Louisiana Fishing: The Complete Guide for 2024

Jul 15, 2024 | 9 minute read Comment
Reading Time: 9 minutes

With its mix of different cultures, great music, and food to die for, there’s a lot to love about the Bayou State. However, you shouldn’t be surprised if you also fall in love with fishing in Louisiana. Much like jambalaya or jazz, it’s an integral part of the local way of life. It’s also as diverse as Louisiana itself, boasting freshwater and saltwater fisheries that can only be described as world-class.

An aerial view of the Louisiana State Capitol Building and the rest of the city with its buildings, ponds, roads, and greenery along with a river and the open waters in the background

Be it inland, inshore, or offshore, Louisiana will bless you with superb fisheries and breathtaking catches. But enough of the hyperbole. Let’s dive into the details. Read on and find out what fish await you in Louisiana, as well as when and how to find them. We’ll also delve into different ways of fishing and cover locations worth exploring.

What are you interested in?

With numerous lakes, rivers, brackish wetlands, and the Gulf of Mexico at its doorstep, fishing in Louisiana equals non-stop action. Not only will you never return empty-handed from your trip but, the chances are, you’ll end up with a brag-worthy catch! We’ve singled out the top targets in Louisiana that can grace the end of your line below.

Best Freshwater Catches in Louisiana

Louisiana is home to some of the best freshwater angling in the South. Besides the mighty Mississippi River that runs its final stretch through the state, the “Sportsman’s Paradise” boasts superb Bass lakes. But Bass aren’t the only celebrities around here. Without further ado, meet Louisiana’s freshwater headliners.

A photo featuring a mother and a daughter standing on a charter fishing boat and posing with Smallmouth Bass on a bright and sunny day in Louisiana
Photo taken by LA Redfish Outfitters
  • Bass. Louisiana’s fisheries have a large population of Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass. Along with quantity, expect quality, too. There’s an impressive number of Largemouth Bass exceeding the 10 lb range. And the best part about fishing for Bass in Louisiana is that professionals and novices alike can enjoy the hunt! Just pick the right lures and conquer the water in spring or fall.
  • White Perch. Sac-au-Lait (literally meaning “Sack-of-Milk”) is the local name for White Perch. Not only do they have a special name, but they also have an important title – the state freshwater fish! The key to reeling them in lies in locating them. During the spawning season, they move to the shallow waters. So, gear up with a chartreuse glitter tail and hit the shoreline in spring.
  • Catfish. If you’re more into bigger monsters, Louisiana doesn’t lack when it comes to Catfish. These giants lurk in the underwater vegetation of the Mississippi River and upland reservoirs. The most prominent species are Channel and Blue Catfish. Always hungry and never picky, Catfish will gulp just about anything you throw at them, and late spring and early summer are the best times to get ’em.
  • Paddlefish. You can’t go freshwater fishing in Louisiana without trying your luck at landing these behemoths. Awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping, Paddlefish are a true treat for every recreational angler. They inhabit large river systems. The Mississippi, Mermentau, Sabine, and Red Rivers’ drainage seem to be particularly interesting to them.

Best Inshore Catches in Louisiana

As you move away from the inland fisheries, you’ll discover extensive marshes, swamps, and barrier islands. That should come as no surprise, as it’s part of what makes Louisiana famous! But these angling grounds also provide incredible fishing opportunities. Let’s see what inshore species await you here.

A father standing on a Louisiana charter fishing boat with his three sons and posing with a Bull Redfish caught on a sunny fall day
Photo taken by Reel Reds Marsh Adventures
  • Redfish. No fish is as popular in Louisiana as Redfish. They’re all about epic battles and picture-perfect looks. And the great news is that you can pursue them through the entire year. “Bull” hunting, however, is reserved for fall. These 40-inch-long specimens are on everyone’s radar. Luckily, Louisiana’s Bull offer won’t disappoint!
  • Speckled Trout. What White Perch are to the freshwater kingdom, Speckled Trout are to the saltwater realm. As the saltwater state fish, you’d expect to find Specks only in high-salinity environments. But, believe it or not, the state record was caught on Lake Hermitage! Widespread and challenging, Speckled Trout wear their crown proudly.
  • Flounder. Coastal wetlands hide another extremely sought-after fish in Louisiana – Flounder. Strange-looking and surprisingly tasty, Flounder are rightfully among the top inshore catches in the Pelican State. These bottom-dwellers frequent estuaries, marshes, and the seafloor near piers and jetties. Night fishing is the name of the game when targeting Flounder.
  • Sheepshead. Speaking of odd-looking creatures, Louisiana is rich in Sheepshead. Human-like teeth and convict-like stripes make Sheepshead every kid’s favorite. But children aren’t the only ones fond of them. Many anglers flock down to Louisiana just to cross paths with these tricksters. If you’re one of them, look for them in the areas around structures such as pilings and rock jetties.

Best Offshore Catches in Louisiana

As you move further and further from the coast, you’ll start seeing some seriously big names and admirable adversaries. Head offshore, and you’ll get a shot at a whole mix of pelagic and bottom-dwelling combatants. Here are your bluewater opponents:

Two young anglers posing on a Louisiana charter fishing boat with a big Tuna in their hands caught while angling offshore on a hot summer day
Photo taken by Calcutta Gold
  • Red Snapper. While Redfish are the inshore royals, Red Snappers are all the rage when fishing offshore in Louisiana. The yearly opening of the Red Snapper season is a highly anticipated event. Louisiana anglers are often able to catch their limit of Red Snapper without having to venture too far offshore thanks to oil rigs and artificial reefs nearshore. But the further you go, the bigger they get.
  • Yellowfin Tuna. The waters in this part of the Gulf Coast are a year-round Yellowfin Tuna battleground. If you come during spring, you’re likely to see entire schools of them as they spawn. Visit during summer and you’ll get to enjoy calmer seas and pair your Tuna hunt with some Snapper fishing. Over the course of fall and winter, you’ll get your best shot at reeling in monster Yellowfin. Not bad, eh?
  • Mahi Mahi. Dolphinfish, better known as Mahi Mahi, are the summer catch. They’ll put up a show for you with their vibrant colors, acrobatic jumps, and fast-paced chases. Trolling is the name of the game when going Mahi Mahi fishing in Louisiana. To ensure success, pack ballyhoo and look for them around offshore structures and various floating debris.
  • Sailfish. If you’re up for a real adventure, Sailfish will spice up your Louisiana fishing experience. These majestic creatures thrive in summer. You’ll spot them up to 100 miles from Louisiana’s shoreline during the months of June, July, and August. Once you hook them they’ll immediately go airborne. A battle of epic proportions is guaranteed!

More Louisiana Catches

One angler standing and another sitting on an offshore charter fishing boat while posing with a big Swordfish in their hands caught off Venice in Louisiana on a bright and sunny day
Photo taken by Tails Up Offshore Fishing Charters

We promised diversity when fishing in Louisiana, so expect nothing less than that. The state’s freshwater fisheries are also home to Carp and Gar. The shallows are populated with more Drum celebrities – Black Drum. Meanwhile, the deep blue is brimming with intimidating rivals such as Marlin, Swordfish, King Mackerel, and Wahoo. We could keep going on and on, but you get the point – Louisiana’s fish menu is extensive!

Louisiana Fishing Seasons

Every state that has access to the Gulf is blessed with year-round fishing opportunities. Louisiana is no exception. Be it winter or summer, the Pelican State will open its doors for every angler.

While you can go fishing in Louisiana any day and end up with a catch or two, your odds of landing a trophy fish are better if you align your trip with the high season of your target. Check out our in-depth article for more information. Or check out our Louisiana fishing seasons calendar to find out the top catches’ availability throughout the year:

Species Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Redfish Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Great Great Great Great Good
Flounder Great Weak Good Good Great Great Good Good Good Closed Closed Great
Seatrout Good Good Good Great Great Good Good Great Great Good Good Good
Black Drum Weak Good Good Great Great Great Great Great Great Good Weak Weak
Red Snapper Weak Weak Weak Good Good Great Great Great Good Good Weak Weak
Sailfish Weak Weak Weak Good Good Great Great Great Great Good Weak Weak
Tuna Great Great Great Good Good Good Good Great Great Great Great Great
Bass Good Good Great Great Great Good Good Good Great Great Good Good
Catfish Weak Weak Good Great Great Great Great Great Good Good Weak Weak

If you’d like to learn more about the availability of the specific species, we recommend starting with the most wanted fish and reading about the Red Snapper season in Louisiana.

Best Fishing Spots in Louisiana

By now, you may be wondering where’s the best place to kick off your Louisiana fishing journey. The truth is, there are many places that deserve your attention. Iberia Parish, for example, always ranks high on both winter and summer fishing destination lists. New Orleans is always seen as one of the best fishing locations in the Gulf of Mexico, especially for deep sea fishing.

Whichever spot you choose as your starting point to cast a line in Louisiana, you won’t be disappointed. But in case you need a hint or two about where to start, have a look at some of our top picks:

Craving more fishing spots? No worries, there’s something for everyone. The list of Louisiana’s hotspots is long. Here are more promising fishing grounds:

Fishing Techniques in Louisiana

One of the best ways to get to know a new fishery is to fish with those born and raised in the area. Aboard a Louisiana fishing charter, you’ll be able to learn from professionals who’ve spent their lives navigating these waters. A number of guides also practice authentic fishing techniques, giving you a unique local experience. Take a look at some of those angling approaches below:

  • Fly Fishing. With over 70 rivers and prolific inshore waters under its umbrella, the Bayou State is a fly fishing paradise. Redfish are the most challenging inshore targets, while Trout are the ultimate inland catches. The best friend of every fly fishing enthusiast in Louisiana is fall. Check out places such as Hopedale and Venice near the end of summer and unlock your fly fishing bonanza.
  • Deep Sea Fishing. If you’re more into fast-paced pursuits and offshore chases, go deep sea fishing. Apart from trolling for Mahi Mahi or Tuna, you can try bottom fishing for Snappers and Groupers as well. You’ll need a suitable guide if you plan on deep sea fishing in Louisiana, as fishing beyond state waters requires a federal permit.
  • Bowfishing. Adrenaline seekers will be thrilled to hear that Louisiana is big on bowfishing. This peculiar fishing method is popular here and is often practiced during the night. Carp and Flounder are the usual bowfishing targets but anglers go for Reds, too. Grand Isle is considered to be one of the premier bowfishing spots in Louisiana.

… And More!

Your options for exploring Louisiana don’t end with these three fishing techniques. You can also go kayak fishing or conquer the shallows from the shore. Casting from a pier can be productive as well. All in all, you won’t be lacking for approaches when fishing in Louisiana.

Louisiana Fishing Trips

Pair up an impressive array of first-class charter boats with an even bigger number of fish species and you’ll get an endless amount of fishing trips. You can always go for a typical Louisiana trip, too. Take a look at the most commonly booked trips below and take it from there.

Full day trips promise between 8 and 9 hours of action-packed fishing. These trips are ideal for anglers who want to spend an entire day out on the water in pursuit of a trophy catch. The more time you have, the more species and hotspots you can explore. This is especially convenient if you’re going far offshore.

Besides the regular offer, Louisiana is famous for bowfishing and Flounder gigging trips, too. Both are commonly practiced at night, so don’t be surprised if your trip starts later in the evening.

Louisiana Fishing Regulations

An infographic including a vector of a boat, the FishingBooker logo, the state flag of Louisiana, and text stating "Louisiana Fishing Regulations: What You Need to Know" against a blue background

Depending on whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater fishery, you’ll either have to get a Basic Fishing License or a Saltwater Fishing Permit. In Louisiana, anglers aged 16 or older are generally required to get a fishing license. Certain exemptions exist and you can read about them in our detailed Louisiana fishing license guide.

When it comes to size limits and bag restrictions, these can change from season to season. It’s best to take a look at the current freshwater and saltwater regulations as you plan your trip and check out the species you’d like to go for.

Louisiana Fishing FAQs

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From a young age, Marko has been a nature buff. His first contact with fishing came through his dad who’d take him to the Danube River. It’s where Marko got his basic angling education, landed his first catch (an Ide), and learned how to cook a mean fish stew. Marko also enjoys hiking, running, traveling, and writing about it all.

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Mar 12, 2022

Looking forward to fishing LA again soon, I hope.

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