There’s only one rule when it comes to Louisiana inshore saltwater fishing – it’s all about Redfish! The state counts itself as one the best places in the Northern Gulf of Mexico to hook into this species. That should come as no surprise, considering Louisiana’s landscape is made up of wetlands and countless inshore canals that these fish prefer to call home.
The great climate and fertile waters mean that the fish are big and bountiful. Best of all, any day is a good day to go after Louisiana Redfish. In this guide, we’ll dive into how you can get your hands on these fish, where and when to go, as well as a few rules and regulations to keep in mind.
Put plainly, all year round. Sizes and numbers of fish do vary, though, so when you decide to go will depend on what you want to get out of your trip. If you’re looking for numbers, spring is your best bet. This is when the marshes come alive and the fish are ready to eat and take advantage of the warming waters.
For both numbers and size, wait it out until summer. You’ll find plenty of average-sized fish (these are best for eating!) and the occasional battle with a Bull Redfish in the marshes. Moving onto fall, it’s considered the best time to go after Redfish – especially Bulls. The bite is aggressive and the fish are eager to feed on shrimp and mullet as they start to leave the marshes ahead of winter.
Finally, winter redfishing! The weather can be unpredictable but if you’re willing to brave it, it’s the best time to sight cast in Louisiana’s clear coastal waters. As the fish seek out warmer waters, they’ll tightly pack into drainages and larger bayous, making them easy to spot.
Now that you know when to go fishing for Redfish, you’re probably wondering how. You’ll be happy to know that there’s more than one way! Louisiana’s shallow waters were made for sight casting, and there are a few techniques to try out. Some are less obvious than others so let’s dive in.
Spin fishing for Redfish is a popular Louisiana past time. This is great news for all anglers. You don’t need a fancy set-up, and even beginners can experience success! A 7’ spin casting or bait casting rod with moderate to fast action will do in most cases. You should pair that with a medium-sized spin or bait casting reel that can handle 10–30 lb test line, depending on the size of the fish you’re targeting.
When it comes to choosing the right bait, base it on the waters you’re fishing in. You’ll want to mimic what’s in season or naturally found there. In general, Louisiana Redfish love to feed on shrimp, mullet, and crabs. Use these for live bait or find plastics that mimic them. If you’re fishing in shallow waters, try topwater lures. They mimic the motions of smaller fish, immediately enticing hungry Redfish.
Those of you looking for a challenge shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to target Redfish on the fly. They’re much easier to hook than Tarpon or Bonefish, making them a great target for fly anglers who are just starting out. On the other hand, a 30+ lb Bull Redfish at the end of your line will give even the most experienced fishers among you a thrill!
You’ll determine your rod size and weight based on the size of your targets. Fish weighing up to 15 pounds can be hooked with any fly rod. Once you move you up to the 30-pound mark, a 9 wt rod will be necessary. For even heavier fish, move up to a 10 wt rod. Redfish are voracious eaters, so there are plenty of fly patterns you can try. Just make sure your fly isn’t too big to fit in their mouths.
If you’ve already clocked more than a few hours of spin or fly fishing for Redfish, why not give bowfishing a try? This technique is more physically demanding than those previously mentioned, but you don’t necessarily need much experience to succeed. A little coordination and strength could easily put you on Louisiana Redfish.
You can try out bowfishing year-round but bear in mind that most trips take place in the evening. If you don’t have your own gear, it’s best to head out with a guide. We also recommend this if you’re unfamiliar with Louisiana bowfishing regulations. There are certain species and areas that forbid bowfishing. The nature of this technique is very permanent so you’ll want to make sure you’re following all the rules.
Redfish are one of the most widespread fish in Louisiana. As such, you’ll be able to find them in countless waterways across the state. Whether you’re fishing from a charter boat, a kayak, or from the shore, there are plenty of places to wet a line. Let’s take a look at some of the top spots below.
New Orleans: The state’s official capital and unofficial angling capital. It’s home to every Redfish habitat imaginable. Clear coastal waters, bait-filled marshes, and brackish river mouths make fishing for Redfish a year-round event.
Hopedale: Located just a short drive from New Orleans, this small town was made on fishing for Redfish. Fish the Biloxi Marsh (more on that below!) from December–March for sight casting on the fly or with bait in crystal clear waters.
Biloxi Marsh: Located on Louisiana’s northeastern shoreline, the Biloxi Marsh has more than a few things going for it. First of all, it’s packed with Redfish. By the time November rolls around, you could hook into fish weighing in at up to 50 pounds. Second, its remote nature keeps the crowds away. You’ll have the waters all to yourself!
Venice: You’ve certainly heard of Venice’s incredible offshore offer but did you know that it’s also called the “Redfish Capital of the World?” You can thank the Mississippi Delta for that! The waters are brackish and packed with nutrients fostering fish in the 25+ pound range.
Calcasieu Lake: Although best known for big Speckled Trout, Calcasieu’s mix of brackish marshes and lakes is also great for Redfish. During summer and fall, you’ll find big Bulls along the beaches and jetties. They’ll school up close to the Specks as they compete for the lake’s shrimp supply in spring.
Last but not least, let’s take a look at the regulations you should keep in mind. First off, you’ll need to purchase a Basic Fishing License for all anglers over the age of 16. This applies to anglers casting off a charter boat, pier, or from the shore. There’s also something called the “saltwater line.” When fishing south of it, you’ll also need to buy a Saltwater License.
For more detailed information on fishing licenses, check out our extensive guide. Next up is seasonality. Like we mentioned earlier, fishing for Redfish in Louisiana is a year-round sport and so the season is always open. The state’s liberal bag limits apply to this species, too. You can keep five fish measuring over 16 inches per person per day and no more than one fish measuring over 27 inches.
These rules are subject to change, however, so it’s always best to consult the LWF before heading out. The Redish population is in good shape in Louisiana, having bounced back after a rough patch in the ’80s. In order to make sure these fisheries continue to thrive, make sure you release undersized fish and take only what you will eat home.
No matter when you decide to go after Louisiana Redfish, count on an exciting day on the water. These fish are year-round targets that you’ll find in a variety of inshore waterways across the state. Whether you’re after a battle with a Bull or just hoping to take a fish or two home for dinner, Louisiana delivers. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to explore this Gulf state’s incredible inshore offer!
Have you been fishing for Redfish in Louisiana? Any stories to share? Let us know in the comments below – we love to hear from you!
Original Author: Iva at Fishing Booker
Original Content: Louisiana Redfish: An Anglers Guide