Finding Redfish In The Louisiana Marsh

Published / Updated On:.
May 19, 2020
Finding Redfish In The Louisiana Marsh

How to find redfish in the Louisiana Marsh is a critical skill for success. Redfish are plentiful in the inshore waters of Southeast Louisiana and can be found year-round if you know where to find them!

Finding Redfish

Redfish behave a little differently from their inshore cousins.  Redfish prefer to patrol shorelines in shallower water and get up in tight to the marsh grass. But what kind of shallow water is going to produce the best redfish action?

It is important to understand the 3 different kinds of redfish: rat reds, slot reds, and the all-mighty bull reds.

Rat reds are under 16″ in length.  Redfish under 16” in length are illegal to keep so we will not focus much time talking about how to target rat reds.

Bull reds are really big redfish over 27” in length.  Bull reds do behave similarly to slot reds but are more commonly found in big open water or bays opening into large bodies of water. Although bull reds can be caught inside the marsh they are more frequently caught on the outside of the marsh or in large bays on the edge of the marsh.  They prefer deeper water with moving current and are often found schooling around speckled trout. Bull reds are considered the breeders of the population which is why we only allow 1 per person over 27”.  They spawn in huge schools during the summer and fall months. Check out the video below which shows how the large schools of bull reds act during the spawn.

Slot reds are the redfish we are focusing on in this article. Slot reds are those redfish between 16” and 27” in length.  At the time of this article, the Louisiana Legal Limit for Redfish is 5 slot reds per person per day with no more than 1 bull red over 27”.

So, Where are the Redfish?

Slot Redfish prefer shallow water, specifically shallow water with cover such as aquatic grasses. It is common to see them swimming in water so shallow you can see their bronze backs and tails sticking out of the water. But not just any shallow water will do. You are looking for shallow water with specific features such as:

Clean Water

You want to find water that is clean. Water that looks like chocolate milk is no good. While redfish have thicker gills allowing them to handle muddy water conditions, they will still seek cleaner water because it is easier for them to breathe and feed in.

Aquatic Grass

You want to find aquatic grass if you want to find good schools of redfish. While this is not an absolute requirement for catching redfish, it is definitely a plus. I have seen and caught a lot of redfish in places with no aquatic grass but my best days were near aquatic grass. On days where you plan on fishing non-weedless baits, you may want to look for areas where the aquatic grass is thin or nearby but not right in the middle of it.  Non-weedless baits will get hung up in thick grass.  

Redfish prefer areas in or around aquatic grass because the water will have a higher oxygen level. If you spend enough time sight fishing for redfish from the vantage point of an elevated platform or stand, you will see them loafing just inside the grass line.

Presence of Baitfish

Aquatic grass also provides cover for baitfish like minnows, mullet, shrimp, crabs, and more. If you don’t see these things, do not spend much time in that area.

When scouting for redfish keep an eye out for stingrays. Where you see or catch some stingrays in a shallow area, know redfish are near. It’s almost like clock-work. Stingrays and redfish hunt for the same food sources. Redfish will commonly follow stingrays to pick off fleeing bait.

Broken Marsh

Although finding broken marsh is not a requirement for catching redfish, it definitely helps. Generally, if you find an area in the marsh is broken up then chances are it is shallow and redfish can be caught. This is usually due to erosion.  If you look at satellite images over a period of time then you can see this taking place and have an edge over the competition.

Tide Movement

A strong tide doesn’t affect redfish as much as other species such as speckled trout but in some areas finding a strong tide is key. Some ponds have tidelines moving through them and some don’t.

Baitfish like shrimp and blue crabs can blow in along those tidelines and keep redfish in the vicinity feeding.

Keep in mind that at the end of the day you just have to get out there to scout and fish. Many spots I thought would hold huge groups of redfish turned out to be complete crap. Other spots that I thought for sure would be too dirty and devoid of reds turned out to be an absolute redfish smackdown. Keep moving and keep trying new things. Use the tactics in this article to save some time locating big schools of redfish but don’t be afraid to try new things. Redfish are plentiful in the Louisiana marsh and bayous and can be caught year-round. Keep moving until you find the X!

If you are looking for a good time and want to get on some exceptional Redfishing, check out the Hook Dat Louisiana Fishing Charters Pricing page to see the different Louisiana Charter Fishing Trips we offer. Look forward to seeing you on the water!

a little about the author
Capt Mike Del Toro
I am 43 years old born and raised in New Orleans, LA. I was fortunate to grow up fishing the inshore and offshore waters of Louisiana. I have fished both salt and freshwater my entire life all over the country and one thing is for certain. Nothing beats the beautiful pristine waters and marshes of the Sportsman's Paradise!
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