Lots of Fish and Lots of Rain
It has been a busy, wet, fish-filled second quarter in South Louisiana with significant portions of the spring fishing season effectively washed out by spring rains. In total we’ve seen just shy of 50″ of rain across most of the region since January 1. A near 50% increase over historic averages.
The result has been high, stained waters and more days rained out than I’d like to remember. Still, I’ve managed to catch more than a few fish, and my 2021 Species List has more than doubled since the beginning of April.
More Mixed Bags and Bayou State Catches
Mixed Bag/Life Listing was a major point of emphasis in my First Quarter Review. And it remains a continued point of emphasis as I begin my Second Quarter summary as well.
Concentrating on familiar waters, and occasionally venturing to areas previously unexplored, I’ve managed to chalk up an additional seven Bayou State species over the past 90 days. In all, my in-state total has now reached 18 species including two lifers (Rio Grande Cichlid & White Bass) on the year.
While most of these trips were too brief or uneventful to warrant a post of their own, an eventful day of urban carp fishing in late April made its way to the front page in early May.
While satisfied with my progress to date, I’ll have to up my game moving forward as I now find myself trailing in the Kisatchie Fly Fisher’s annual Mixed Bag competition.
25 on the Fly
While weather played a major role in limiting my time on local waters these past three months, so too did The Mayfly Project’s 25 on the Fly tournament. Slated for late May, preparation for and participation in the charity’s first annual mixed bag tournament became a focal point during the first half of the prior quarter. Tying focused on the species we would be targeting as did my efforts on the water here in Louisiana.
When the time finally came, my wife and I loaded the car with gear and made the 20 hour drive to upstate NY. Our longest trip by far since pre-COVID, four of 12 days were slated for fishing. And Jake and I certainly made the most of it.
Tournament: Day 2 (Rhode Island)
While we fell a Largemouth Bass short of a Top 3 finish in a field of 45, I can still say it was the most fun I’ve had fishing in a long time. Over four days, we covered 600 miles, a dozen bodies of water, and fished nearly 50 hours across two states. In that time, we landed over a dozen species. Many fly rod lifers, at least for me. And as a result, my overall species list has reached 28 on the year!
On the Vise
Back home on the vise, I found myself alternating between 25 on the Fly preparation and filling warmwater boxes for use closer to home. The result was an interesting mix of flies ranging from large streamers and foam-bodied terrestrials to tiny nymphs and buggy bluegill flies. In all, ten new patterns were added to the site’s pattern index with many being responsible for the fish seen above.
Click the images below to check out any that you may have missed.
The Months Ahead
Summer is here in south Louisiana, and, should the rains ever cease, that means heat and humidity. As an angler, that equates to early alarms and days on the water ending before 10 AM. Moreover, that means finding ways to stay cool, and I expect a lot of wet wading to fill my free time.
That said, such wet wade trips offer limited opportunities to improve on current species list. And any hope of reaching the 30-35 species range by October 1 will require the occasion foray into the heat.
With few “easy” species left to check off my list, the following are on the docket in the coming months:
- Back to the Marsh
- Sheepshead, Black Drum, White Tout, Ladyfish and a number of other common marsh species still remain absent from my species list.
- Wading the Florida Parishes
- Spotted bass and panfish are the most common catches, these streams also offer the potential of possible lifers like the Shadow Bass and Redfin Pickerel. Neither will come easy, but I’ll be ecstatic if either comes to hand these next few months.
- Rough fish
- While Common Carp and Spotted Gar are checked off my list, there are still plenty of rough fish remaining on my to-do list. The three remaining gar, freshwater drum and various catfish species all remain high on my list of summer goals.
- KFF Tying Session: July 12th
- I’ll be making the drive up to Alexandria on the evening of July 12th to lead the Kisatchie Fly Fishers monthly tying session. We’ll be tying a dubbing loop version of the EP Shrimp that I’ve previously featured on this blog. It will be my first time leading a tying session and also my first time joining the group in person after nearly a year of zoom meetings. I’m looking forward to finally meeting everyone face to face.
I think that about sums everything up for now. Be sure to check back frequently for some new Step-by-Step tutorials or subscribe to our email list for notifications each time a new post goes live.