Rio Rodeo

13th Annual Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo
Saturday, October 1st, 2022

7:00am - on-site registration
7:30am - 12:30pm - fishing time

Event site: No Wake Outfitters
1926 Airline Drive, Metairie, LA

Sponsored by the New Orleans Fly Fishers
$15 entry fee, includes lunch and refreshments
Net proceeds go to Casting for Recovery
Open to all fly fishing aficionados!

Mail-in registration deadline - September 24th
Onsite registration deadline - October 1st, 7:30am


The longest running freshwater fly fishing tournament on the Gulf Coast, the target species for the Rio Rodeo is the wary Rio Grande Cichlid.  All entry fish must be caught on artificial flies and using fly rods. 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 this division.
First place prize in each category is a commemorative plaque.

Onsite registration and weigh-in will be at No Wake Outfitters on 1926 Airline Drive in Metairie. Look for the NOFFC sign and tent.

7:00am to 7:30am - on site registration
7:30am to 12:30pm - fishing
12:30pm - 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).

Registration can be in advance, or on-site the morning of the rodeo. The registration form can be printed and mailed with a check of $15. Or send the $15 registration fee via VENMO (the address is on the form). 
CLICK HERE for the registration form.  Your form must be received by September 24th or you will have to check-in the day of the rodeo.

On-site registration will be at No Wake Outfitters from 7:00am to 7:30am on October 1st. If you have not registered by 7:30am, you will not be eligible to participate in the tournament. You can still participate in other activities, and your $15 will be considered a donation.

All participants will recieve a token card with the Rio Rodeo logo stamped on it. For participants who register in advance, we will mail your token to you if you choose. This will save you the trouble of having to register that morning, and allow you to head directly to your favorite spot, and begin fishing promptly at 7:30am.

All participants entering fish must be in line by 12:30pm. Anyone in line after this time will not be allowed to enter their fish.

RULES:
  • Registration fee is $15 and includes lunch and refreshments.
  • Early registration deadline - form must be received by September 24th.
  • Registration deadline - 7:30am on October 1st.
  • Each participant must have their tournament token prior to fishing.
  • Start time: 7:30am.
  • Weigh-in: 12:30pm at No Wake Outfitters. Participants must be in line for weigh-in at this time to be eligible for prizes.
  • Species: Rio Grande Cichlid
  • Categories: Longest Rio, Most Rios. All individual awards.
  • Boundaries: publicly accessible waters of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Charles and Plaquemine parishes. Fishing is not allowed in any areas of the City Park golf courses. Any participant fishing this area will be disqualified.
  • Tackle: eligible fish must be caught only on artificial flies using fly rods.
  • Invasive Species: Because LDWF considers Rios an invasive species, please do not return any Rios to the water, no matter the size. Please bring all fish with you to the weigh-in.
  • Entrants may only enter one fish and win one prize in the Longest Fish Division.
  • In the event of a tie: For longest fish, the award will go to the fish with the largest girth measurement taken at the front of the pectoral fins. For most fish, the award will be determined by blind draw.
  • Submit any size fish you catch as it may qualify for one of the prizes. It will also give us some important data about Rios in the area.


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 nolaffc@gmail.com



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.