fly shops. A couple popular speakers from past conclaves will be returning to help celebrate 30 years - Dr. Norm Crisp of Missouri and Lee Davidson from Idaho. In addition, Tom Bertuccini will do a presentation on "Western Fishing" and Jeff Ferguson will talk about "Finding Your Way Around Calcasieu Lake" which should be really popular. Tiers include Ray Boudreaux, Barry Dauphin, Beverly Vidrine, Lance Renoux, Ron Foreman, Kyle Moppert, Fred Hannie, Catch Cormier, and Bill Heugel. Other activities include a casting clinic on correcting errors by Keith Richard and Bob Tabbert, both master certified instructors. Doug Blair will also do a talk-through on Bamboo Rod Making. So as you can see, lots of activities and something for everyone! That evening, AFR will hold their annual banquet at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette and tickets are available for that event also. One more tidbit - this is the last regional "conclave" or other fly fishing show until September. So if you wanted to make one of these events this Spring, this is it! More details on the Acadiana Conclave - including scheduled times - can be found in the LFF Forum (Events Forum) or by going to their club website at www.acadianaflyrodders.com.

It's the final Day 3 at the Bassmaster Classic on Lake Conroe in southeast Texas. The "Super Bowl of Bass Fishing" is proving to be just as exciting as it's football counterpart with a dramatic switch in the leaderboard after yesterday. Later today at the weigh-in at the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, we'll find out if the two Louisiana anglers still in contention - Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part and Ryan Lavigne of Gonzales - can bring in some hefty fish to catapult them to their first championship. It'll take quite an effort... right now both are 12 pounds out of the lead. And even worse, ahead of them are some very seasoned competitors. Brent Ehrler of California and Dave Lefebre of Pennsylvania are in the top two spots, but lurking now in 7th place is Kevin Van Dam. NEVER, EVER count KVD out! And the first day leader, Mike Iaconnelli, had a tough day but is still in the top 10 and always has a strong close.

Speaking of tournaments, yesterday was the 70th annual New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival. Weather was a big factor, both in limiting attendance and in success on the water. In the Fly Fishing Divisions, Josh Macaluso caught the only bass and it weighed a whopping 0.1 pounds! Oddly, in the Cichlid Fly Fish Division, Josh Marcadal brought in a really nice Rio that weighed 1.32 pounds to win that division. In fact, it was the largest rio of any division caught. It wasn't just a tough day for fly anglers, many anglers had a difficult time finding fish or catching any of size. However, Tim Zissis brought in a 5.31-pounder to win the prestigous Adult Bass Division, followed closely by Mike Laviolette at 4.44 pounds.

There were also results from Boats on the Bayou. This is the kayak fishing tournament held in conjunction with the NOCP Rodeo. It took place on Bayou St. John which is brackish water and which contains a variety of freshwater and saltwater species. It was a very tough day for the puddlers as well, with few fish weighed in. Most of those were bass. Raye Christensen won the Bass Division with a very impressive 5.11 pounder. Followed closely by Joseph Rigsby with a 4.55 pound fish. The only saltwater fish entered was a 6.39 pound redfish taken by Micheal Misshore. Ty Hibbs won the Trashbash Division with a 0.36 pound perch(?).

Someone told me about a new fly fishing book out. But not what you might think - this is fictional and it's part of the "Murder She Wrote" mystery series of novels. Titled "Murder She Wrote: Hook, Line, and Murder", the storyline has our intrepid novelist/sleuth Jessica Fletcher entering a fly fishing competition at a lake near Cabot Cove. It's a nice day on the water but as always happens with Jessica, things go south in a hurry! I've never read the novels, but loved the TV shows (they are now in syndication on Hallmark Mystery Channel). It occured to me that on a per capita basis, Cabot Cove must be the Homicide Capital of America. It's a wonder there's anybody left! Regardless, if you can ignore the paradox of population dynamics in a small town, the book is available on Amazon for $10.43 (or $9.99 on Kindle).

News from IFTD. In mid-July, Orlando will again host ICAST, the world's largest fishing trades dealer show. Once again, the International Fly Tackle Dealers (IFTD) Show will be running concurrently and sharing the same facilities. Last week, IFTD announced they will again hold a Demo Day on Tuesday prior to the start of the main exhibition on Wednesday. At their inaugural Demo Day last year, the event garnered loads of interest from dealers and media, especially since there were LOTS of new fly rods set for introduction. Common sense dictates that this would be a down year, at least for rods. But we may see something with fly lines. Several companies are working on lines that are smaller in diameter per weight (denser) but still have high floatability. Such lines are more wind-resistant and would cast quite a bit farther than today's conventional lines.

Friday, March 24, 2017
We were saddened to learn yesterday of the passing of Billy Munn after a long battle with cancer. Munn was considered one of the best - if not THE best - deer hair spinners in modern fly tying. The Bridgeport, Texas resident was a longtime member of the Fort Worth Fly Fishers and a fixture at the FFF Southern Conclave, Sowbug Roundup, and several other events. In 1986, Munn was awarded the Federation of Fly Fishers' Buz Buszek Award, for lifetime achievement in fly tying. In 2006, he put out a 2-hour DVD tutorial "Tying Hairbugs with Billy Munn" that has become a cult video. Ed Jaworoski, one of the biggest names in fly fishing, commented on the video saying "During my 50 years in fly fishing, I've seen the work of the best tiers in the business. When it comes to working with deer hair and similiar materials, Billy Munn is the standard by which all other tiers are gauged.". My late friend Chris Helm, himself a master of deer hair and a Buszek Award winner, told me that most of what he had learned came from Billy Munn. The fly tying world owes a great debt to this gentle man, and hopefully we can repay by passing on his legacy.

The Bassmasters Classic kicks off today at Lake Conroe, with the weigh-in taking place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The last couple of years we've pretty much neglected this event and for good reasons. First, the event was outside our state and even our "regional readership". Second, there wasn't much interest in folks traveling that distance for the Bassmasters Expo, one of the largest fishing exhibitions in the country. And third, Louisiana had - at most - just one resident in the field. But this year it's different. For starters, Houston is where southwest Louisiana goes to play. I expect to see a lot of Cajuns at the Expo and weigh-in. And they'll have some favorites to cheer on... the 2017 Classic will feature three Louisiana anglers. Greg Hackney and Ryan Lavigne, both of Gonzales, will be joined by Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part. Hackney and Crochet have fished the Classic before; for Lavigne this is his first.

LDWF has partially reopened Waddill Refuge. This popular urban outdoors area was closed following The Great Flood of August, 2016 when most of the facility - including the education center - was damaged. The center remains closed while repairs continue; it was for this reason that the Red Stick Fly Fishers moved their annual "Red Stick Day" fly fishing festival to another location this year. The good news is that the ponds are back in shape and stocked and should have good fishing. Many BR area fly anglers fish Waddill and report excellent action on flies.

Another news report from LDWF was very sad indeed. On Monday, enforcement agents recovered the body of Phillip D. LeBlanc of Port Barre from the Pirates Cove area of Toledo Bend. This is an area I fish frequently, so the news hit home so to speak. A witness observed LeBlanc fishing from the front deck of his boat, and then moments later the boat was unmanned. When his body was recovered, he was NOT wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). What caused his death is unknown.

Registration for the summer-long CCA STAR tournament has begun. In fact, it's into week 3. Over the 12 weeks prior to kickoff on May 27, Early Bird winners are being drawn on a weekly basis for a variety of prizes. The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana has the largest and most popular saltwater tournament, in large part because it allows anglers to fish at their convenience. It also offers a large number of divisions for species and gender/age, as well as four Kayak Divisions and two Fly Fishing Divisions. Fly anglers and puddlers also have the opportunity to win in other divisions as well. Such was the case two years ago when Jonathon Craft captured one of the tagged redfish from his kayak. The first 10 tagged reds caught by STAR participants get prizes - first red gets a Chevy Silverado, the next 9 get a rigged-out boar. Chances for another kayak angler or even fly angler winning in 2017 took a big step when CCA announced, that for this year, they plan to double the number of tagged reds released from 50 to 100.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
The April issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine is now available in convenience stores and outdoor retailers. The big news this month is the transition of editor. In the "First Cast" column, retiring editor Andy Crawford recaps his 14 years as an LAS staffer, including five as editor, and tells of his future plans. In the "News Breaker" section, newly appointed editor David Hunter Jones introduces himself to readers. Here are a few other of this month's highlights: in my Fly Lines column, "In-Crease Your Odds" examines the popularity of the Crease Fly with both anglers and fish. Louisiana's "Crease Fly Ambassador" and LFF Forum member, Kevin "Musicdoc" Andry, shares his recipe for tying this fly and tactics for using it. In his Paddles N' Puddles column, Chris Holmes tells yakkers how to "Keep 'Em Honest" and prevent thieves from stealing your kayak and gear. In his "Creature Feature" column, Jerald Horst tells about the often-overlooked, but good eating Lookdown. In feature articles, Jerald Horst tells about good spring fishing for speckled trout at Bayou Lacombe; Dave Brown shares Toledo Bend guides secrets for big bass during spawning season; Kinny Haddox tells us about big bass opportunities in north Louisiana courtesy of Santus Mitchell, a Lincon Parish deputy and avid bass angler; Rusty Tardo shares guide secrets of fishing reds and specks around "The Castle" in Lake Borgne. Plus other articles, columns, tide charts, solunar tables, and fishing forecast.

Registration is now open for Paddlepalooza XIV to be held the weekend of April 29, with activities at Bridgeside Marina in Grand Isle. That's right, Grand Isle. After a dozen years in Leeville, Louisiana's 2nd largest kayak tournament - and the nation's 4th largest - had to move to a larger venue as participation has continued to grow to nearly 300. Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, fishing takes place along the Highway 1 corridor from Galliano to Grand Isle. It's a roadrunner tourney - puddlers can launch anywhere in the boundary. After 13 years of staging this event in Leeville, Palooza moves this year to Things kick off on Friday night with jambalaya dinner, Captains meeting, and other activities. Saturday is the fishing day. After the weigh-in, there's the fish fry (fish weighed in) and a huge raffle with proceeds going to one of the club's charities. As for prizes, contestants with the heaviest Cajun Slam (slot red, speckled trout, flounder) are awarded. There's also a Ladies Slam, and a Kid's Slam (free entry). New this year is the Senior Slam for ages 65 or older. Those in the Senior Division that are 70 years or older can also apply to use a trolling motor on their yak. Entry fee is $60 and includes entry, Friday and Saturday night dinners, door prizes and raffles.

Monday, March 20, 2017
What's happening this week. It's a busy one. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Catch Cormier will be demonstrating the "Kray Phish", a fly created by Fish Skull Pro Tyer Daniel Moss which features two of their new products, Cray Tails and Faux Bucktail, and is effective for largemouth and smallmouth. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. 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 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda are this weekend's "Marsh Madness" tournament, the CPR Challenge, and new kayak fishing products. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA Felicianas Chapter holds their annual banquet at the American Legion Hall in Clinton. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. Starting Thursday and continuing thru Saturday, it's the 20th annual Sowbug Roundup at Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Sowbug is the nation's largest "club conclave". Hosted by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, the event features more than 100 fly tiers, numerous vendors and exhibitors, and seminars and casting clinics. Admission is only $5 and includes all 3 days. For details, go to www.northarkansasflyfisher.org. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall at 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. 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 CCA Livingston Chapter holds their annual banquet at Forest Grove Plantation in Denham Springs. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth). For more info, call 225-296-0423. Also on Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold another of their "Kayaking 101" clinics covering the basics of flatwater kayaking. Time is 5:00pm. Cost is $45 per person and includes use of kayak, paddle, PFD and instruction. Seats are limited, so pre-registration is required. For details, or to register, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Saturday, it's the annual New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on Bluebonnet Boulevard. Time is 8:00am to 10:00am. Orvis FF101 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly fishing with hands-on basic casting instruction. Seats are limited, so pre-registration is required. Contact 225-757-7286. The Orvis store will also conduct a "Fly Fishing 201" later that same day. Orvis FF201 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic applying casting and rigging skills to actual fishing situations. Again, seats are limited, so contact 225-757-7286 to pre-register. Also on Saturday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their annual "Marsh Madness" kayak fishing tournament out of Coco Marina in Cocodrie. Entry fee is $25. Prizes are for top 2 redfish stringer weight. It's a single launch site, shotgun start. Unfortunately, no fly fishing is allowed for this event as it's a tackle exchange tournament. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

The annual New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival takes place this Saturday. Celebrating it's 70th anniversary, the NOCPBBR is the oldest freshwater rodeo in the country. It's also got something for everyone: there's a bank fishing rodeo with five divisions, a student bass fishing tournament, a kayak fishing tournament, and a "fishtival" with exhibitors and other activities of interest to anglers and their families. Of interest to fly anglers is the fishing rodeo - in addition to the Junior Anglers, Bass Adult, Champions Challenge and Cichlid Team categories, there's the Fly Fishing Category for the heaviest bass or cichlid (Rio Grande perch). The Fly Fishing Division is open to all ages. Registration is $10 for ages 13 and older, $5 for under age 13. Folks can pre-register online until this Thursday, March 23rd. The fishing rodeo hours are 6:30am to 11:00am (weigh-in). For puddlers, the kayak fishing tournament, known as "Boats on the Bayou" is held on Bayou St. John from 7:00am to 10:30am. Entry fee is $15 pre-registration, or $25 on-site. Onsite registration begins at 6:00am. There are four categories for BOTB: bass, redfish, trout, and trashbash (any other species). What I like about this tournament is that, while winners receive trophies, the top prize - a kayak - doesn't go to the winner, but is drawn from all participants present. Another aspect of this event of interest to fly anglers and kayak anglers is The Fishtival. Once again, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will be on hand, tying flies and giving casting lessons. Also, Masseys Outfitters will be doing kayak demos on Bayou St. John. Other exhibitors include the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Coast Guard and a variety of others including local artists and gifts. For complete info on this great event, go to www.neworleanscitypark.com.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Here's our mid-week tidbits in a "quick hitting" format inspired by my favorite website, dandydon.com (which incidently, played a large part in the creation of the LFF website 20 years ago). I hope to keep this a regular feature from now until things slow down in summer.

The Grand Isle Weekend has been cancelled this year. Sponsored by the Red Stick Fly Fishers, the GIWE is the largest fly fishing outing held each year in Louisiana. It's been held in late June for the past decade, and prior to that, was held in July, and included members of clubs from Louisiana, Mississippi, and elsewhere. At their general meeting Monday night, RSFF members were told of some circumstances that had arisen that would have required a change in venue or dates for the GIWE. Instead, the club voted to cancel the event for this year. Like many of you, I'm sad to hear this.

Flymen Fishing Company has released Faux Bucktail a synthetic version of the popular natural bucktail material. FFC sells it's products under the brand name "Fish-Skull", with most products aimed for warmwater and saltwater applications. According to FFC, Faux Bucktail represents the first tapered mult-use synthetic fiber. One of the key differences is that this new material is not hollow like bucktail, so flies will sink faster. But also the material doesn't flare out when cinched with thread, so Clouser Minnows will keep a more "streamlined" look when tied. My friend Daniel Moss - a pro-staff member of FFC - is using this on his baitfish patterns and says it comes out clean. I've got a shipment coming in and will test it out later this week.

David Hunter Jones is the new editor for Louisiana Sportsman magazine. David replaces Andy Crawford, who retires today. Prior to this position, David was editor of Firearm News magazine, and also a chief writer for BassMaster magazine. The Florida native loves saltwater fishing and deer and turkey hunting, so he should fit right in with the majority of the magazine's readers. He'll have big shoes to fill - Andy has done a great job since 2009 in continuing to build the magazine as one of the best outdoor tabloids in the country. Andy will continue to contribute as an outdoors writer, but will focus his efforts on his professional photography services.

At the Cane Country Fly Casters meeting Monday night Adam Harbuck of Harbuck Outdoors in Shreveport brought several 2017 kayaks for club members to demo. Those included two new pedal models I'd not had a chance to demo - the Native Manta Ray Propel and Perception Pilot. Both were very fast boats, clocking between 4.0 and 4.6 knots at a high cruising pace. Personally, I preferred the Pilot for fly fishing as the "motor" is easily stowed. But perhaps the best boat for fly fishing that I tested was the Wilderness ATAK 120. It's very stable and comfortable and surprisingly nimble, clocking 3.0 to 3.2 at cruising speed. The low profile also made for low wind resistance.

Hatch Magazine has done a review of the Redington Classic Trout. Folks who have heard me praise this rod (I own a 3-weight and 5-weight) know that I've compared it as the budget version of the legendary Sage Lightline series. But as Hatch magazine points out, the RCT doesn't have the excellent distance capabilities that more expensive "trout rods" have. In fact, I'd say that my TFO Finesse 3-weight is a tad better on distance than my RCT 3-weight. But both are GREAT rods for trout and bream fishing, and both offer a lifetime warranty that's tough to beat. To read what Hatch Magazine had to say, click on this link.

This cold spell has slowed action down considerably in north and central Louisiana. Yesterday I took the kayak out for bass and caught a couple and missed a couple others, but it was a very slow day for mid-March. The water temperature on my depthfinder was 58 degrees! That's almost 10 degrees less than it was a week ago. I did not see any small bream in the shallows, a telltale sign. Good news is that more normal March weather is on the way next week.

Monday, March 13, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting. For this month, there's a change in time and venue - from 5:00pm at the Red River Waterway Commission on Sibley Lake in Natchitoches. Adam Harbuck of Harbuck Outdoors in Shreveport will be bringing several new 2017 fishing kayaks for attendees to demo. Afterwards, Adam will be doing a brief presentation on kayak rigging. The public is invited. For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will be holding their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm, but with Daylight Savings Time the club pre-meeting casting practice will restart beginning at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on Sunflower Road in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. On Wednesday, the CCA Westbank Chapter will hold their annual banquet at NOLA Motorsports in Avondale Doors open 6:00pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include 1-year CCA membership, admission, dinner and open bar. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month Tom Bullock will demo hackle techniques and discuss the Regal vise. Beginners are welcome. Also 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. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, it's the first day of the Kisatchie Fly Fishers annual club trip to the Little Missouri River in southwest Arkansas, aka "March Brown" trip. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also starting Thursday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the Louisiana Sportsmans Show at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. The "Granddaddy of Louisiana Outdoor Shows" will run 12pm to 7pm on Thursday and Friday, 9am to 7pm on Saturday, and 9am to 5pm on Sunday. Tickets are $10 per day, $5 for kids. With a couple hundred exhibitors and numerous activities, too many to list here! There's seminars by fishing pros, and deals to be had on fishing gear. Fishing kayaks will also be featured. Details can be found on the website at www.lasportsmenshow.com.

Registration is now open for Women's Fishing Workshops. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), CCA Louisiana, Cabelas Outdoors Fund, National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and the LDWF Foundation are teaming up to present two Womens Fishing Workshops this Spring at Cabelas. The dates are April 22 and May 20, both on Saturday. It's open to women 18 and older. Seats are limited to 30 women per event. LDWF biologists and other instructors will teach attendees about fish identification, handling, fishing equipment, basic skills, as well as cleaning, storing and cooking fish. Fifteen participants will have their name drawn to apply their skills on an overnight fishing trip to Grand Isle! These sessions book up quickly, so register asap. For more info and registration, click on this link.

Some articles from this month's Louisiana Sportsman magazine are now online. One of them is my "Fly Lines" column, for March the title is "Ask the Fly Fishing Answer Man". Readers can get to it by clicking on this link.

An inconvenient truth? Last week, a large group of prominent fly anglers signed off on a letter to Scott Pruitt, newly appointed head of EPA, criticizing him for his statement that "I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.". The signees took serious objection to his denial that human activities - particularly burning fossil fuels - is a primary contributor to global warming. The list of signees included Yvon Chouinard, Ted Williams, Craig and Jackie Mathews, Kirk Deeter, Tim Romano, Brandon Shuler, Phil Monahan, Tom Sadler, Marshall Cutchin, and many other prominent fly fishing writers or industry folk. To Pruitt's credit, he didn't deny that global warming is real. In fact, he seems to acknowledge it. He questioned how much of an impact burning fossil fuels is having. Personally, I think there is some human factor. You don't take trillions of tons of buried hydrocarbons, burn them off into the atmosphere, and not have some impact. The concern to many fly anglers is with regards to marginal trout streams, such as those in north Georgia and western New Mexico.

Monday, March 6, 2017
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church on 415 Roselawn in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: their upcoming Acadiana Conclave on April 1st. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the Ponchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop on 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the CCA Bayou Lafourche Chapter holds their annual banquet at Thibodaux Regional Wellness Center in Thibodaux. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 adult ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, and more. On Friday, the 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour comes to Louisiana! More on that later. On Saturday, it's the annual Fly Fish Texas. More on that later. Also starting Saturday, and continuing Sunday, it's the inaugural Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold a "Kayak Fishing Workshop and Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on University Lake in Baton Rouge. The workshop is 8:30am to 10:30am and costs $10. Registration is required as spaces are limited. The Demo Day will begin at 12 noon and run until 2:00pm and is open to the public. All this is subject to weather, so call 225-925-2667 to confirm, or check their Facebook page. On Sunday, it's the start of Daylight Savings Time, which should be great news for working folks looking to get in afterwork time on the water on in their garden.

The 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour comes to Louisiana this Friday as the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will once again host this series of short documentary films celebrating our sport. Doors open at 6:30pm, with showing starting at 7:00pm. At this writing, only a few tickets are still available. For the last 3 years all 150 tickets were sold out prior to the event! So be sure to call the Orvis store at 225-757-7285 for availability. Tickets are sold only at the Orvis store. All proceeds go to Project Healing Waters. There's a very affordable cash bar, and some great door prizes. The subjects of theseilms feature Kamtchatka rainbows and salmon, Florida tarpon, Mexican tarpon and permit, Alaskan trout, Siberian taimen, old friends fishing their favorite water, Montana trout, and Fanning Island in the Pacific. A complete list of films, along with details and trailers can be found at www.flyfilmtour.com.

A busy weekend for fly fishing events in north Texas. In and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there's three (3) big events taking place! The Trinity River Waterway Development event is geared more towards beginners, so I'll concentrate on the other two: the annual Fly Fish Texas hosted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and the inaugural "Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival". Fly Fish Texas will again be held at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, just southeast of Dallas. The event runs from 9:00am to 4:00pm and features seminars, fly tying demonstrations, casting clinics, fish biology, and even casting certification seminars. There's also fishing onsite for rainbow trout. Admission is free with paid admission to the Center. For a schedule of presentations, and list of activities, go to tpwd.texas.gov and click on "Fly Fish Texas". Meanwhile in Plano, at the Plano Events Center, Saturday and Sunday will be the inaugural "Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival". Show director Beau Beasley is trying to bring a Texas-version of his much popular annual "Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival". It'll feature some of the biggest names in fly fishing such as Lefty Kreh, Ed Jaworoski, Mike Mercer, Wanda Taylor, Tom Rosenbauer, Bob Clouser, and others. Along with some of the top regional anglers such as Stacy Lynn, David Leake, Steve Dally and others. The list of vendors is exhausting! Admission is $20 per day. Attendees can also sign up for special classes for an extra fee. A few of the classes have already sold out, so please check online. Then there's the beer tasting! Several local brews will be offered. Complete details on this event can be found at txflyfishingfestival.org.

Kudos to the Red Stick Fly Fishers for a great conclave! Their Red Stick Day was held this past Saturday at the BREC Perkins Road Park in Baton Rouge. Although the setting was different from the usual Waddill location, everything went smoothly. A lot of thanks go to Events Chairman Pete Sturgis. Dr. Ed Lash of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was special guest. The nationally-renown deer hair tyer gave his first slideshow presentation ever, and it was a homerun! I understand from Ed that Pete assisted him with putting together this presentation. As usual, there were LOTS of great raffle items and the jambalaya lunch was fantastic. There are two more club conclaves scheduled for Louisiana in 2017, the Acadiana event on April 1st and the Contraband Fly Fishing Expo in August.

Speaking of events, the 2018 calendar is already being populated. During the past month, I've received dates for some club activities, including the Natchitoches Fishing and Outdoor Recreation Expo hosted by the Cane Country Fly Casters. But we still have a few dates undetermined for 2017. I was told at Red Stick Day, that dates for the New Orleans club's annual "Rio Rodeo" and the Finaddict Fly Fishers club's annual bream rodeo will soon be coming. I'm really looking forward to both these events!

The Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's CPR Challenge began last Tuesday. While there are no live fly fishing tournaments by any of the Louisiana kayak clubs, the Bayou Coast and Lafayette clubs do have a fly fish division to their CPR tournaments. You must be a member of their club to participate. For BCKFC, the tournament lasts from January 1st to November 31st and for fly rod includes bass, redfish and speckled trout categories. For LKFC, the tournament this year has been broken into 3 time slots. Points from each time slot for fly rod bass, redfish, and speckled trout will be added to determine the CPR Cajun Slam Fly Rod champion. For details on these CPR tournaments, go to www.bckfc.org or www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

Sunday, February 26, 2017
A big week ahead! We have Mardi Gras, the largest annual fly fishing event in Louisiana (Red Stick Day), as well as the largest kayak demo of the year. More on those later. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest presenter will be Kevin "Doc" Andry, who will demonstrate and discuss tying and fishing the Round Dinny (bream) and Crease Fly (bass, saltwater). Refreshments will be served. Guests and visitors are welcome! Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Nathanael Fickett will lead the group in tying the Crappie Candy. If time permits, also the Squirrely. Both are flies whose originators will be featured tiers at Red Stick Day. Bring your tools. If none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Tuesday is Mardi Gras, a holiday and day of festivities for most of Louisiana. 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 www.northshoreflyfishing.org. On Friday, it's the kickoff for Pack and Paddle's annual "Spring Demo Weekend" in Lafayette which continues Saturday. More on that later. On Saturday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual conclave in Baton Rouge. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Backpacker of Lafayette will hold a Kayak Demo Day at Chicot Lake near Ville Platte. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models from Hobie, Wilderness Systems, Perception, and KC Kayak. Weather permitting.

This Saturday is Red Stick Day. The Red Stick Fly Fishers of Baton Rouge will celebrate their 25th annual fly fishing festival (conclave) otherwise known as "Red Stick Day". This year the event had to be moved from it's traditional location at the LDWF Waddill Education Center to the BREC Perkins Park Community Center due to continued flood restoration work at Waddill. Time will be 8:30am to 3:00pm. Admission is free! Red Stick Day is the largest fly fishing event in Louisiana, in terms of attendance. There's seminars, fly tying demonstrations, casting clinics and coaching, and a huge raffle that benefits the club's educational and conservation projects. Each year, the club brings in one of the biggest names in fly fishing and/or fly tying. This year's headliner is Ed Lash of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, considered one of the top deer hair tiers in America. Ed will be demonstrating as well as giving a seminar. For those that may want to wet a line, Perkins also has a fishing pond with a good population of medium-sized fiesty bluegills. For complete details on this event, including seminar topics and schedule and list of tiers, go to the club's website at www.rsff.org.

Pack and Paddle's big Spring Demo Weekend kicks off this Friday at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette with the "Beer and Gear Social". Drink local brews provided by industry paddlesports reps, talk paddling, meet local kayak club members, and more. There's door prizes, and even a chance to win the Hobie Pro Angler 14 that Steve Lessard used in December to win his 2nd World Championship. And it's all free! Time is 5:00pm with the drawings at 7:00pm. On Saturday, Pack and Paddle will hold their annual "Spring Demo Day" at Vermillionville Pond on 300 Fisher Road in Lafayette. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. The event is free. While PnP does a few other demos in the year (they also do personal demos on request), this is by far the largest. The full line of 2017 boats from Hobie, Jackson, Native, Wilderness Systems, NuCanoe, Wenonah, Bote Board and others will be available for testing. Industry reps will be on hand to answer questions. For more info on this event, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Sunday, February 19, 2017
What's happening this week. Monday is President's Day and a holiday for some. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Gene Taylor will lead in tying the Partridge and Peacock wet fly. Beginners are welcome. For details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, with general meeting at 7:00pm. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly program at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge, 555 Sunflower Road in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to their website at www.northlaflyfishers.org or check the LFF Forum for meeting details. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda is discussion of the upcoming Marsh Madness tournament. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. Also on Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will hold a public meeting on Lake Bistineau at the LDWF office on 9961 Highway 80 in Minden. Time is 6:00pm. An update on the current status of the lake and management of giant salvania will be discussed. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7840 Lakeshore Drive (across the parking lot from Blue Crab Restaurant). Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome! Also on Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold a special seminar, "Secrets of Successful Kayak Tournament Fishermen", featuring two of the world's top kayak anglers - Steve Lessard and Brendan Bayard - both from Louisiana. In addition to tips and tactics for catching a variety of fish from kayak, Steve and Brendan will also share details on the 2016 World Championship which was held in Leeville, and where Steve became the first-ever two-time world champion despite fierce competition from a couple members of the Australian team. The public is invited and refreshments will be available. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Saturday, the Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation will host it's annual Mystery Fly Tournament on the Lower Mountain Fork River. Registration kicks off at 6:30am, fishing at 7:00am, "weigh in at 12 noon. There's an evening dinner as well. Entry fee is $50. For more details, go to www.lmfrfoundation.org.

Sunday, February 12, 2017
What's happening this week. 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. On the agenda: the upcoming 25th annual Red Stick Day fly fishing festival, fishing reports. The public is invited. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Community Center on the Highway 1 Bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Glen 'Catch' Cormier will demonstrate the "Mop Fly", which was quite the talk at the recent Atlanta Fly Fishing Show. Bring your tools if you have them, otherwise the club has a few sets for use during the meeting. The public is invited. For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. Tuesday is Valentine's Day. The North Louisiana Fly Fishers monthly meeting has been moved to the 21st this month due to the conflict with Valentine's Day. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Mike Hawkins will show how to tie a "Deena Fly". This is the go-to fly for the Lower Mountain Fork River. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will conduct the second of their twice-monthly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the CCA Tangi Chapter will hold a free fishing seminar at Boat City USA on 4113 Club Deluxe Road in Hammand. Time is 6:00pm. Guest speakers will be Ashley Ferguson, LDWF biologist and Capt. Mike Gallo. For more info, call 225-952-9200. Starting Friday evening and continuing Sunday, it's the 12th ever Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival. More on that later. Also starting Friday evening and continuing thru Sunday, it's the Guadalupe Trout Unlimited's annual TroutFest 2017 at Lazy L&L Campgrounds in New Braunfels, Texas. Special guests include Jen Ripple, Wanda Taylor and George Daniel. Proceeds go to benefit GRTU's conservation projects on this southernmost trout tailwater. For more info, go to www.grtu.org. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Tying 101" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet Boulevard. Time is 2:00pm. FT101 is a free, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic that covers the basics of fly tying. Tools and materials are provided for the session. Class size is limited, so pre-registration is required. For more info, call 225-757-7286.

As mentioned, the Little Mo Fly Festival is this weekend at the Community Center in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. This event celebrates the nearby Little Missouri River as well as fly fishing in general, and is always a fun time! The "Little Mo" below Narrows Dam (Greeson Lake) supports several miles of year-round fishery for rainbow and brown trout. In addition, the upper Mo above Greeson supports a 5-month fishery for rainbows. The Little Mo Fest was concieved 12 years ago by Jeff Guerin, river guide and owner of the Little Missouri Fly Fishing website. Things kick off on Friday evening with fly tying and home cooking. Saturday is a full day featuring tying, seminars, exhibitors, retailers, casting and more. Programs include "European Nymph Fishing", "Building Furled Leaders", and "River Critters". The highlight of the event - as each year - is the "State of the Little Mo" presentation by AFGC biologists Christy Graham and Kris Nault. Saturday evening there's a presentation "Crappie on the Fly" followed by the annual Fantasy Fly Draft. Sunday morning at 10:30am, there's the "Can You Take It" combat casting clinic at Riverside Park (cost is $5). Over 20 fly tiers will be participating, the list can be found on the Little Missouri website. For complete details, go to www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com.

Sunday, February 5, 2017
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. 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 in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools if you have some, otherwise the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop in Slidell. Bring your tools, if none, tools are available during the session. Materials are provided. On Saturday, it's the 25th annual Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival in Houston. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Orvis in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 201" session. FF201 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour on-the-water clinic where the basics of fly fishing are applied to real-time fishing situations. Registration is limited, and these sessions do often book up, so please contact Alex at 225-757-7286 for more info or to register. That Saturday afternoon, Orvis will hold another of their "Fly Tying 101" clinics in-store. FT101 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour hands-on workshop covering the basics of tying flies and tying a couple of simple patterns. Tools and materials are provided. For more info, call 225-757-7286.

Saturday is the Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival in Houston. This marks the 25th celebration of this event, considered the largest gathering of fly tiers each year on the Gulf Coast. Sponsored by the Texas Fly Fishers club, the fly fest is held at Bethany Christain Church at 3223 Westheimer. Time is 8:30am to 4:30pm. Normally held the first Saturday in February, the event was moved back a week this year due to the Super Bowl. In addition to nearly 100 tiers, the event features a celebrity fly tier. Past headliners have included such names as Bob Clouser, Tim Borski, Blane Chocklett, Boyd Pfeiffer and others. For 2017, special guest tier is David Nelson, owner of Squimpish Flies and expert on river fishing for striped bass. There's also several fishing and tying seminars, vendors, and casting. For complete details, go to www.texasflyfishers.org.

This weekend's Atlanta Fly Fishing Show was a blast. After having attended the Somerset and Denver shows in the past, it was great to see the show come to the South. One of the many highlights was the initial induction of the Southern Trout Legends Hall of Fame. Sponsored by Southern Trout magazine, twelve names were inducted in total: Ernest Peckinbaugh, Dave Whitlock, Jim Gaston, Harry Middleton, Don Pfitzer, Charley Elliot, Soc Clay, J. Wayne Fears, Don Howell, Curtis Fleming, Gary Merriman and Mark Cathey. For more information about each of these inductees, go to www.southerntrout.com.

>

  QUICK LINKS

LAFlyFish.com