Fishing in Louisiana

Fishing is a way of life in Louisiana, intertwined with the state’s economy and culture. Maybe that’s why this state is known as “Sportsman’s Paradise.”
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About Louisiana

There’s a reason Louisiana is world-famous for food like catfish po-boys and blackened red snapper: The state is a utopia for anglers, and people here not only know how to cook fish, they also know how to catch them. Louisiana has a wide variety of great fishing spots, featuring 77,000 miles of coastline (more than almost any other state), the rich bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin, and the fish-filled waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The saltwater fishing gets most of the glory, but there is excellent freshwater fishing in Louisiana as well. Toledo Bend Reservoir, the largest man-made reservoir in the South, was named one of the world’s Top 25 bass lakes, and the city of Des Allemands, near Lac Des Allemands, bills itself as the Catfish Capital of the Universe.

Fishing Types

The types of fishing in Louisiana vary widely, from freshwater fishing in rivers and lakes, to saltwater fishing in coastal marshes, to offshore deepwater fishing. If you’re heading offshore into the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll want to hire one of the many charter boats that ply these waters. Shallow-water fishing along the coast can be done from piers and docks in many areas. You can also paddle a kayak or take a traditional motorboat out on the water to bottom-fish or troll the bays and bayous. Freshwater fishing in the state’s many excellent lakes and bayous is best done with a boat, although there are plenty of spots to shore-fish as well.

Targeted Fish Species

The most popular freshwater species in Louisiana are channel catfish, alligator gar, largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, redear sunfish, and black and white crappie. In the saltwater shallows along the coast, look for speckled trout, redfish, sheepshead, flounder, croakers, black drum, tarpon, and tripletail. If you’re searching for bigger fish, head offshore into the Gulf for amberjack, barracuda, yellowfin and blackfin tuna, marlin, mahi-mahi, king and Spanish mackerel, wahoo, jack crevalle, cobia, grouper, and sailfish. Among the most popular (and delicious) fish in Louisiana are the various varieties of snapper: red, vermillion, white, mangrove, and lane.

Fishing Techniques

You can fish year-round in Louisiana’s warm climate; however, spring and summer are the best times for offshore and coastal saltwater fishing, as the fish are spawning in the spring and feeding heavily during the long days of summer. Bottom fishing and drift-fishing are the main techniques along the coast; jigging and trolling also work well. Or, try your hand at saltwater fly-fishing for speckled trout and redfish in the bays. Louisiana’s scenic freshwater lakes and bayous, such as Bayou Black and Lake Claiborne, are the places to target catfish and largemouth bass. Catfish can be caught almost any time of year and are usually taken by bait-fishing; popular baits are earthworms or stinkbaits. Late January through March is the time to target bass on the spawn as they move up into the shallows; try casting a jig along vegetation mats or cypress trees.