No matter what type of trip we are planning – hunting, fly fishing, or family vacation my number one priority is to always get away from the “crowds”. With this priority in mind, we started looking for a saltwater fly fishing destination within the continental United States.
For years I have read articles about redfish on the fly in Louisiana, but have never really considered it as a destination due to the number of guides and boats in the marsh during the fall and winter when the redfish are known to be there.
Yellow Dog has always been a good source of “honest “information for me on fly fishing locations both here in the States as well as internationally. I called Yellow Dog and spoke with Jake Wells about Louisiana, telling him my disdain for crowds, but my desire to try and chase redfish and other species on the fly. Jake made it clear in short order that we needed to give Louisiana in the summertime a serious look.
We booked a week at the Dogwood Lodge out of Hopedale for late June early July. Hopedale is a small fishing community about one hour southeast of New Orleans. The lodge is a fully operational houseboat with comfortable rooms, lounge area with a self-serve bar, good food, and air conditioning (you will need it in the summer).
Our guides, Captain Greg Moon and Brandon Keck, would pick us up each morning from the deck of the Dogwood. The weather forecast looked good for all six days we were there to fish. Usually, we book 5 to 6 days fishing knowing the weather, storms, etc will run you off the water early for at least a few of the days. However, as Jake at Yellow Dog told us, and as our guides reconfirmed, one benefit to the summer fishing in Louisiana is that’s usually not the case due to stable weather patterns for weeks at a time.
The next six days we proceeded to fish. Daily we had numerous shots at redfish over 25 pounds, multiple shots at black drum over 30 pounds, multiple shots at big sheepshead, and several shots at alligator gar that were 10 to 50 pounds! One day we even took the skiff out across the gulf and had multiple shots on the flats at large crevalle jacks, sharks, and more black drum. And by the way, we did not lose one day of fishing to the weather!
We missed more shots at large fish than I care to disclose, but we managed to boat a few every day. Without going into a bunch of cliché fly fishing jargon, Louisiana in the spring and summer is the real deal. The variety of fish species is amazing, and the quality of fish is even more unbelievable.
We are already planning our next trip to Hopedale, next summer!
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