The Rio Grande Cichlid (A First for Me)

I managed several “firsts” this past weekend.  First on my list was the opportunity to spend the day fishing with a long-time friend and fly fishing guru, Glen “Catch” Cormier. Glen is the guy that got me into kayak fishing and fly-fishing. We were going to fish a tournament in New Orleans (well Kenner really) for a new species to me, the Rio Grande Cichlid. Since being dumped into canals in the greater New Orleans area by pet storeowners, this only American native of the Cichlid family has thrived in urban canals and pond where predation from bass is low. When you see the pictures of the drainage canal where we caught some of these you will understand how intrigued with the idea of fishing in an urban environment was to me… especially with the fly rod and targeting a really beautiful species of fish.

The morning was a gorgeous day to be outside enjoying God’s beautiful creation. We probably began fishing around 9 AM in Lafreniere Park after visiting with several members of the fly fishing club down in New Orleans. Right off the bat, I was getting “schooled” by Catch, as he started catching bream right and left.  I finally got in on the action. The fish were hitting fluff butts under a VOSI (small cork strike indicator). As the sun got higher in the sky and the morning warmed up, I changed to an all white fluff butt. I started picking up some small bass and several sacalait (crappie). Neither Catch nor I were able to weigh any Rios during the tournament.  Glen suggested a great place to pick up a poboy and rest before hitting several drainage canals that he knew would hold fish.

After lunch, we hit three or four drainage canals and picked up a few of the elusive Rios. Glen missed a really nice one that broke him off and he missed a really nice carp.  I caught several more bass, bream, and I caught my first Rio!  I nearly hooked a carp and I got a large garfish to strike my VOSI. It’s really cool to catch a new specie of fish. I’m looking forward to another trip with Catch soon…most likely to catch some redfish and specs…something with a “little more hair on its chest.”

On of the bass I caught on the fly. Notice the small drainage canal in the background.

Beautiful colors on this Rio

My first Rio

Another beautiful Rio

Glen's first Rio of the day.

I caught some pretty bass on the fluff butt too.

I was surprised to catch a few of these nice babies. I normally keep sacalait but I don't know about these in an urban lake.

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3 thoughts on “The Rio Grande Cichlid (A First for Me)

  1. Your article made hungry for the assessment of God’s wonderful creation. Thanks for appreciating that. Is the Rio in the same family as the bluegill? Beautiful pictures and wonderful catch!!

  2. Bev, I think the Rio is in the same family as the bluegill. They are native to the “Rio Grande” region of Texas and have been put in south Louisiana waters by people who kept them as “pets” and disposed of them when they got too big for their aquariums.

  3. The Rio, or Texas Cichlid, is not in the same family as the Bluegill. The latter is a Sunfish (Family Centrarchidae), a family of fishes restricted to North America.

    The Rio Grande (Texas) Cichlid belongs to the Family Cichlidae and is more closely related to the Angelfish you likely have in your aquarium at home. Cichlids are found in the Americas (only the Rio in the North), Africa and Madagascar, with a few species in the Middle East and India/Sri Lanka.

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