A day off in Monroe

I had to work up in Northeast Louisiana this past week.  This was the last part of our great state that I had never visited.  Monroe reminds me a bit of Alexandria, the two being of similar size, having similar populations and offering similar amenities.  The work I’m doing sometimes affords me a bit of free time, other times I work 12-13 hour days.  I had almost an entire day to myself yesterday and decided to make the drive over to Poverty Point.  Maybe not the first choice for many people, but I figured why not go check out the monumental earthworks while I was somewhat close.

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If you couldn’t tell I had the place to myself.  No one else is dumb enough to walk around outside in rural Louisiana in the dead of summer and at high noon.  It was hot as hell, but I enjoyed it. The earthworks were impressive.  The amount of artifacts that have been found at Poverty Point were impressive.  They weren’t all from the same area or tribe either.  Their trade network was huge.  There was a thriving civilization there way back when.  Kind of humbling to walk around the site alone, like I was in a Native American ghost town.

I left Poverty Point and decided it was time to go fishing.  It had been too long since my last outing (late June) and although this would be just a little afternoon bank fishing it was welcome.  I headed over to Kiroli Park in West Monroe.  While working I learned there was a fishing pond there and some trails so I had to go check it out.

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It was actually two ponds and they both held plenty of fish.  These little bass were a hoot.  They were ambushing minnows in the shallows causing all kinds of racket.  It was tough getting them to take a fly because they were in such a hurry.  Near a submerged log, in a shady part of the lake I saw a nice bluegill working a deep bed.  I had it hit the topwater a few times, but knew it would take a nymph so I tied one on and threw it back out there twitching the bomber ever so slightly. As the bomber started moving sideways I set the hook and it was a good fish – one of the biggest gills I’ve probably ever caught.  I then moved to the upper lake and found a nice school of bluegill under a tree, all smaller than the big one, but consistent action for a little while.

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Eventually that bite tapered off and I went on a walk on the trail, taking the long way back to the truck.  The trail crossed a sandy little creek (tiny enough to jump across) and curiosity got the better of me. I walked the bank of the creek tossing a fly in every likely lie.  Wouldn’t you know it that every likely lie was holding a fish? There were bluegill, bass, sunfish, goggle-eye and beyond the fish the creek was loaded with mussels and crawfish – this little creek was full of life.

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I was very impressed by Kiroli Park, what a great resource the city of West Monroe has.  They park was in great shape and it was obvious that it was a favorite of the locals – there were lots of people using the facilities.  Having not done any fishing since June, this was the perfect place to come fish.  To top it all off, I even stopped to pick up a few local brews from Shreveport – the Commotion is pretty darn good too.IMG_3198

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