Louisiana Fly Fishing

Poppertunity knocks. During November and December, speckled trout have a want to hit surface poppers. Sometimes the action is under diving birds, but often the only telltale sign is baitfish skittering the surface. And in some cases there's no sign at all. The trout will be active along shallow flats adjacent to deeper water. Best activity will be early and late, or on heavily overcast or foggy days. Toss the popper, strip a few inches, then pause. Pencil poppers (painted and foil), Crease Flies, Skipping Bugs, Pete's Perch Float poppers are among our favorites. But a "walk the dog" popper like Kirk Dietrich's Rabid Dog is also an effective option.

Fly Of The Month

Pete B's Shrimp. As part of our tribute to the return of the Star Wars saga, we continue our feature series of "Flies of the Dark Side" of the fly fishing force. These are NOT considered flies by traditionalists, and are not approved by the IGFA, LOWA, CCA, whoever-else-A. Flies that feature illegal components or illegal enhancements. We've shown you the "Flasher Fly" and now it's time for Pete B's Shrimp. Pete Bongiovanni of Prairieville has been tying this shrimp variation now for over 25 years. Folks who have seen Pete tie at numerous club and FFF events over the years are familiar with it. Tied on a Mustad 34007 hook, the antenna is turkey feathers lacquered, the legs are rubber or Silli-legs, the eyes are painted dumbbell eyes, the body is estaz. And then there's the tail - and yes, it's a pre-fabricated, molded plastic tail. Similiar to that used on the famous Tout lures. The fly works for reds, specks, and flounder and pretty good at times. Especially in the "Electric Chicken" color as shown (chartreuse and pink). Obviously, if you catch a big fish on this you can't use it for records or tournaments. But if the goal is just to have fun or bring a few home for the plate, then the fish don't care that it's not a "true" fly... and neither do we!

Featured Tackle

The Fish Grip. The Fish Grip is made by Norton United Plastics and marketed by Yak-Gear and The Fish Grip and More of Jackson, Mississippi. It's been the hottest accessory the last couple years among kayak fishing anglers, especially those fishing IFA, Kayak Bass, and other tournaments. Like most grippers, it allows anglers to safely handle a hooked fish. While there are many varieties of fish holders, many are heavy, do not lock in place, or fairly expensive. The Fish Grip is lightweight, inexpensive, and locks in place. Constructed of plastic and stainless steel, it's corrosion resistant. The Fish Grip also floats if dropped in the water. The wrist lanyard keeps it from getting pulled out of hand by a crazed redfish! A plastic bobber at the end of the lanyard allows it to fastened off with the fish still in grip while you reach for your camera and/or measuring board. Another great feature of these grips is that they come in several great colors, including an American (red, white, blue) and a GLOW (glow in the dark) for night anglers. MSRP is $15.95. The Fish Grip is available at Pack and Paddle in Lafayette, most Academy stores, and online at www.thefishgripandmore.com.


Thursday, November 26, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving! This day means many things to many different people. For most, it's a day of feasting with friends and family. The turkey, roast, venison, duck or other hearty meat that has been slowly cooked is delivered to the dining table accompanied by veggies, casseroles, and desserts (most notably, pumpkin pie). Here in Louisiana, there's a good chance that bird of choice is stuffed with crawfish or shrimp. Or that one of the "veggies" is sweet potatos or corn machcoux, and maybe even jambalaya. I'm getting hungry just tying this, lol! For some, today marks the first day of the Christmas shopping season. Sad but true... some retailers can no longer honor the tradition of Black Friday and keep today one for the family. And then there's the real purpose of this day - which many of us still honor - to give thanks for all the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us. This morning at mass, our priest mentioned that despite our hardships, we in Louisiana have much to be thankful for. The words "crawfish", "shrimp", "fish" came up... yes, we DO have much bounty that God has given us here in the Sportsmans Paradise. But as he pointed out, the best he's given us is each other. Just in the fly fishing and kayak fishing realms, there are so many wonderful folks. I'm so blessed to have met and known many of them and hope to meet many others in the coming year.

Thomas and Thomas has a new website. T&T made a big impression at ICAST back in July. Once considered one of the top 3 fly rod manufacturers, the Connecticut-based company underwent ownership changes and some hard times, and in the process, disappeared from a large number of fly shops. But 34-year-old coffee entrepeneur Neville Orsmand came forward and purchased the company. Living just a few miles from the factory, he's a hands-on owner with a strong passion for making T&T great again. His first move was genius - he brought back T&T founder and legendary rod designer Tom Dorsey. I can tell you that their new rods I tested at ICAST were as good as any I've ever cast! But of course, having a great product doesn't help if folks don't know about it. I've seen many good products suffer - even go out of business - because they had no website or a poor website. T&T recently upgraded theirs and it looks terrific. Just as important - it doesn't have all kinds of gimmicky stuff on the page that impedes downloading or navigating. Simple, yet elegant. Much like their fly rods. For more info, go to www.thomasandthomas.com.

Sunday, November 22, 2015
What's happening this week. It's Thanksgiving and that means holidays, Black Friday sales (some starting as early as Wednesday) and a light schedule for fly fishing and kayak fishing activities. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Kenny Robertson of LDWF Enforcement Division who will speak about regulations and safety. The public is welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. The public is welcome.

Louisiana has a new governor. In yesterday's runoff election, John Bel Edwards outgained Senator David Vitter for the state's highest office. The governor's position is crucial to sport fishermen, as the governor appoints the Secretary of Wildlife and Fisheries as well as members to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. The governor can also lead, support or veto legislation regarding fisheries. In the September issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine, each of the primary candidates was asked a series of questions regarding their history of outdoors and their positions on certain issues. Edwards mentioned that he grew up camping and floating the Tangipahoa River, and that he's caught a 200-pound hammerhead shark and killed a 1,700-pound moose. He plans to appoint someone to the LDWF Secretary position that is an outdoors person who believes in conservation and sound management. He supports lifting the restraints placed on the department by the Jindal administration, and will work to restore the funds raided from the Rigs to Reefs program.

Louisiana has a new lieutenant governor. Billy Nungesser, former Plaquemines Parish president, will serve in the state's second-highest position. The lieutenant governor administers the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which includes state parks. As such, this position can also be important for recreational fishing interests. Nungesser enjoys fishing and has been very active in conservation organizations over the years. I think he'll be a strong voice for sport fishermen and outdoors folks in general.

Restoration of False River moving forward. I've posted to this website, written in my Louisiana Sportsman column, mentioned it in one of my freshwater presentations - but I'll say it again. False River was once one of the best warmwater fly fisheries in the country! This oxbow lake near New Roads was the destination of most of my fly fishing trips from 1980 until it's demise 20 years later. LDWF rated it a quality fishery for bass and stripers. But the bluegill and redear is what made it truly special. Size-wise, not the big stumpknockers like nearby Old River or the Atchafalaya Spillway, but ridiculous numbers of 7 to 8-inch fish. And they absolutely loved wet flies and nymphs! Drainage of the island area led to sedimentation over the spawning beds, and runoff of heavy herbicide use led to the elimination of grasses that provided complex structure and the habitat for grass shrimp which was the forage for the sunfish and juvenile bass population. The False River Ecosystem Restoration Project is currently underway. It includes the creation of two islands at each end, that will receive dredge material and establish additional habitat. In addition, reefs are being built on each end. Grass is also re-establishing. To mitigate the root cause of sedimentation, the Corps of Engineers will modify the primary drainage canal into the lake, adding wiers and other structures to reduce the nutrient and sediment load. Yet another measure is a commercial netting season to eliminate rough species that compete unfavorably against game species. And if all that isn't enough, the lake has been stocked - and will continue to be stocked - with bass and redear sunfish to rebuild those fisheries. Pretty soon (we hope) fishing will be excellent again.

We're saddened to hear that Harvey Ragsdale has passed. The International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Southern Council sent out a memo that their former council president passed away Thursday at his home in Springfield, Missouri. He was 75. During the years in which Harvey served as president, and afterwards, as editor of the council newsletter (The Long Casts), several Louisiana clubs were affiliated with the Southern Council. The Long Casts newsletter under Harvey was always an enjoyable read, and many of us looked forward to each issue.

Sunday, November 15, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. 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. Pauls Lutheran Church Community Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion starts at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds it's monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Meeting time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: the upcoming Turkey Trout tournament, fishing reports, gear tip of the month, and elections for 2016 board. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tying tools, materials are provided. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their twice-monthly fly tying session at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "Five Great Locations for Kayak Fishing" seminar with local kayak anglers presenting each of their favorites in the southwest and south-central coastal areas. Time is 6:00pm. There is no cost. For more details, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold a free "Fly Fishing 101" clinic. The one-day, 2-hour course covers the basics of fly fishing and fly casting, with one hour of rigging and one hour of casting instruction. Other basics are discussed. There is no cost, but registration is required as class size is limited. To register, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will hold it's final tournament of the year, the annual "Where Y'ak Tournament" out of St. Bernard Parish. Entry fee is $20. The event is open to the public. Weigh-in is at Gulf Outlet Marina from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Heaviest bag of 10 trout and 1 flounder wins. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.

Houston has a new fly shop. For fly fishers in the Lake Charles area - or any of our readers in southeast Texas - the 2-hour drive (or less) to Houston provides several sources for fly tackle. Orvis, Bass Pro, Fishing Tackle Unlimited. But after the closure of iFly The Anglers Edge, there hasn't been an independent shop... until now. This weekend Bayou City Angler Fly Shop opened it's doors. Located at 3641 Westheimer Road, it offers a full line of products from Sage, Thomas and Thomas, Redington, Patagonia, Nautilus, Winston, Tibor, Rio, Umpqua and more. If this looks like a premium product fly shop, you're correct. Most box retailers target the lower end of the market, and BCA hopes to satisfy the demands for quality products. It describes itself as a "full service fly shop" which probably means additional services might include casting instruction to guided trips. Although the shop has a website (www.bayoucityangler.com) and a Facebook page, there's no mention of fly tying materials or tools. I hope that is in the works as The Anglers Edge carried a lot of hard-to-find saltwater tying materials.

We have a new World Champion Kayak Angler. The 5th annual World Kayak Fishing Championship Tournament sponsored by Hobie was held this past week on Shang Lake in China. The USA representatives included last year's World Champion, Steve Lessard from Geismar, Louisiana and fellow Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club member Benton Parrott from Daphne, Alabama who won the IFA Kayak Tour Championship earlier this month held out of Chalmette. After a tought 3 days on the water, Ma Xiao Hong of the China team, weighed in a 115-centimeter Yellow Cheek Carp to move into first place and take home the title. Second place went to Li Hai Yang - also of China - whose Top Mouth Culter earned him 45 points (tops for that species). While the USA team struggled - none finished in the top 5 - there's no question that the style of fishing and species of fish was of great advantage to the home team.

Only 10 days left to the first calendar deadline. Yep, it's that time of year again. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and 2016 Spring Calendar deadlines. If you have, or know of, a fly fishing event or kayak fishing event taking place in 2016, please check the LAFLYFISH Calendar and see if it's posted and the date and location are correct. Exact details are not required at this time. If the event is missing, or info is incorrect, please email me at catch(at)laflyfish(dot)com. Here's the 4-1-1: during the year I compile event dates for 6 different calendars with different deadlines for submission. Some like the LAFLYFISH.COM calendar are anytime, but preferably a week in advance. The calendar I post in my Fly Lines column in Louisiana Sportsman has a deadline of the 25th of two months prior. For example, March 25th for the May issue. However, there are a few annual publications as well, and these are the ones that have deadlines starting this month thru mid-December. In the January issue of Louisiana Sportsman, I typically writeup flyfishing events taking place in Spring/Summer that take place in Louisiana or within 8 hour drive of a metro area. Deadline for that is November 25. The Advocate newspaper that serves southeast Louisiana and Acadiana areas has an annual outdoors calendar that comes out the first Sunday in January, with event listings for the entire year. It's compiled by Outdoors Editor Joe Macaluso. I usually submit dates for all fly fishing and some kayak fishing to Joe, in the format he publishes. You can submit directly to Joe, but please copy me so I can add to the LFF Calendar. Deadline is December 15. The Outdoors Wire does an annual calendar for the upcoming year, as well as upcoming events on a monthly basis. Like the Advocate, I give them a complete listing. Deadline is December 15. Then there's annual calendars to websites. This is fly fishing only. I do this for a number of forums, so that search engines can readily find these events. It also serves as a common point source for other site calendars. Because some events kickoff the first weekend of January, the deadline is December 20.

Why I harp about calendar entries and deadlines. I spoke to someone last week who represents an organization (which I'll not identify to protect the guilty, lol). He told me that they don't have a date yet for their event, but it could be in May, and they still have plenty of time. Maybe not. Take a look at our LFF Calendar for May, 2016. As you can see, there's something going on every weekend. Any publicity is good, but early is better. Much better! Those events will get lots of early attention, be it search engines, Facebook or publications. Folks have a limited amount of time these days, and with so many events, do a lot of cherry-picking. And in many cases, plan weeks or months in advance. For example, with PaddlePalooza 2016, the tournament date was set a couple months ago so folks could schedule vacation. Even retired persons like myself, scheduling is an issue. Already most of my weekends for 2016 are committed. Recently I had to turn down an invitation to tie flies at one event because I'll be giving a program on fly fishing for bass at another event that same weekend. Again, if you look at the LFF Calendar, you'll see that a LOT of events have been posted. Should be another great year for fly fishing and kayak fishing fanatics in Louisiana!

LDWF telemetry tagging takes place this week in Lake Pontchartrain. It's part of an ongoing study by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries of speckled trout, red drum and bull sharks in the lake. Tagging events are held twice a year, in spring and fall. The department uses volunteer anglers to catch fish and carefully transport them to a nearby LDWF boat that weighs, measures and inserts an acoustic tag. Acoustic tags allow scientists to monitor fish movements in real time basis, thus giving more detailed looks at patterns and behavior. Based on information obtained from previous telemetry efforts, speckled trout are most strongly influenced by salinity. This probably doesn't surprise anyone. But what is interesting is that trout are present across the lake during the winter months. Red drum that have been tagged show a preference for shorelines regardless of salinity or time of year. Also, bull sharks are most influenced by water temperature, and are most common in summer and absent in winter. Anglers are encouraged to report all tagged fish recaptures - if caught, they should be released. Also, anglers wishing to participate in the tagging program are encouraged to contact LDWF.

Monday, November 9, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their annual banquet at Mandinas in Shreveport. Time is 6:00pm. NLFF club members that wish to go should contact Scott Irwin at 318-469-0854. This is also their annual fundraiser that helps bring in quality speakers and finance their annual Masters Clinic. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Fly tying setup begins at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. The fly tying will be the "Cajun Wooly Bugger". There will also be a knot clinic with the nail knot, surgeon knot, and perfection loop being tied. Also on the agenda: fishing reports and club news. The public is invited. Wednesday is Veterans Day. Please be sure to thank someone who has served our country. On Thursday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will host the "Down the Hatch Film Festival" at their store in Perkins-Rowe. These are a set of short films involving fly fishing adventures similiar to the Fly Fishing Film Tour. However for this show admission is free. Time is 7:00pm. There will be an in-store raffle benefitting the Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation. Please RSVP in advance as seats are limited. Again, this event is free! Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying clinic at St. Frances Church on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Starting Friday, it's the 10th annual Fall-N-Tide kayak fishing tournament hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club. Location is Cypress Cove Marina in Venice. Friday evening is the Captains meeting, where registration can still be accepted ($55 adult, $30 family member, 12 and under free, plus $10 late fee). The meeting will have a meal, and the registration also includes a fish fry on Saturday. There are 35+ potential places to be won in various categories (Slam, Ladies Slam, Youth Slam, Slot Red, Saddle Flounder, Speck, Leopard Red) plus nearly 200 raffle prizes, all to support BCKFC charities. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org. Also on Friday and culminating Saturday evening with their fish fry is the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual "Fall Catch and Eat" out of Golden Meadow. This casual event (non-tournament) is open to RSFF members and members of other recognized clubs, with fly anglers hoping to score on the marsh run of speckled trout and redfish - and other species - that have inundated the marshes with the cooler weather. For more info, go to www.rsff.org.

The November issue of Louisiana Sportsman is now available at sporting goods and convenience stores statewide. In this issue, the Fly Lines column is a continuation of new products for 2016. In the September issue, the column highlighted the many new rods coming out this fall, as well as a few that hit the market since last summer. For November, we look at reels, accessories, clothing, and fly tying equipment. In the "Paddles and Puddles" column, writer Chris Holmes tells why fall is the time for kayakers to fulfill their dreams of catching speckled trout. Chris mentions a variety of lures and proper colors to catch trout, as well as some sound advise on downsizing your tackle for the small plastic boat. In their Seafood Bible column, Jerald and Glenda Horst share Grand Isle recipes from Paul Frazier. Jerald's Creature Feature column is on the Gulf Pipefish, a most unusual species that occasionally visits freshwater. Feature articles include "Road Warriors" by Jerald Horst, documenting roadside pits and canals along Highway 1 from Fourchon to Grand Isle that are very productive in fall and winter (Mike LaFleur has posted more on this in our forum with respect to accessibility). Chris Ginn discusses fishing for reds at the Lafitte Wall; David Brown tells why laydowns are a good bet for winter bass and how to fish them; and Rusty Tardo explains why Delacroix has a fall festival that only fishermen have any interest in. Also NewsBreakers and regional fishing reports.

Sunday, November 1, 2015
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on 124 Girod Street in Mandeville. Gathering begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 6:30pm. Also on Wednesday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their quarterly meeting at Don's Seafood in Hammond. Time is 7:00pm. On the agenda: upcoming Fall-n-Tide and nominations for 2016 officers. Also lure raffle. Open to members and kayak curious guests. On Thursday, Gray Wolf Fly Shop will do their monthly informal tying sessions at the shop location on 5825 Southern Avenue in Shreveport. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the shop has some for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. On Saturday, the Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold their last paddle demo of the year at BREC Wampold Park near the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Boats will include 2016 models from Hobie, Wilderness Systems and others. At 10:00am, the Hobie Fishing Team will be giving rigging tips and fishing strategy for the upcoming Fall-N-Tide tournament on November 14th. Admission is free. Subject to the weather, so please call 1-800-414-4685 to confirm if weather looks bad.

November is here, and that means... Thanksgiving, the start of the Christmas shopping season, and continuous Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel. LOL! For those of us who prefer piscatory entertainment, November is the best marsh fishing month of the year. Prior to this weekend's weather, catches of redfish and speckled trout across southeast Louisiana was off the charts. Calcasieu will be messed up from the intrusion of freshwater for a couple weeks. Vermillion Bay was full of trout but winds have dirtied things up. Regardless of how conditions are now, if things settle out, and we get some good tides and north winds, expect hot trout action everywhere. Cooler water holds less sediment and organics, which means clearer water, which according to Cormier's 3rd Law of Fly Fishing, "Clear water favors the flyrodder". Good fishing + clear water = great fly fishing! Freshwater-wise, crappie action should be excellent as bass fishing slows just a notch. As for events this month, it's very quiet. The North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual banquet on Tuesday, November 10th. Kayak anglers can look forward to the biggest tournament of the fall, the 10th annual "Fall-N-Tide" tournament hosted by the Bayou Coast Club the weekend of November 14th.

Friday, October 30, 2015
The WarmFly.com Forum is back up. In case you hadn't checked our forums, or read on Facebook, or heard by grapevine, the largest - and best - forum dedicated to warmwater fly fishing is now back up and running! Our friend Larry Offner had to deal with a shutdown caused as a consequence of the webhosting service moving his website from one server to another. In most cases, the entire site goes down, but in the case of WarmFly, just the forum went down and that's a more difficult issue to tackle. Regardless, we're very happy it's back up.

From drought to saturated in one week. According to a report from Cooperative Extension Service Parish Agents, the heavy rains of last week were beneficial to farmers across north and central Louisiana. Keith Fontenot of Evangeline Parish stated that many farmers were grateful despite some storm-related issues. Especially crawfish farmers who were "singing in the rain" as their fields were no longer having to pump water. The significance is that the success of the spring crawfish season is dependent on the mudbugs having wet ground to bury for winter. As for fish? Well fish love lots of water, fishermen do not. As mentioned in a previous post, many of the lakes and ponds north of Highway 190 to the Arkansas border that were significantly low are already back to full level. I didn't get any good fishing reports this week from area waters until yesterday afternoon. But the return of a good bite will be short lived. Another round of storms is moving in starting this evening with precipitation estimates of 2 to 4 inches. It's expected to last thru Sunday statewide. For any anglers looking to fish the coast this weekend, in addition to braving thunderstorms you'll have to deal with very windy conditions. Golden Meadow has an 80 percent chance of rain Saturday with winds 20 to 25 knots. The forecast for Big Lake is 80 percent with winds 15 to 20 knots. Puddlers who heard about the good fishing in Lake Prien will be disappointed as a lot of river water has flushed out the high salinities and stained the lake quite a bit. So while I'm happy for the farmers, it's not good news for the fishermen. Best time of the year but the weekends continue to be a mess!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
The storm formerly known as Patricia continues to drench the Gulf Coast, although it appears the worst for Texas and Louisiana is over. But not without making a major impact. Last week, Pacific storm Hurricane Patricia made history by becoming the most powerful hurricane in the western hemisphere in modern times, achieving sustained wind speeds of 200 miles per hour. It moved northeast over the mountains of Mexico, weakening to a tropical depression. But the upper and mid-level remnants of the storm took up a stationary position in the northwest Gulf of Mexico this past weekend. The result was record amounts of rainfall. Corscicana, Texas, recieved more than 20 inches of rain as of yesterday evening! Here in the Cenla area, we had received less than 1 inch of rain since July 4th, and had been under a burn advisory for over a month. Many local ponds and lakes were 2-3 feet below normal. Not anymore... in fact, as I drove around yesterday it appeared many ponds were out of their banks! That's what happens when you get 6-7 inches of rain in one weekend. New Orleans International Airport recorded 8.67 inches of rain on Sunday, making it the fourth wettest calendar day on record since 1946. The storm also had a severe impact on the coast... heavy rain along with 20-25 knot winds from the south combined to create coastal flooding. The photo shown above comes courtesy of Tim Osborne of NOAA, provided by Mark Hester of ULL, and was taken along Highway 1 between Grand Isle and Fourchon. Flooding along the road caused it's closure over the weekend. This much rain in October is a major concern among coastal anglers as speckled trout usually migrate inland this time of year. While the trout aren't spawning - and therefore salinity is not as much an issue - it's water clarity that can be a problem. Already Lake Charles is seeing negative effects from the Calcasieu River. If we can avoid more rain this week, and get some good flushing tides, I expect "normal" marsh fishing to return with a week or two, depending on location. As for freshwater, this was a huge blow for those who enjoy river and creek fishing. The reports the last week had been nothing but fantastic "off the charts" for bass and sacalait (crappie, white perch) in many of the small bayous that run north and west of Opelousas to I-20. As of yesterday afternoon, most look better for whitewater rafting than for fly fishing!

Sunday, October 25, 2015
What's happening this week. It's Halloween week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Meeting time is 6:30pm, with casting prior to the meeting starting at 5:30pm (weather permitting). Morris Houck will talk about fishing opportunities in the Lake Charles area, both fly and conventional. The public is welcome. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn at 1400 Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. Visitors are welcome. For more info, go to www.finaddictflyfishers.blogspot.com. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools if you have them, otherwise the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more info, go to ww.rsff.org. Starting Friday afternoon, and continuing thru Sunday, it's the annual "Southern Fly Fishers Rendezvous". More on that later. Saturday is Halloween. More on that later. Also, on Saturday and contiuing Sunday, the North Arkansas Fly Fishers will hold a fly fishing seminar featuring Gary Borger at the Gastons Visitors Center at Bull Shoals Dam in Cotter, Arkansas. Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm both days. There is no cost. For more info, go to www.northarkansasflyfisher.org.

The Southern Fly Fishers Rendezvous perhaps better known as the North Toledo Bend Rendezvous, or just plain "Rendezvous" takes place this weekend at North Toledo Bend State Park in Zwolle. It's one of the largest casual gatherings of fly fishers in the country each fall. While there are no planned activities, it features a large collection of fly tiers who sit and tie in the large dining room, as well as casting, fishing, and food. Co-sponsored by the IFFF Texas Council and IFFF Gulf Coast Council, Rendezvous offers both lodging and meals. For a nominal fee, attendees can stay in one of the bunkhouses Friday and Saturday night, or just for one night. Those who wish to attend just for Saturday are encouraged to make a small donation to offset the costs of rental. While there are no organized activities, tying is the reason so many folks come. Whether it's poppers, streamers, dry flies, deer hair, tube, realistic, epoxy, or other type flies, you'll find some very accomplished tiers tying the type of fly you're interested in. For more details on Rendezvous, check out Kyle Moppert's (Bowfin47) post in our General Forum.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Cooler and wetter. That's the outlook for the Gulf Coast for the upcoming 2015-2016 winter season, according to the folks at NOAA. The predictions were released late last week, and much of the forecast is based on the continuation of an El Nino event that started last spring. It's been the strongest El Nino in 20 years, responsible for severe drought in northern and central Louisiana, as well as parts of east Texas, southeast Oklahoma, and southern Arkansas. Oddly, as a winter event it could more than compensate for the drought. What about sneaux, you ask? No predictions were officially made, but I did see one graphic associated with a forecast that shows an "above average" chance of the white stuff for Texas and Louisiana. Two years ago, here in the Alexandria area we had five - yes, five - days when flakes came down. The heaviest depositing over 2 inches on my front lawn. Last year, nada. Not a flake. So I'll take the average and guess 3 sneauxfalls this winter.

New for 2016 - Redington Hydrogen fly rods. In my August column in Louisiana Sportsman, I mentioned a whole bunch of new fly rods for 2016. One series that I failed to mention was the Redington Hydrogen. It wasn't an oversight, in fact, there's much to like about this rod. But since I didn't get a chance to cast one (nor did I get that chance at the IFFF Southern Fly Fair, but that opportunity is coming up soon), it wouldn't have been fair to rate it among those rods that had been cast. Some of the early reviews have been very positive. And my own experience with the newer Redington rods (I own four different models) since they were acquired by Far Bank Enterprises (who also own Sage) has been terrific. They still fall just a tad short of the Made-in-USA rods, but at much lower prices my pocket book isn't complaining one bit! Their new Hydrogen series appears to be a slightly faster, much lighter in weight alternative to their Classic Trout series. The 9'0" 5-weight model weighs in at only 2.5 ounces! Compare that to a Winston B3X which weighs 3.3 ounces. This low weight is obtained by using single-foot guides and a skeletonized, anodized aluminum reel seat. There are 8 models ranging from a 7'6" 2-weight to a 9'0" 6-weight, as well as 3 models 10-feet and longer for Euro-nymphing. Hydrogen rods sell for $299, and include cordura rod tube and a lifetime warranty.

Sunday, October 18, 2015 [updated 10:00pm]
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Pauls Lutheran Church Commnity Center on Prien Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. This month's pattern is the Seaducer. 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 Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Guest speaker will be Adventure Fishing World Champion Casey Brunning. Casey will talk about Adventure Fishing, and how it's unique format puts an emphasis on teamwork, stamina, and time management. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, it's the annual CCA STAR banquet at Live Oak Arabians on Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Time is 5:30pm to 10:00pm. Tickets are $50 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and includes admission, dinner, and open bar. In addition to prizes awarded to winners, there's raffles and a live auction. For more info, contact Rad Trascher at rad@ccalouisiana.com. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold their monthly general meeting at the bait shop across the parking lot from the Blue Crab Restaurant, 7900 Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm. Tom Tripi will be speaking about tying realistic foes. The public is welcome. On Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs holds their monthly fly tying clinic. Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. Bring your tools, or tools available for use. Materials are provided. Also on Saturday and continuing Sunday, Three Rivers Fly Shop in Broken Bow, Oklahoma will host the "Entomology for Fly Fishers" workshop. Cost is $75. The course gives an overview of the arthropods, both aquatic and terrestial, that are of importance to the fly fisherman. For more info, or to register, go to www.flyfishingfork.com.

A rough week ahead for the coast. The first strong cold front of the season moved thru the state late Friday, and brought a change in dynamics to our fall weather. For most of the state, we'd been having cool nights in the 50s, only for daytime temperatures to warm up into the high 80s and low 90s because of very low humidity. This front will not only keep temperatures down, but returning moisture later this week will enhance the night chill. But temperatures are half the story, interaction between the front and a Gulf low will produce strong winds on the coast thru Thursday. Then sometime around Thursday, a low pressure system in the Bay of Campeche is expected to move into the northern Gulf, as anything from a tropical disturbance to a tropical storm. That's disappointing news to coastal anglers, as marsh fishing was terrific this past week at locations such as Delacroix, Hopedale, Point-aux-Chenes, Golden Meadow, Vermillion Bay, and Big Lake. On the positive side, the return of Gulf moisture will bring a good chance of rain to the northern and central parishes which desperately need relief from the drought.

The 2016 Calendar is coming together. It looks to be another busy year for fly fishing and kayak fishing activites, both within Louisiana and within the 8-hour surrounding radius. If your club or organization hasn't set a date for your 2016 event, now is the time. Not only is it prudent for planning, but also to take advantage of free publicity. Every year, myself and other writers/bloggers try to give as much promotion to these events as possible, provided they meet deadlines. Here are the deadlines for the types of calendars I maintain each year: (1) the Google-based calendar for various websites (like this one). These are living documents that can be added to at any time. (2) On a monthly basis, I put a calendar in my Fly Lines column in Louisiana Sportsman magazine. The deadline is 8 weeks in advance. (3) The annual outdoors calendar published by a few hardcopy or online sources at the beginning of the calendar year. That last sourcing has a deadline between Thanksgiving to mid-December. I suggest that folks check the LFF Calendar. If you see an event that's missing, or a date that's incorrect, please email me with the event specifics and/or correct date.

Thursday, October 15, 2015
The IFFF Gulf Coast Council Fly Fishing Fair was held last month in Ocean Springs, and according to GCC President Kyle Moppert, it was another successful conclave. The International Federation of Fly Fishers, Gulf Coast Council, consists of clubs and members from Louisiana, Mississippi, coastal Alabama, and northwest Florida. Among the activities at the Fair were annual recognition awards announced at the banquet. Here were the honorees: Bill Waters, Man of the Year; Beverly Vidrine, Woman of the Year; Peter Allen, Fly Tyer of the Year; Joe Bandera, Education Award; Fly Fishers of Northwest Florida, Education Award; Mississippi Coast Fly Fishers, Community Award; Eastern Shore Fly Fishers, Conservation Award; Historic Ocean Springs Fly Fishers, Fellowship Award; Linda and Walter McLendon, Friends of the Council; and Ken Koffel and Jeff Deuschle, Council Award of Excellence. For 2016, the Gulf Coast Fly Fair will be held on September 16-17, with location returning to the Ocean Springs Civic Center.

Benton Parrot is the IFA Kayak Fishing National Champion after measuring in a two-day total of 121.38 inches during this past weekend's tour finale held out of Chalmette, Louisiana. With the win, he also garnered IFA Kayak Angler of the Year honors. The IFA Kayak Tour consists of single-day, artificial-only, catch-photo-release of one (1) redfish of any size and one (1) speckled trout of any size. The regional qualifiers move on to the national championship - usually held in October - where it's a two-day event with the totals of both days added up. Parrott, of Daphne, Alabama, has frequently been among the top kayak anglers in the country, and to win, he had to stave off strong challenges from World Champion kayak angler, Steve "Gnatless" Lessard of Geismar, and former IFA National Champion and Angler of the Year, Brendan "Choupique" Bayard of Baton Rouge. Like nearly all the contestants, Parrott fished the Grand Isle area. During prefishing, Parrott said he was unable to find any trout. But he didn't have problem with bull reds... his very first cast on the first day of IFAKT-NC he hooked and landed a 41.75-inch red on Berkeley Gulp. He then made the 45-minute trip north to the marsh for specks and got a couple of keepers. On Day 2, he landed a 44.3-inch red, then worked diving birds for a school of trout. Once he had one trout, he went for an upgrade working a shoreline and managed an 18-inch trout. That provided him the winning margin. Turns out everyone else was doing great with bull reds, but having trouble finding big trout. Benton has yet one more challenge ahead of him for this year - he will join Steve Lessard and Dave Jaskiewicz as members of Team USA for the Hobie Fishing World Championship November 9-15 on Shang Lake in China.

New for 2016 - Shorelander Portage Shoe. Whether fishing from a kayak or wet wading, it's nice to have lightweight shoes that protect the feet from hazards underneath and above (the sun's UV rays). Yet don't keep them soaked in water. Options include wading booties, Five Fingers shoes, and others, but the slip-on market is limited. At ICAST in July, Striker Elements expanded the options with the release of their Shorelander Portage slip-on. The mesh uppers and bright colors keep the feet cool (as opposed to those black shoes that boil your feet in the summer sun). The draining insoles and side release ports drain water. In addition, the insole is removable. All materials are waterproof or quick-dry. Shorelander shoes come in both mens and womens sizes. MSRP is $89.95.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Fall fishing is fly fishing. The October 2015 issue of Coastal Angler magazine (aka, Angler Magazine in some markets) is now available for free at many tackle stores and bait shops across Louisiana. This issue features several articles on fly fishing, including the usual columns on our favorite way to fish. And why not? Fall is here and the fish are happy to eat flies! John Mauser writes about fly rodding for false albacore in North Carolina (although I've done it in Pensacola so it applies equally to the Gulf Coast). There's also a short article on fly fishing for tarpon, but it's more teaser than informative. Other fly fishing articles cover the rivers of Yellowstone for various species of trout, and Lake Okeechobee on fly. Fly Fishing Columnist Conway Bowman talks about bonefish, and Mark Sosin discusses sight fishing. There's also regional fishing reports and news and events. Depending on what part of the state you live (or fish) the reports will be different. There's also one column that often goes unnoticed, but it shouldn't. And that's John Folse's "A Taste of Louisiana". This month's feature is on a roasted garlic and shimp tossed pasta. We tried this recipe the other night and WHOA! Give it a try and you'll agree!

Gary Borger will be conducting a clinic at Gaston's White River Resort Visitor Center on Saturday, October 31st and Sunday, November 1st. Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm each day. Sponsored by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, the event is free and open to the public. Borger is one of the most recognized names in fly fishing. A professor emeritus at University of Wisconsin, he's written over 10 books on fly fishing, produced or featured in over 17 educational videos, published countless articles, and been involved in a number of conservation groups. And yes, he was also consultant to Robert Redford's movie "A River Runs Through It". A few years back he was featured speaker for the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual "Red Stick Day", and put on an extraordinary presentation. As for the NAFF Clinic coming up the end of this month, the Saturday session will include powerpoint presentations on fishing the film, and art of the dry fly, along with demonstrations of various types of casts. Sunday session will include "Reading the Water", "Dirty Long Flies" and matching the hatch, and line management. Coffee and donuts will be provided each day and lunch will be available. For more info, go to www.northarkansasflyfisher.org.

Sunday, October 11, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, it's Columbus Day. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. For this meeting, there will be a gathering at the boat launch at 6:00pm to demo several kayaks courtesy of Harbuck Outdoors. At 7:00pm, the meeting will begin with guest speaker Adam Harbuck, owner of Harbuck Outdoors in Shreveport, which specializes in kayaks and kayak fishing accessories. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church Community Center off Highway 1 bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Paul Chance will discuss fishing with bamboo rods and Burley Johnson will demo the fly of the month. The public is invited, and attendees are encouraged to bring tying tools to tie. If no tools, a few sets will be available for use. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month's technique will focus on various ways to weight a fly when needed. The public is invited, beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Frances Church Hall at 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. On Saturday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "Kayak and Canoe Demo Day" at Vermillionville Pond in Lafayette. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. There is no cost. Models for trying include Jackson, Hobie, Native, Wilderness Systems, Diablo, NuCanoe, Hurricane and BOTE. Also on Saturday, it's the annual "Wild Things" celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week at the Big Branch NWR on Highway 434 in Lacombe. Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm. Admission and all tours and programs are free. Wild Things is sponsored by the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges. Activities include speakers, live animals, demos on wildlife crafts, gardens and ground tours, youth wildlife art competition and more. In addition, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will again be giving fly tying lessons to kids. Food and drink sales at Wild Things help to support the event and conservation projects.

Round 2 of the Kayak Anglers Choice Awards ends tonight at 7:00pm CST. Voting is open to everyone online. Simply go to www.yakangler.com/choice to cast your votes. The KACA is a joint venture between YakAngler.com and KayakFishingRadio.com to honor individuals, organizations, enterprises in the kayak fishing world. The voting goes through 3 rounds. As forum member Fishtaco posted recently, several Louisiana-based anglers, clubs and businesses were nominated. In Round 2, the Louisiana-based survivors are few: Grand Isle for Best Fishing Location and Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club for best forum. Of course, I ask all fellow puddlers to go to the YakAngler.com and participate in the voting. But also take a look at some of the nominations. Particularly check out Christina Weber and Rob Choi. Good stuff there.

Monday, October 5, 2015
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders will hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting begins at 6:30pm. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the CCA Metro New Orleans Chapters will host a Fall Fishing Seminar at Bryan Chevrolet at 8213 Airline Drive in Metairie. Time is 6:30pm. A $5 door donation is requested. Jambalaya dinner will be provided; there will also be beverages, raffles and door prizes. Among the speakers are charter captains CT Williams, Ahab Broadus, Mike Gallo, Dudley Vandenborre, Theophile Bourgeois, and Peace Marvel. Call 504-832-9903 for more info. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on Girod Street in Mandeville. Gathering begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. On Thursday, the Pontchartrain club holds their monthly fly tying session at 200 Mariners Plaza in Mandeville. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. For details, contact Colin McCormick 985-264-3448. Starting Friday and continuing thru the weekend, it's the 10th annual Kayak Boondoggle in Mandeville. More on that later. On Saturday, it's the 2nd weekend of Orvis Fall Days at Orvis-Baton Rouge located in Perkins-Rowe. It begins with "Fly Fishing 201" class. This is for anyone who has completed the Orvis Fly Fishing 101 class and wishes to take their skills to the next level. Students will meet at the store and head to a nearby pond for the class. It's free, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. Later that day, from 12:00 noon, is a free class at the store, "Adding Distance to Your Cast". If you wish to cast another 10 feet, or get the same distance in fewer false casts, or wish to double haul, bring your rod and sign up. For more info, call Orvis at 225-757-7286.

The Plastic Armada invades southeast Louisiana this weekend! Most of the world's supply of polyethylene could be on the water this weekend in the coastal areas of SELA. Here's a rundown of all that's happening: Kayak Fishing Boondoggle. This is the kayak fishing community's version of a fly fishing conclave. Not a tournament, but seminars, workshops, social activities, exhibitors, raffles, food, camping, and much more. Boondoggle is sponsored by YakAngler.com, and is held twice a year. Unlike most IFFF conclaves, the location of Boondoggle moves around so folks all across the country have an opportunity to attend and participate. This weekend's location will be Fountainbleu State Park in Mandeville. For complete info, go to the KFB portal at YakAngler.com. Also, the entire campground has been reserved for this event, so if you wish to camp at Fountainbleu, you need to do so thru the KFB portal at YakAngler.com. Another kayak event this weekend is the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour National Championship with activities out of Chalmette. Over 200 qualifiers from across the country will converge for the Captains meeting Friday evening, then fishing on Saturday and Sunday. Unlike most kayak fishing tournaments, the IFA-KT has open boundaries, so expect most of the participants to hit Grand Isle and Hopedale where bull reds have been running, and also Golden Meadow, Leeville, Port Sulphur and Shell Beach where good trout reports have been coming from. Highway 1 will see a LOT of kayak action this weekend because in addition to the IFA-KT, there's the Fish the Bayou Tournament out of LaRose Civic Center. The Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will be participating as one of their series tournaments. In addition, there's expected to be between 50 and 100 non-club puddlers participating in the Kayak Division. The FTB tournament had one of the largest kayak divisions of any "general" fishing tournament last year, and it's expected to be larger this year. FTB is a go-anywhere tournament, but most will fish along Highway 1 or Pointe-aux-Chenes or Montegut. Entry fee is $25. Categories include Slot Red Stringer (3 fish under 27"), Speckled Trout Pair (2 fish), and Trash Fish (heaviest any other species). In addition to the fishing, there's Cajun food, music, raffles and door prizes. All participants recieve a t-shirt and jambalaya dinner or shrimp fettuccini at the weigh-in. For more info, go to www.drmemorial.org. As if all this kayak activity isn't enough, Backpacker of Lafayette will hold another of it's free "Paddle Demo Days" at River Ridge in Lafayette. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Boats include models from Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayak, Perception, Mad River, Dagger and YOLO. Yet another kayak activity... the Bayou Vermillion District is holding a "Beginners Canoe/Kayak Class" at Vermillionville in Lafayette this Saturday. Time is 8:30am to 11:30am. The cost is only $5 per person, but pre-registration is required at class size is limited to 24 persons. The class will cover the basics of safety, stability, paddle strokes and techniques for manuevering and propelling. For more info or to register, go to www.bayouvermiliondistrict.org.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Fish Louisiana portal now up. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has created a portal (website) for recreational fishing. The site is "Fish Louisiana" and the URL is www.fishla.org. For anglers, it's much easier to navigate than the current website and contains a lot more features. For example, The Fishing Professor can help you plan a fishing trip based on historical reports for freshwater, or for saltwater, the most recent reports from Louisiana Creel surveys, telling what species was being caught. The freshwater forecasts are broken down by area (we'd prefer to see something like what Mississippi has, but this is a good start). Among the dozens of other features are such things as Species Field Guide, Habitat Explorer, Seafood Recipes, LA License to Win Program, LA Tagging Program, Family and Youth Fishing Programs (including the LDWF Community Fishing Program known as "Get Out and Fish!"). One of my favorites in the new portal was the Species Field Guide. Click on any species on the initial page, it takes you to a page with info on that species, some quick facts about that fish in Louisiana, including the state record. There's tips on how to catch that species, where to find them, even videos and fishing methods (fly fishing is described). The list of species is quite comprehensive (even non-fish are identified) and for those who have lobbied for LDWF acknowledgement of the Rio Grande Cichlid, good news! The Rio is one of the species on the list. Now if only we can get LOWA to add Rios to the state record listing. Yet another feature of the portal - again there are dozens! - is an Event Calendar. Visitors can find out about upcoming tournaments and other activities (including fly fishing and kayak fishing events). The portal is still in development stage and may not work as well on some smartphones as it does on a PC. Also, the LDWF is welcoming any feedback on the site. Again, the portal site is www.fishla.org.

LDWF Get Out and Fish! Community Fishing Program continues to grow. The latest addition is Zemurray Park in Hammond. This week, 300 pounds of adult channel catfish will be stocked in the pond in advance of a fishing rodeo this coming Saturday, October 3rd. The rodeo this Saturday will have categories for Little Angler (8 and under), Junior Angler (ages 9-15), Adult Angler (16 and older). The first 100 registrants in attendance receive a free rod and reel and goody bag. Each participant will also be entered into a drawing to win prizes. Incidently, the GOAF program currently has one other location, Girard Park in Lafayette, and has a couple other locations under consideration including Alexandria. The ponds are stocked with catfish in warm months and with rainbow trout in winter.

We also missed this on week's happenings. Pack and Paddle will hold another of their "Kayaking 101 - Basic Skills for Flatwater Kayaking" workshops this Thursday afternoon at Lake Martin. Cost is $45 per person, and pre-registration is required. Normally these workshops book up a couple weeks in advance, but this one still has a few seats left. Speaking about Pack and Paddle, this Saturday is their annual "Outdoor Gear Garage Sale". If you've never been to one of these, it's amazing all the stuff that's for sale and some good bargains for puddlers too. Here's how it works... bring your gear (kayak, camping, fishing, etc) to PnP before Saturday. They'll tag it with a price you want to sell for consignment. If it sells, you get 75% amount in cash or 100% of in-store credit. The sale begins at Saturday at 8:00am. And there will be a line! So if you're looking to buy, better get there early.

Monday, September 28, 2015
The Governor's Race, Wildlife and Coastal Restoration. The October issue of Louisiana Sportsman is now available statewide. And with the gubernatorial primary taking place October 24th, the four major candidates for the state's highest office - Scott Angelle, John Bell Edwards, Jay Dardenne and David Vitter - share their plans for LDWF, coastal restoration, and other issues of interest to sportsmen and conservationists. I urge LFF readers to pick up this issue, become informed, and most important, vote! In my "Fly Lines" column - entitled "End Your Crustacean Frustration" - we explore crab flies and how to fish them. A few redfish experts who routinely fish, and have designed crab patterns, share their opinions and advise. Learn what Bill Laminack, Tim Borski, Tristan Daire, and Mike LaFleur have success with. As with every issue, we also give the Monthly Fly Fishing Forecast and Upcoming Events. In his "Paddles 'N Puddles" column, Chris Holmes discusses what beginners to kayak fishing need to learn, and what avenues exist for getting the fast track to purchasing the right boat, and success on the water. In his "Creature Feature" column, Jerald Horst tells why Knobbed Porgies may look funny, but they should be kept for the table. In their "Seafood Bible" column, Jerald and Glenda Horst give recipes for Greek Shrimp Salad and Trout Menuniere, courtesy of Collette Weaver and Ron Harris of Slidell. In his "Marine Electronics" column, Allan Tarvid tells us why despite high-tech developments in sonar, the basics remain the same. Feature articles of interest to anglers include: Top 5 sight-fishing tips for reds, South Louisiana fall bass, flounder opportunities in Pointe-aux-Chenes, keys to Fall speck fishing at Shell Beach and Hopedale, Monster trout this month around Lake Pontchartrain causeway, and fishing gifts for Christmas (it's not too early says author David Brown - and we agree!).

Sad news from the IFFF Southern Council. One of the headliners for this weekend's conclave, Lawrence Finney, will not be attending due to his current hospitalization and ongoing battle against esophageal and stomach cancer. Finney was in remission until recently. His workshops and seminars will be cancelled. I was especially looking forward to his program on "Fly Fishing in Ireland" being that I'm part Irish and fishing that country has been on my to-do list for some time. I'm even more disappointed about his situation... dealing with cancer is a beotch! We all join Larry Wegmann, SOC President, in praying for Lawrence to regain his health and get back soon to the water.

New book - Modern Terrestials. Just released from Headwater Books is a new publication, "Modern Terrestials: Tying & Fishing the World's Most Effective Patterns", co-written by Rick Takahaski and Jerry Hubka. The publication showcases many dozens of fly patterns for hoppers, ants, crickets and other terrestials that trout and other freshwater fish feed on. There's also some mention of tying techniques. While it's rated by reviewers as an excellent source for pattern reference with recipes for each pattern, with hundreds of high quality full color photos, it lacks other substantial information such as origin of the pattern, how to fish it, and so on. Since this is a fault with many fly tying books, it's unlikely to hurt sales. Still, count me among those tiers who like to know the background and history of a fly. One thing about fly books such as this - even if you're not a tier, the book comes in very handy for fly identification. There's been a lot of new terrestials created in the last decade that aren't referenced in other publications. A point to consider. Another consideration - being a reference book means sometimes needing quick access to certain fly patterns. The spiral bound format is a great help here. Even moreso considering the book is a whopping 856 pages long! If you download the Kindle version, it's 30 megabytes in size. The MSRP for Modern Terrestials is $39.95, but it's available from Amazon for $28.64 in spiral-bound book, or $9.99 as a Kindle book. It can also be ordered from Barnes and Nobles for $28.75.

Sunday, September 27, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant at the Ramada Inn on 1400 Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Meeting time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Casting begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 6:30pm. This month's guest speaker is renown bamboo rod maker Harry Boyd, who will talk about the history and construction of cane rods. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Orvis store in Perkins-Rowe in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, if none the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. On Thursday, Gray Wolf Fly Shop will hold another of their fly tying workshops at their location at 5825 Southern Avenue in Shreveport. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tools, materials provided. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Southern Fly Fishing Fair (aka, conclave) at Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. For more details, go to www.ifffsoc.org. Also starting Friday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers' annual Fall warmwater outing to Lake Concordia. For more details, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold a free Paddle Demo Day at BREC's Wampold Park near the LSU Campus. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Please call 225-925-2667 to confirm if weather issues arise. On Sunday, Backpacker of Lafayette will hold a free Paddle Demo Day at Sugar Mill Pond in Lafayette. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. At both demos, Backpacker will have boats from Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayak, Perception and YOLO for testing.

Watching the Gulf. We've enjoyed a Summer (and Fall) free of tropical activity off the Louisiana coast. In large part to a strong ridge of high pressure that's also been responsible for severe drought in western parishes, and above-average temperatures statewide the last part of September. However, we're still in hurricane season. It's not uncommon for storms to form in the southwest Gulf during late September and early October. As of 11:00pm last night, the National Hurricane Center was monitoring an area of low pressure over the Yucatan. Investigate 99L as it's called, is being given a 40% chance of tropical formation before making landfall in the northeastern Gulf coast by Tuesday. My guess is this will impact fishing plans for the coast. Let's hope that's the extent of 99L.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Summer holding on... barely. It may be the first day of Fall, but it doesn't feel like it. I got back late Monday from two weeks in Wyoming and what a shock! From freezing temperatures and snow on the tail end of our stay there, to 90 degrees. Yesterday a moderate north wind and low humidity made it somewhat comfortable despite the high temps again hitting near 90 degrees. The 7-day forecast calls for more of the same here in the Cenla area... highs in the low 90s and lows in the mid 60s. We're still a bit above average for this time of the month. But as I've said many times before, it's radiative cooling that counts. And the water temperatures continue to decline ever so slowly. I've been getting reports of trout catches improving on interior lakes such as Catfish, Prien, Chien, Sanbois, Borgne, etc. I still think we need that one big cool front - the one that usually comes the last week of September or first week of October - to accelerate the push of trout inside, the big reds back to the ponds, and of course, move those peskies (catfish, ladyfish, pinfish) offshore. As for freshwater, the crappie, redears and white bass are on schedule for the start of their Fall run.

Geirach and Gowdy among 2015 HOF inductees. On October 10th, the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Livingston Manor, New York, will hold it's annual induction ceremony. Each year, the Museum recognizes the lifetime achievements of individuals who have made major contributions to the sport of fly fishing. HOF members include Theodore Gordon, Lefty Kreh, Lee Wulff, Bob Clouser, Zane Grey, Dave Whitlock, Robert Redford and 67 others. The list of 2015 inductees includes: Bill Elliot, John Gierach, Curt Gowdy, and Charles Ritz. Elliot is an artist and illustrator whose works have appeared in 38 books and several magazines including Field and Stream. Ritz was one of the early 20th century flycasting wizards. Not only an instructor, he designed fly rods including a fiberglass rod called the LL/LF (Long Lift, Long Flex) and developed a casting technique for it. While Elliot and Ritz may not be well known, Gierach and Gowdy certainly are. Just about every longtime fly angler I know has one (or more) of John Gierach's books. Among the 20 titles are "Trout Bum", "Where the Fish Are As Long As Your Leg", "Sex, Death and Flyfishing". He's also written numerous columns for various magazines. The Wall Street Journal has called Gierach "the voice of the common angler". Curt Gowdy is one of the top sportcasters in broadcasting history - and an avid fly angler. But his contribution to our sport came as host of "The American Sportsman" on ABC which ran from 1965 to 1984. It was that program that introduced many of the legends of fly fishing - and the sport itself - to many millions of Americans, and remains the most popular outdoors show in TV history. Congratulations to all 2015 HOF inductees!

LDWF opens a new kayak launch site. For most kayak anglers, one of the joys of the sport is being able to launch at just about any public access to water. However, when such access is limited, or when parking is an issue, a dedicated kayak launch is a dream come true for puddlers! The growing popularity of kayak fishing has brought attention for the need for kayak-specific launches. In recent years, saltwater launches have been created at Grand Isle (next to LDWF facility), Leeville (end of road) and Lake Prien (LaFleur Park in Lake Charles). A few marinas including Topwater Marina (Leeville), Bridgeside (Grand Isle) and Sweetwater Marina (Delacroix) have kayak launches. Freshwater kayak launches are sparse but here in the Cenla area several lakes have areas for puddlers to launch. LDWF has been looking to add kayak launches whenever it adds, or upgrades, a boat launch. The latest is on their Ben Lilly Conservation Area which provides access to Bayou Bartholomew. While the bayou is popular with anglers, the majority of paddlers are recreational, enjoying the scenery and wildlife it has to offer. Regardless, expect puddlers to utilize this new launch immediately as "white perch" fishing is coming into season.

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