Outdoor Corner: Ascension Parish shows off

Lyle Johnson
Back Row (L to R) Kace Brock, Savannah White, Braylee Lambert, Cade Fontenot, Kaylyn Carter, Ayden Fatherree and Mikaylah Bordelon Front Row (L to R) Sophie Bordelon, Gracee Garcia, Emma Brown, Jaxton Carter, Kayleigh Brown, Leighton Fatherree, Isabella Bucci and Mason Mayers.

Last week, we talked about the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association fishing trip to Blind River hosted by Ascension Area Anglers. That was only the beginning of a great weekend for our parish hosting some of the best outdoor media in our state.

I’d like to give a shout out to Tracy Browning and the Ascension Parish Tourism Bureau for getting all this together. I’ve been a member of LOWA since 1996, and served as President for the last 10 years. We move our conference all over the state to spread things out a bit and to allow our writers from central and north Louisiana easier opportunities to attend.

This was the first time in those 22 years the event was held in Ascension Parish. After the event is held, the success (or not) always depends on how well the local tourism bureau meets our needs for a place to stay while conducting our business, good local attractions, and pulling-off our banquet & awards night. This one was a home run.

After the fishing trip, we were treated to a welcome reception at Houmas House on Friday night. The hors-d'oeuvres were five-star, and the house was opened to us for viewing. The spouses of our writers were taken on a full tour on Saturday morning. There is already a lady’s trip scheduled again for the fall.

Our group of writers headed out Saturday morning to Laurel Ridge Sawmill for a visit with Lamar Schexnaydre at his home and sawmill. We were treated to the history of the cypress tree harvesting in the early 1900s, as well as how some of the lost logs are retrieved today.

Lamar also loaded a recently found sinker cypress log on the mill and demonstrated how they are cut up and made ready to use. The trip out to Laurel Ridge is worth it as his lumber is for sale. His contact number is 225-270-6273. The business motto is “We’ll Cut You a Deal,” and he means it.

Local fly-tying expert Darrel Crawford gave us a demonstration of his skills while letting three of our members tie their first fly to round out our morning's activities. Everyone met at the Cabin in Burnside for a great lunch.

The Clarion Inn was our host facility and location of our banquet. Not only was the food served there the best we’ve had at all our banquets but some of the best all around meals to remember. The staff at the hotel treated us like royalty. I’m sure we’ll be back in a few years. Thanks Ascension Parish for making us proud and highly respected by visitors.

Over 100 Kids Fish Rodeo

A couple of weekends ago, we woke up to cloudy, rainy conditions. But that didn’t hamper the spirits or enthusiasm of over 100 kids that took part in the East Ascension Sportsman’s League Kids Fishing Rodeo held at Twin Lakes in Dutchtown. Nope, the constant rain didn’t hold them back.

Excitement was in the air as kids scattered along with their parents or grandparents and probably uncles and aunts all around the two ponds in anticipation of the horns that blow to signal that fishing can begin.

Adults are getting things ready while the younger kids are playing with the worms and crickets. Sometimes lines are already getting tangled up, but eventually, things iron themselves out and the horn blows.

That’s when the action really heats up. Lines are in the water everywhere, and kids are hollering “I got one!” all around the pond. Usually, some of the screams are kids catching their first-ever fish.

It never gets old for me. Some of the first memories of my early fishing career revolve around attending these same East Ascension Sportsman’s League Kid’s fishing rodeos when I was around 6 years old. The sights and sounds weren’t much different back then.

The Kid's Rodeo has always been a community and family event for at least 60 years. My first memory of attending was held on Airline Hwy in Prairieville at Dutton’s Pond. I remember a very large crowd being there. I don’t remember too much about the fishing, as I didn’t win in any category.

The one thing I do remember very vividly is that I won a door prize. A giant, Washington Parish watermelon was pulled out of the back of the pick-up truck where the prizes were hidden from our sight. A name was pulled out of the bucket, and the name that was called was Lyle Johnson.

That watermelon looked so big I couldn’t believe my eyes. Not to mention that it was way too heavy for me to carry. If there was any disappointment in not catching any fish to win a trophy, it certainly disappeared.

The celebration was hardly over as my cousins from Sorrento, the Kearney & Joan Lee family were in attendance as well. So both families loaded up in our vehicles and headed to Sorrento for a big watermelon party. Man, that was the life.

When all the dust settled, all the hot dogs and jambalaya were gone, and the fish weighed-in, the trophies were handed out. The Biggest Fish Overall trophy went to Emma Brown with .43. The Most Fish Overall (girls): Mikaylah Bordelon with 29 fish, and the Most Fish (boys) was Cade Fontenot with 21.

In the Age Group 2-4, the Biggest Fish was caught by Gracee Garcia at .36. The Most Fish (girls) went to Isabella Bucci with four, and the Most Fish (boys) went to Jaxton Carter with 12.

In the Age Group 5-7, the Biggest Fish was caught by Kayleigh Brown at .21. The Most Fish for (girls) went to Sophie Bordelon with six, and the Most Fish (boys) went to Leighton Fatherree with 13.

In the Age Group 8-10, the Biggest Fish was caught by Mason Mayers with a .41. The Most Fish (girls) went to Braylee Lambert with two, and the Most Fish (boys) went to Kace Brock with 16.

In the Age Group 11-14, the Biggest Fish was caught Savannah White with .24. The Most Fish for the (girls) was Kaylyn Carter with 22, and the Most Fish for (boys) was Ayden Fatherree with 15.

Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting: Third Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman’s League meeting held at Chef KD’s on Hwy 74, starting at 7 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Ducks Unlimited Banquet: Sept. 6—Annual DU Banquet held at Lamar Dixon Expo Center 6-10 p.m. Call Paul at 504-481-0878 or Alden at 225-235-1062 for info.

AO Kids Fall Fest: Sept. 15—Anything Outdoor Helping Kids Fall Fest fundraiser will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Tickets are $5 for entry. There will be food and drinks, silent auction, a blood drive vendor booths and plenty of fun for the kids. A cook-off for mini & reg pot jambalaya along with four live bands, including Kenny Cornett will perform as well. Find them on Facebook for all the info.

Delta Waterfowl Banquet: Nov. 2, at Lamar Dixon Expo Center starting at 6 p.m. with dinner starting at 7:30. Contact Kristen Latiolais at 225-315-3023 or email