Sunday, March 2, 2014
What's happening this week. This Tuesday is Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras, chickee la
pas, run away, ha ha ha. Enjoy the parades, king cakes, and cold beer (or chocolate if you're
a woman) before Lent begins! Because of Mardi Gras - and their annual conclave next week - the
Acadiana Fly Rodders meeting normally on first Tuesday is cancelled for this month. On
Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at The Beach
House Bar and Grill in Mandeville. Social begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are
welcome. On Saturday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their 22nd annual "Red Stick Day"
conclave. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Pack and Paddle hold their annual "Spring
Canoe and Kayak Demo Day" at Vermillionville Pond on Fisher Road in Lafayette. Time is 10:00am to
2:00pm. Unlike their smaller demos, this one will feature all series of boats P&P carries, with
manufacturer reps on hand to discuss their boats. It's free, and deals will be offered on selected
boats. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. Also on Saturday, Texas Parks and Wildlife
will hold their annual "Fly Fish Texas" at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. Time
is 9:00am to 4:00pm. Programs, fly tying demos, and on-site fishing and it's free with park
admission. For more info, go to www.tpwd.state.tx.us. Also on Saturday, the Bodcau Purrin
Hens will hold their annual "Women in the Outdoors" at Bayou Bodcau Reservoir. WITO events feature
one-hour sessions covering a wide range of outdoor skills, which each attendee can choose from.
For more info, contact Belinda Prudhome at 318-469-7114. On Sunday, it's the start of
Daylight Savings Time... more time to fish after work!
Saturday is Red Stick Day. The Red Stick Fly Fishers annual conclave - a celebration of fly
fishing - features programs, fly tying demos, casting demos, beginners' sessions, and more. Time
is 8:30am to 4:00pm. Location is the LDWF Waddill Outdoors Center on Flannery Road in Baton Rouge.
It's free, and open to the public, and families are welcome. There's free refreshments, and a $7
jambalaya lunch will be available. Guest speakers this year include Tom Jindra, Pete Cooper Jr,
Richard Evans, Larry Offner, and Roger del Rio. To help defray the costs - and to raise money for
their charities and projects - the RSFF club holds one of the largest raffles of any conclave I've
ever seen... even at the national level! But the real feature of this event that makes it special
is the on-site fishing and kayak demos, thanks to the Waddill ponds. Backpacker will be on site at
the East Pond from 11:00am to 1:00pm with a selection of their top fishing kayaks for on-the-water
demos. Fishing will be all day on the West Pond. Last year, the bass were bedding hard and
treating many of the attendees who put their flies to the test. This year may not be as easy...
more on that later.
In like a lion, out like a lamb. This year, March is coming in more like a polar bear.
Forget the brief warm spell we had yesterday... Iceapocalypse is coming back... yet another
polar vortex will descend into our state today... get this... bringing a chance of freezing rain
and sleet tonight and again on Tuesday across north and a few parts of central Louisiana. The lower parishes will be spared from
the coldest blast, with lows only in the 30s and 40s. However, this can't be good for any chances
of bass moving to the spawning beds... or prospects for an early run bream or speckled trout run.
Astream: American Writers on Fly Fishing is the title of a new book featuring a collection
of stories from 31 writers including Thomas McGuane, Ted Leeson, Nick Lyons, Le Anne Schreiber,
Russell Chatham, and many others - including Michael Keaton. The 382 pages comes in Kindle,
hardcover, and paperback. The few reviews so far (7 total) on Amazon.com are very positive, with
one reviewer saying it's the "best compilation of fishing stories I had ever read". A "look
inside" using the Amazon feature was enough to convince me this will be on many Father's Day
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Bass Pro in Bossier will hold a Kayak Fishing 101 seminar tonight featuring Ty Southerland of 30 Miles Out internet TV. Time is 7:00pm. Admission is free. Also on the agenda is Bill Rodriguez of Bayou Pirates Kayak Fishing Club. BPC just completed their first tournament of the year, a CPR Bass tournament on Lake Caroline that raised several hundred dollars for Heroes on the Water.
Registration for Paddlepalooza XI is now up on the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club website. PP11 is set for Saturday, April 12, with the Friday evening Captains Dinner and weigh-in and awards activity at Bobby Lynn's Marina. Paddlepalooza is the largest tournament of the year for the BCKFC club, and last year, was one of the four largest kayak fishing tournaments in the
country with over 260 participants. The format for this year remains the same... the 3-fish Cajun Slam gets top prizes (1 slot red, 1 speck, 1 flounder), along with individual species, Leopard Red (most spots), Ladies Slam, and a free Kids Slam Division. Registration is $50 and includes two
meals, t-shirt, Captains bag, and chance at numerous prizes. In addition, a portion of the proceeds go to charity. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.
LDWF will be stocking fewer, but larger bass fingerlings this spring. According to Mike Wood, Inland Fisheries Director, the 2-inch juvenile Florida-strain largemouths have about 10 times greater survival than the standard 3/4-inch fingerlings previously stocked. Over 2.5 million fingerlings are hoped to be stocked. Highest priority locations for 2014 include Lake Bruin,
Bundicks Lake, Lake Nantachie, False River, Caddo Lake, James Bayou, Eunice City Lake, and Toledo Bend. Other waters high on the list are Lake D'arbonne, Laccassine Pool, and Cross Lake.
Ol' Man Winter still here. Normally I put my garden plants in the ground the last week of February. Occasionally I have to cover them up from frost once or twice after that. This year I'm having to wait. Having moved to the central part of the state might seem part of the problem, but even south Louisiana will see freezing or near-freezing temperatures tonight and again early next week. How is this continued cold affecting fish? Redfish, not much. But other species seem "late". With the notable exception of a run of trophy-sized bass caught at Toledo Bend recently. Last week I mentioned that fly anglers can learn something from BassMasters Classic. Randy Howell's unbelievable surge on the final day is a prime example. Howell caught numerous bass early on the final day by fishing rock riprap along a causeway bridge. The rocks absorb and transmit heat, attracting baitfish from the cold water. Where baitfish go, predators go. Look for those areas, particularly on northern shorelines, where structures or bottoms can absorb sunlight.
Speaking of tournament fishing... the most recent rankings of the Association of Collegiate Anglers is out. The ACA is the bass fishing equivalent of the NCAA (college bass fishing and kayak fishing are organized as clubs as opposed to athletic teams). The University of North Alabama and Auburn continue as numbers 1 and 2, respectively. But shooting up to the number 3 ranking is the defending national champion, the University of Louisiana-Monroe. On the College Kayak Fishing front, in the Salt Series, LSU team 2 and LSU team 3 are currently standing at #4 and #5, with Eckerd College team 1 surprisingly in first place. LSU team 3 was last year's Salt Series National Champion. The CKF Bass Series begins in full in two weeks, with University of Tennessee currently ranked in 1st place. We'll be pulling for another Louisiana sweep in 2014 by all our college fishing teams.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahr's Seafood Restaurant at the Ramada Inn in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda, fishing reports and upcoming events including the FAFF 2-Fly Bluegill Tournament set for May 10th at Lamar-Dixon. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be John Williams of Pack and Paddle, who will give a presentation on "Kayak Fishing". Also on the agenda: fishing reports and tackle tip. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly "4th Monday Tying Clinic" at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome, tools and materials can be provided. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank building on 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "Kayak Fishing 101 - Saltwater Basics" seminar at their store on 601 E. Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Cost is free. The seminar will cover choosing a kayak, a tackle system, anchoring, reading tides and water, safety and five great saltwater spots within 2 hours of Lafayette. On Friday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will host the "2014 Fly Fishing Film Tour" at their store in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 7:00pm to 9:00pm. The F3T features the best independent fly fishing films of the past year. Tickets are $13 - cash or check only. All proceeds will go to Project Healing Waters. There will also be lots of great door prizes and a very affordable cash bar. For details, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. On Saturday, Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will host a "Fishing Louisiana Offshore" seminar featuring Capt. Tommy Pellegrin. Time is 1:00pm. There is no cost. The seminar repeats on Sunday at 1:00pm.
Two potential IGFA fly records caught in Louisiana waters are currently pending approval. The first was a 33lb-0oz red drum caught on 2kg (4 lb) tippet by Robert Cunningham, Jr. while fishing with guide Bo Meador, Jr. Cunningham, who holds multiple IGFA records, had to fight the fish for 30 minutes to get it safely to the boat. Once measured, weighed, and documented, the redfish was released alive. If approved, it will best the current record of 29lb-0oz. The second pending fly record was a 34lb-6oz black drum caught by Japanese angler Ikuko Sakagawa. Ms. Sakagawa landed the fish while guided by Capt. Tristan Daire. If approved, it will be the new women's 10kg (20 lb) tippet class fly record... and only a pound heavier than the current record. Congratulations to both anglers!
Cold-tolerant weevils? Brazilian weevils are the natural predator of giant salvania, an invasive plant that has ravaged a number of lakes and backwaters in Louisiana. For years, researchers have attempted to use the weevils in place of costly chemical applications. But the weevils aren't as cold-tolerant as the plants. For that reason, parts of northwest Louisiana remain the hardest hit by salvania. Recently, LSU Ag researchers found a colony of weevils on Cross Lake that survived the extremely low temperatures from last month. It's hoped that by breeding these cold survivors, the weevils will be able to withstand cold and establish a permanent, reproducing domicile on north Louisiana waters.
Old Man Winter has some left. Fortunately the cold front coming thru later this week will only bring freezing temperatures for one night across most of Louisiana, and just barely below freezing at that. This past week the swamp maples were in bloom, another sign that Spring will soon be here!
Friday, February 21, 2014
Today begins the 2014 BassMaster Classic on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. The "Super Bowl of Bass Fishing" isn't all that popular among flycasters, but the results of this - and any tournament - tell us a lot about bass and their behavior. Louisiana only has one qualifier: that's Cliff "Cajun Baby" Crochet from Pierre Part. We'll be pulling for Cliff and hoping he can beat the Bama boys!
Bob Popovics joins the TFO Advisory Staff. According to a press release from Angling Trade, Bob Popovics has agreed to be involved in the design of TFO rods and related products. For the past 40 years, Popovics has been at the forefront of saltwater fly fishing and fly tying. In the late 70s, he introduced the Surf Candy patterns, and later co-authored "Pop Fleyes" with Ed Jaworowski. Popovics was featured at two of the FFF Gulf Coast Council events, and demonstrated both fly tying and fly casting.
Orvis of Baton Rouge is planning several events in the months ahead. They will continue to be offering their Fly Fishing 101 and 201 classes, as well as a few Advanced Fly Tying classes. Also, the end of April will feature their "Spring Days" culminating with a Saturday featuring guest speakers, tiers, and other happenings. Also, the "Fly Fishing Film Tour" will be held at Orvis next Friday, February 28th. If you haven't got tickets, there's some remaining. Great videos, lots of door prizes and an affordable cash bar!
Dick Cabela passed away this Tuesday. He was 77. Richard Cabela was co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Cabelas, Inc. Dick, his wife Mary and Jim, cofounded the giant retailer from humble beginnings - it started as a mail-order business for hand-tied flies. Today it's a 3.6 billion company with over 50 stores in the United States and Canada. Throughout it's rise, Cabelas has remained true to it's mail order roots, and also to fly fishing. It remains the largest retailer of fly fishing tackle and accessories in the world, with numerous house brand products that emphasize quality at a bargain price.
Monday, February 17, 2014
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their February meeting - rescheduled from last week - at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Casting prior to the meeting around 6:00pm, with meeting starting at 6:30pm. Several members will demonstrate their favorite flies. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Bud Bethea will be tying the Lefty's Deceiver, a great saltwater pattern. Visitors are encouraged. Starting Friday it's the BassMasters Classic on Alabama's Lake Guntersville. The Classic Expo will be held at Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center thru Sunday. Admission is free. For times and exhibitors, go to www.bassmasters.com. On Saturday, the Bayou Pirates Kayak Fishing Club will hold their rescheduled Red River Rumble at Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Entry fee is $20. This CPR bass tournament is to raise money for Heroes On The Water. For more info, go to www.bayoupirates.com. Also on Saturday, Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly "Fourth Saturday Tying Clinic". Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. There is no cost. Beginners are welcome, bring your own tools, materials are provided. Also on Saturday, the Orvis Company Store in Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Tying 101" sessions. Time is 1:00pm to 3:00pm. There is no cost, but registration is required as seats are limited. Tools and materials provided. To register, call Alex at 225-757-7286.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
We've updated our Guides and Retailers pages. Finally! I know for some it's been a long wait, but not having a daily 7am to 7pm routine does allow for more time on the website. If you see something that is incorrect or missing, please email me. I'll try to keep them up-to-date from now on.
Magazine columns for your pleasure. In addition to my "Fly Lines" column in Louisiana Sportsman, there's a new fly fishing column in the monthly Angler magazine - Bayou edition. The columnist is our good friend Larry Offner. The Angler is available at numerous outdoors retailers, as well as various restaurants and coffee shops.
The January issue of Florida Sportsman had an article on backhand flycasting. Like most magazines, archived columns of previous months are posted online. This article by Capt. Mark Krowka was from their January issue, entitled "Using the Rest of the Clock". Check it out.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Just announced - kayak happenings this week. On Thursday, Massey's Outfitters in Covington will host a free Kayak Fishing Seminar featuring Casey Brunning. Casey is kayak columnist for Marsh and Bayou magazine, and a member of the Hobie Pro Staff. Time is 6:30pm to 9:30pm at the store on Highway 190 in Covington. Admission is free and there will be food and beverages. On Saturday, Backpacker of Lafayette will conduct a free on-the-water Kayak Demo at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. A wide selection of boats will be available to test including Hobies. On Sunday Backpacker of Baton Rouge will conduct a free Kayak Demo at BREC's Wampold Park off Stanford Avenue. Time is 12 noon to 4:00pm. As far as we know, these are the first kayak demos for 2014, and a chance to get an intro into the exciting world of kayaking and kayak fishing.
The End of Icepocalypse? Today's ice storm - or cold rain - pelting Louisiana is yet aggravation to what has been an unusually cold winter. But there's good news... the 10-day forecast shows a return to more seasonal weather thru next week. Dry days and high temperatures flirting with the 70-degree mark! It's going to take a couple of weeks of that kind of weather to get water temperatures close to normal. However, some longtime guides and pro anglers think that the fish could react very positively if the water temps went up several degrees, regardless of what "degrees" it happens to be. I, for one, certainly plan to test that theory out...
Saving GRACE. Last year, Sage Manufacturing introduced the GRACE fly rod, a limited-edition pink blank adorned with pink reel seat and pink wraps, for the purpose of raising money for Casting for Recovery. CfR is an organization dedicated to helping women overcome physical and mental challenges associated with breast cancer through fly fishing retreats. The retreats are offered at no cost thanks to generous companies like Sage and organizations like the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF). Last week, Sage announced that sales of the GRACE rod had raised $14,050 for CfR. Women fly anglers found the rod not only cosmetically attractive, but the rod action to be superb. Sage Marketing Manager Eric Gewiss said, "The GRACE rod expresses Sage's enthusiasm to help breast cancer survivors the best way we know how - by building an elegant fly rod that's comfortable to cast.".
Kenny Chesney accepts Honorary Board membership to the Building Conservation Trust, the habitat program of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). The country superstar has a long history of involvement in ocean conservation and stewardship, through his music and his life. The Trust supports projects that revitalize critical marine habitat. For example, building reefs in Florida's St Johns River, and floating islands to restore marsh in Louisiana. In accepting the position, Chesney stated, "We have come to a place where everyone needs to get involved if the oceans, beaches, the sea life is important to us as human beings. No one person can save the world - or the water.".
Sunday, February 9, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the LDWF building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. On the agenda are fishing reports, their upcoming Red Stick Day conclave (March 8th), and other upcoming activities. 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. There is a chance this meeting could be cancelled due to weather... more on that later. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church off Highway 1 Bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. This one will have to be monitored as well. Check their website at canecountry.blogspot.com for details. On Thursday the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly tying session at 200 Mariners Plaza in Mandeville. Time is 7:00pm. For details, contact Colin McCormick at 985-264-3448. Friday is Valentine's Day... don't forget to share with the one you love. Also starting Friday evening thru Sunday is the 12th Ever Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival at the Community Center in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. More on that later.
Here we go again! Yet another "Polar Vortex" is scheduled to hit the state this week. Currently the forecast has a high chance of wintry mix forecast for the northern parishes beginning Monday night and continuing Tuesday and Tuesday night. The southern parishes will see very cold rain and lots of it. This is NOT good news for anglers of any persuasion (fly, lure, bait) as water temperatures, windy conditions, and more recently, high runoff and murky water, have combined for the worst winter fishing in 24 years! An example was yesterday's Bayou Coast club's "Double Trouble" kayak tournament in which only 9 of the 22 teams landed any reds or specks. Further, water temperatures in south Louisiana remain in the 40s. On several trips this week around BR area ponds, I struggled to catch a few fish in waters that are normally productive even this time of year. Of equal concern... normally mid-February begins the peak run of crappie in southeast Louisiana, and the start of the bass pre-spawn. With each week, it appears those will be delayed into March. With this week's forecast, all we can suggest is tying flies. Someday... somehow... warm days will return!
The 12th Ever Little Mo Fly Fest is this weekend in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. FYI, the Little Missouri River is one of the most popular year-round coldwater trout fisheries among Louisiana fly anglers, especially for those who live north of Opelousas. Proximity is certainly one reason (about 2.7 hours from Shreveport). But the Lower Mountain Fork near Broken Bow, Oklahoma also offers year-round trout water and is also the same distance from Shreveport. The difference could be in the fact that The Little Mo gets less pressure than the The Lower Fork (the LMF is a favorite among north Texas anglers). But it's also true that The Little Mo has an excellent dry fly fishery... the best of any trout water in Arkansas. Whatever reason it is, this much is true: there's always a strong contingent of Louisiana folks at the annual Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival. The Fest kicks off Friday evening at the Community Center with some tying. But the main event is Saturday with an array of fly tiers, presentations, and vendors. The highlight each year is the presentation by AFGC biologists on "The State of the Little Mo". It gives their latest findings on trout and other species that live in the river, and possibilities for future management. On Sunday, there's the annual on-the-water casting clinic conducted by LMFFF organizer Jeff Guerin. The clinic deals with various moving water situations. For more info on this event, go to www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
The Bayou Pirates club has rescheduled their CPR bass tournament that was set for this coming Saturday out of the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier. The new date is Saturday, February 22nd. The cancellation was forced by a threat for freezing rain on Friday in northwest Louisiana and possible icing of roads on Saturday morning.
It's official - January was the coldest in Louisiana in 35 years, and depending on location, was somewhere in the top 10 coldest in history. For example, Lafayette had an average temperature of 45.2 degrees for the month, making it the 8th coldest ever for that city. And now that Naquin the Nutria has seen his shadow, expect six weeks more frigid weather. This week is certainly proving Naquin to be reliable... at least for northern parishes. The high temperatures won't get out of the 40s until Sunday! In addition, a forecast for rain most days will make it seem even colder. Patience... patience... Spring will come.
Tomorrow is National Signing Day for college football recruits. LSU is expected to have a top 5 class, and it could be very special if one or two prized recruits decide to go with the Tigers. Many schools will have their prized recruits, and for Penn State, that's Nick Boumerhi. No, the placekicker isn't on Rivals 250, or a four or five-star prospect. In fact, he's not even being offered a scholly by Penn State, but a preferred walk-on. But Boumerhi loves to fly fish and can tie flies. Certainly we know where the priorities lie, right?
Sunday, February 2, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, it's the first day of registration for LDWF's annual "Becoming An Outdoors Woman", to be held the weekend of April 4-6. Cost is $200 and participation is limited to 125 women ages 18 and under. The fee includes lodging, meals, courses. Selection of 30+ courses range include archery, canoeing, birding, gardening, black pot cooking, fly fishing and much more. This session almost always fills out the first week of registration, so it's advised you register THIS WEEK! Go to the LDWF website for registration forms (up on Monday) or contact Dana Norsworthy at 318-345-3912. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders will hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church at 415 Roselawn in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. There will be a presentation on knot tying and favorite knots will be demonstrated. Also on the agenda is the upcoming Acadiana Conclave on March 15th. Guests are welcome! On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Beach House Bar and Grill on 124 Girod Street in Mandeville. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. On Thursday, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meets at the LDWF building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 9:30am. On the agenda is an emergency declaration for recreational reef fish seasons for 2014-2015. On Saturday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their annual "Fly Fishing 101". More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Bayou Pirates Kayak Club will hold their first tournament of 2014 at Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold a free "Fly Tying 101" Saturday afternoon. Materials and tools are provided. Class size is limited, so advance registration is strongly encouraged. For details or to register, call Alex Beane at 225-757-7286.
The Red Stick Fly Fishers' annual Fly Fishing 101 will be held this Saturday at LDWF Waddill Outdoors Education Center on Flannery Road in Baton Rouge. This event is free and open to the public. Advanced registration is requested, but onsite registration is an option. Registration begins at 8:30am, with the first session starting at 9:00am. There are four 1-hour sessions covering tackle and terminology, knots and leaders, fly casting, and fly tying. Lunch and refreshments are provided. Even if you've attended another fly fishing clinic, you will likely learn something here. There's no such thing as having too much education when it comes to our sport. For more details or to register, go to www.rsff.org and click on "Fly Fishing 101" in the menu.
The Bayou Pirates Kayak Club is a fairly new fishing-oriented club based out of northwest Louisiana. They held their first tournament out of Cypress Bayou last year, and will hold their first tournament of 2014 this Saturday at Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. It's a CPR (catch-photo-release) bass tournament to benefit Heroes on the Water. Entry fee is only $20. Onsite registration begins at 5:30am. We're very happy to see the BPKC club and the start of freshwater kayak tournaments in Louisiana. Almost all the kayak tournaments held the last five years in our state have been saltwater. By contrast, Texas had 11 freshwater tournaments last year alone. For more info on this event, check out "Bayou Pirates" on Facebook.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Now is the time for all good tiers to come to the aid of their clubs. Or their favorite clubs, if they don't belong to one. February marks the beginning of the "conclave season". Conclaves are 1-2 day events, often sponsored by clubs, that feature programs, fly tying demos, casting demos, exhibitors, and more. All are open to the public, most are free, and most feature a well-known name in fly fishing or fly tying, as well as regional experts, certified casting instructors and accomplished fly tiers. Clubs also hold silent auctions and raffles at these events. The most popular item in these raffles are boxes of flies. For silent auction, a box of 10-15 flies works. For raffles, a box of 6-12 flies works. With cold weather expected to persist - the forecast calls for more "polar vortexes" this week and week after - looks like it'll be awhile before good spring fishing. Take this opportunity to tie flies for the season ahead. And as you do, put a few aside for donations to one or more of these events. Your donation of flies (and anything else) helps to offset costs of these events, and make them free to the public. BUT... more important, several of these events also make enough money to donate to projects and causes. Examples: Acadiana Fly Rodders "Reel Recovery Retreat", and Red Stick Fly Fishers BREC ponds enhancement projects. Check the LFF Calendar out for upcoming events. Make plans to attend at least one this winter/spring, and if you tie flies, donate at least a box or two of your flies. Thanks!
Drawdown on Lake Valentine to continue until February 15th. FYI, Valentine is a small 47-acre National Forest Service lake located in the Kisatchie Forest just west of Alexandria. It's clear waters are ideal for flies, and the lake can only be fished from bank, or non-motorized boat such as canoe, kayak. A few years ago, I rated Valentine as one of the "Top 10 Louisiana Waters for Flyfishing Bass". Any questions about my rating of this lake were erased on May 6, 2010, when Regina Womack - fishing from a kayak - landed a 15.88 pound BASSZILLA on a weightless worm. It's currently number 2 on the LOWA State Record list (Rod-and-Reel Division). As for the drawdown... the lake has been down 6 feet since December. A drawdown serves several purposes. It exposes potential spawning areas to sun and air, killing submerged aquatic vegetation, drying out mushy silt bottoms, and allowing land vegetation to grow that provides nutrients for when the lake level is raised. It also concentrates prey to deeper water areas where predators can feed. Often bass put on substantial weight after a drawdown. I fished Valentine several times this past summer and fall. Most of what I caught on fly rod was under 14 inches. I'm excited about what surprises spring fishing - post drawdown - may offer on the long rod.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Louisiana - a Winter Wonderland. This morning areas of the state woke up to sneaux, from a slight dusting to accumulations of 3 inches (even more) in the Cenla area. Most elevated roads are shut down, schools, government agencies and businesses closed. Be very careful out there, if you must travel. Otherwise, enjoy the sneaux! And join us as we sing: Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,In the lane, snow is glisteningA beautiful sight,We're happy tonight,Walking in a winter wonderland.Gone away is the bluebird,Here to stay is a new birdHe sings a love song,As we go along,Walking in a winter wonderland.In the meadow we can build a snowman,Then pretend that he is Parson BrownHe'll say: Are you married? We'll say: No man,But you can do the job When you're in town. Later on, we'll conspire, As we dream by the fire To face unafraid, The plans that we've made, Walking in a winter wonderland.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
More brrrrrr! Hope everyone enjoyed the balmy 60-degree weather we had this weekend, because the cold is back. Yesterday was doggone chilly, but still mild compared to what's ahead. Thursday and Friday high temperatures across north and central parishes will be in the 30s and low 40s, with lows each night ranging from the mid-teens to the mid-twenties. There's even a slight chance of snow Thursday night and early Friday morning, as far southeast as Gonzales. The best chance for seeing the white stuff will be from Lake Charles to Cecilia north to Alexandria. After this batch of cold, we get warm for the weekend... if you count 50+ degrees as warm. Then comes another batch of cold next week. Recall when forecasters said this would be one of the coldest winters in decades? Sometimes when the weathermen are right it's worse than when they're wrong (which is often). In case you haven't heard... the long range forecast calls for a strong artic blast the weekend of Super Bowl.. the one being played in outdoors in New York. Contingency plans are being made by the NFL to move the game up or back if the forecast holds up.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Community Center on East Prien Road in Lake Charles. Tying begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 E. Pinhook Road in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Guest speakers will be Hobie Kayak Angler of the Year Brendan "Choupique" Bayard and IFA National Champion Steve "Gnatless" Lessard, for their "Secrets of a Tournament Kayak Fisherman". Should be a great program. Guests are welcome! On Thursday, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a public meeting on Caney Creek Reservoir, at Jimmie Davis State Park Conference Center. Time is 7:00pm. Biologists will give an update on issues related to Caney Creek, including results of recent fish population sampling. Starting Friday and continuing Sunday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual "Frozen Chozen" trip to the Little Missouri River in Southwest Arkansas, for rainbow and brown trout. Also starting on Friday, and running thru Sunday, it's the Houma Boat Show at the Terrebonne Civic Center in Houma. For times and fees, go to www.bacshows.com. On Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly 4th Saturday Tying Clinic. Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. There is no cost. Please bring your own tools, materials provided. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" course that morning. This is a free, on-the-water clinic covering situations, casting and rigging skills. Pre-registration is required, as spots are limited. To register, contact Alex Beane at (225)757-7286. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store will hold a free "Fly Tying 101" clinic in the afternoon. Materials and tools are provided. For more info, or to register, contact Alex at (225)757-7286.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
A new artificial reef for Lake Pontchartrain. Louisiana Sportsman is reporting that the US Army Corps of Engineers has approved construction of a new reef within casting distance of the Williams Boulevard Fishing Pier. The reef, constructed of 2,000 tons of limestone, will be 4 acres in size, and give kayakers an ideal short paddle hotspot. Funded by the LDWF and CCA-Louisiana, reef construction will begin on January 31 and should be completed in several days. For more details, go to this story on LA Sportsman website.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has adopted a Notice of Intent that would remove length regulations for black bass in Bayou Lake in Bossier Parish, Chicot Lake in Evangeline Parish, Cross Lake in Caddo Parish, Lake Rodemacher in Rapides Parish, Vernon Lake in Vernon Parish and Spanish Lake in New Iberia and St. Martin parishes. A recent biological evaluation determined that, for these waters, the length regulations are not effective due to habitat impairments and inadequate angler harvest of bass harvest smaller than the slot limit. DWF biologists will continue frequent sampling to monitor the bass population status, but the potential for overharvest is expected to be very low. With the removal of this regulation, the statewide creel limit of ten black bass per day will apply. Interested persons may submit related comments regarding the proposed rule by March 10, 2014, to Mike Wood, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Office of Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email at email@example.com.