What You Need to Know About Fishing in Louisiana

Louisiana is a southeastern state on the Gulf of Mexico. What makes this region such an ideal place for fishing is the fact that there are so many bodies of water to choose from! Along with 3000 miles of shoreline, the state also boasts numerous lakes, rivers, and marshes. You’ll be spoiled for choice here.

Of course, with so much of opportunity comes a bit of confusion. Considering the vastness of the state, it’s only natural to be overwhelmed by all of the fishing possibilities. To narrow down where to head to, simply check out this guide below.

Where Can You Fish in Louisiana

Now, if you are a catch-and-release angler, you should be able to fish virtually anywhere that the activity is legal. However, if you are looking for something to throw on your dinner plate, then you are going to need to take a little more care. This is because pollution has made it unsafe to eat certain types of fish.

The good news, though, is that there is no guesswork involved in this. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has provided an interactive map. With the help of this, you will be able to outline your trip a little more easily.  

Freshwater Fishing in Louisiana

If you are planning on going freshwater fishing, here are some of the fish you may end up with:

  • Largemouth and smallmouth bass
  • White bass
  • Striped bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • White crappie
  • Black crappie

The thing to keep in mind about freshwater fishing in this state is that the area is incredibly large. This means that you can head out on a sit on top kayak on the lakes, rivers, or marsh and drift around for quite a while. So, you are going to need to focus on a few, specific areas.

Here are the top places to consider in both Southern and Northern Louisiana.

Northern Louisiana

  • Cross Lake: this lake in Shreveport is well-known for its largemouth black bass. Not to mention, it is practically made for fishing. There are numerous bait shops lined around, ensuring that you stay well-stocked for your entire trip. 
  • Toledo Bend: for the longest time, this reservoir has been known as a bass angler’s paradise (named the #1 bass lake in the U.S. by Bassmaster Magazine two years in a row!). This remains true to this day. Of course, due to all of the competition, you are going to have to figure out various presentations and patterns to be really successful. 
  • Caddo Lake: if you’re going for gold, then you should definitely head down to this lake in Shreveport. You may just find a record-breaking bass, though this isn’t the only species offered up by this lake. You can also find white crappie, sunfish, and catfish. 
  • Caney Lake: if you’re the competitive sort, then Caney Lake is going to make you very happy. While your catch isn’t always guaranteed, the opportunity to catch enormous bass is simply too difficult to pass up. Over the years, this lake has been known to house some real monsters.  

Southern Louisiana

  • Bayou Black: one of the main perks of fishing in this spot is that you’re treated to early spawning bass. This is because, in this marshy region, the waters begin to warm up more quickly. So, if you want to get an early start on your bass fishing, then this is the place to do it. 
  • Tangipahoa River: if river fishing is more your speed or in case you don’t have as much preference for the fish you’d like to snag, then this is the river for you. Originating in Mississippi, these waters are home to bluegill, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and more. It also features many sand-gravel bars that make for good rest stops when going up or down the river.
  • Lake Pontchartrain: if you are headed to the legendary city of New Orleans, you have to make a stop at this lake. It is well-known for its trout as well as freshwater reds and drums. A word of caution, though, as this spot can get quite windy so you should be prepared for some rough conditions.
  • Bogue Chitto State Park: there are eleven lakes in this park so you have a great selection. Here, you will be able to catch perch, brim, bass, and catfish. As you can imagine, this area is rather crowded so you will have to share the water. 

Saltwater Fishing in Louisiana 

As with the freshwater fishing, you will be spoiled for choice with the saltwater species you will encounter on or off the coast of Louisiana:

  • Snapper / Redfish
  • Mackerel
  • Grouper
  • Black seabass
  • Marlin
  • Swordfish
  • Tuna
  • Drum
  • Cobia

Best Towns for Saltwater Fishing 

Here are the towns famed for their fishing activities:

  • Venice: this is undoubtedly one of the most popular fishing destinations in the entire state. In fact, if you were to listen to locals, you would imagine that it is the only spot. The reason, of course, is that this area continues to top lists of magazines everywhere because it lives up to its fishing reputation. So, you can’t go wrong with heading to Venice.
  • Jean Lafitte: there are quite a few saltwater fishing options and charters in this town named after the Louisiana region’s most famous pirate. If you like, you can head inland and stand a chance to catch speckled trout and redfish. Or, you can simply go to the public pier and be set up in no time at all.
  • Port Fourchon: this is one of the best destinations for offshore fishing. To start with, you can catch some pretty big fish including snapper, grouper, tuna, marlin, and wahoo. What’s more, since you will be near oil rigs, you can expect a rather unique fishing experience as well!
  • Grand Isle: this is yet another one of those talked about fishing spots in Louisiana. Considering that the International Tarpon Rodeo is held here, this title is well-deserved. In addition to massive tarpon, you may also be able to bring in blackfin tuna, wahoo, and even blue marlin.

The Fishing Seasons 

Compared with many other fishing destinations, the temperature fluctuations in Louisiana aren’t all that bad. Due to this, it isn’t unusual to be able to fish all year long. By targeting the right species, you can find success any month of the year.

January – March

If you are looking to catch monster fish early in the year, then head to Venice. The cool water brings in some incredibly large yellowfin and blackfin tuna closer to the shore. Fishing in the marshes is also a great way to snag some speckled trout and redfish. During March, head to Toledo Bend for largemouth bass.

April – June

If speckled trout is of greater interest to you, then these are the best months to catch some. In case white bass is what you are looking for, then head over to Caddo Lake. Want a little more variety? Then head over to the Bogue Chitto State Park. 

July – September

During this period, you should definitely head offshore as you are undoubtedly going to snag something. So, it is really worth your while to brave the warm temperatures. If you do, yellowfin tuna, cobia, and red snapper will be just a few of the fish on your menu. Want to chase the dream of a record-breaking blue marlin? Then fish the waters between Venice and Grand Isle.

October – December

Head to the inland marshes during these months to increase your chances of catching. You are most likely to catch redfish or speckled trout. With a bit of luck, you may just haul in some yellowfin tuna as well.

Tips for Fishing in Louisiana

There are a few tips to keep in mind when fishing in Louisiana waters. Following these guidelines should make your trip a great deal more enjoyable.

To start with, make sure that you have a fishing license. There are separate licenses for Louisiana residents and non-residents. There are also some differences in terms of how long they will last. You should also know that there is a “saltwater line” that separates the freshwater from the saltwater fishing.

Now, if you want to fish north of this line, you can make do with a Basic Fishing License. In case you are fishing south of the line, you will need a Basic Fishing License as well as a Saltwater one. To stay on the safe side, it’s best to get both so that you abide by the state law! You can buy yours from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries.

If you are going to be fishing inland in marshes and rivers, you may want to hire a guide. This state is vast and has so many different bodies of water. Hiring an expert who knows their way around these spots could result in a much smoother fishing trip.

This is everything you need to know about fishing in Louisiana. If you have a suggestion, reach out or let us know in the comments. The short of it is that this is one of the best states in the U.S. for fishing. So, as an angler, you will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t pay a visit. Just one trip and you are sure to keep going back for more.

Fishing Charters in Louisiana

Here is a list of charters to consider in Southern Louisiana, who can be booked here directly online:

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