Rio Rodeo

12th Annual Rio Grande Rodeo
Saturday, October 3rd, 2020
8:00am to 12:00pm (weigh-in)
Check-in: 7:00am to 8:00am

Sponsored by the New Orleans Fly Fishers
$15 entry fee, includes lunch and refreshments
All proceeds go to Casting for Recovery

Mail-in registration deadline - September 26th
Onsite registration deadline - October 3rd, 8:00am

This tournament is fly fishing only for the Rio Grande Cichlid. All entry fish must be caught on artificial flies. Two categories will be awarded:
  • Longest rio wins top prize and bragging rights for the year!
  • Most rios caught by a fly fisher takes first prize in the second category.
Prizes in both categories will be engraved glass plaques with our Rio Grande Rodeo logo and the title of each category.

Onsite registration and weigh-in will be at Shelter #2 in Lafreniere Park. Look for the NOFF sign and tent. 

7:00am to 8:00am - on site registration
8:00am to 12:00pm - fishing
12:00pm - weigh-in deadline

This tournament is open to all fly fishing aficionados. (One of the best ways to learn about all things fly fishing is to join your local fly fishing club. If you are not a member of a club we can get you the information on how to join).

There is a $15 registration fee. All participants will be issued a card with the Rio Rodeo logo stamped on it. Entries should take a picture of the fish next to the card when catching the fish. Registration deadline is 8:00 AM on Saturday, October 3rd, 2020. If you have not registered before this time you will not be eligible to participate. If you do not wish to register the morning of the rodeo you must submit your registration so we receive it by Saturday, September 26th, 2020. We will mail your card to you if you choose to register by mail. This will save those that wish to fish outside of the Lafreniere Park area the trouble of having to register that morning. Anyone that is not registered early will need to register in person the morning of the event at the Lafreniere Park Rio Rodeo headquarters and pick up your card at that time. 

Fishing for the Rio Grande Cichlid in Orleans, Jefferson, and Plaquemines Parishes. We are expanding the areas that fly fishers may fish as the Rio Grande Cichlid is considered an invasive species that the LA Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries has asked be removed from local waters. Because the tournament will be a “kill” tournament, please do not return Rio’s to the water, no matter the size. Please bring all fish with you to the weigh-in. Measure any size fish you catch as it may qualify for one of the prizes. Legal entries are limited to fish only caught with artificial flies on fly rods.

Legal fishing area is bounded by all of Orleans, Jefferson, and Plaquemines Parishes (Eastbank & Westbank) publicly accessed bodies of water. Fishing is not allowed in any areas of the City Park golf courses. Any participant fishing these area will be immediately disqualified. 

Lunch and drinks provided for registered participants. All participants entering fish must be in line by 12:00pm. Anyone in line after this time will not be allowed to enter their fish. 

In the event of a tie for the longest fish, the award will go to the fish with the largest girth measurement taken at the front of the pectoral fins. In the event of a tie for the most number of fish, the winner will be determined by blind draw. Please remember to check-in your fish when you arrive at weigh-in. Entrants may only enter one fish and win one prize in the longest fish division. 

To preregister: follow the link below, complete the form, and mail it to the NOFFC P.O. Box.  
Registration Form

See the Information Page for more general information regarding the rodeo.

Please email us with any questions at

New for 2019:  we have expanded the fishing area to include ALL of Orleans, Jefferson, and Plaquemines parishes. Public accessible waters only.  Also, no fishing any areas of the City Park golf course.

About the Rio Grande Cichlid

The Rio Grande Perch is a member of the Cichlid family of fishes. It's native to south Texas and northeast Mexico, making it America's only native cichlid. It's also referred to as the Texas Cichlid. Their colors vary slightly, from a grayish barred pattern to a dark bluish tone, all sprinkled heavily with electric-blue dots.

In areas where it's numbers are controlled, it can grow rapidly to a length of 12 inches or more, and weigh up to 2 pounds! The larger specimens are called "brainiacs" because of their obtruding front lobe.

Sometime in the early 1990s, rios began appearing in canals in Orleans and Jefferson parishes, and even in Lake Pontchartrain. It's believed these introductions were the result of dumpings of tropical fish into canals by pet store or aquarium owners. Some died off quickly, others from the cold of winter.  But many rios, able to withstand water temperatures as low as 50 degrees, survived.

Rios can thrive in conditions that our native sunfishes find marginal at best. When Katrina flooded Orleans and Jefferson parishes, many bass and bream were killed. But the rios prospered, and took advantage of the high water to expand their territory.

Rios are prolific breeders and compete with bluegills for nesting areas. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has labeled them an invasive species, even though they are native American. While there is no way that rios will ever be eradicated from our waters, their numbers have been on the decline. Small rios are aggressive feeders and highly susceptible to fishing pressure. Furthermore, largemouth bass find small rios to be their food source of choice - easy to catch and quite tasty. In fact, the rio makes excellent table fare for humans - provided they've been living in good quality water.

So what is the fascination with fly anglers and the Rio Grande Perch?
1. They are wary. The freshwater equivalent of a sheepshead.
2. They're fly friendly. Since they are wary and slow-moving, flies are much more successful than lures.
3. Once hooked, rios fight "like a wet cat".
4. They are great sport on ultralight fly rods, such as 1 through 3-weight graphite rods or fiberglass rods up to 5-weight.
5. No great casting skill is needed, only a slow retreive and lots of patience.

Rios are not going to replace reds, specks, bass or bluegill as state's top flyrod species. But they do offer a unique fishery that is giving flyrodders in the Big Easy a chance to grow their skills, while proudly claiming to have landed one of the most exotic sportfish in North America.