Louisiana Saltwater Fishing

Louisiana's Saltwater Fishing Enjoy World Class Fishing - All Along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast!

Louisiana offers some of the finest saltwater fishing in North America!  In fact, the Louisiana Gulf Coast is known world over for providing a wide variety of saltwater fish and fishing experiences, the likes of which are hard to find anywhere else.

Fifty years ago you could ride out many places along Louisiana’s Coast and rent one of the hundreds of wooden skiffs available at a number of locations. Visit inside, where there usually was a bar and maybe a lunch counter, and you’d see the walls adorned with photos of weekend fishermen and their catches. Those photos always included a few nice sized tarpon, speckled trout, redfish, or whatever the prized local catch was.

Today, many people bring their own boat or charter a trip with a local guide. But the fishing is just as great and the fish caught are the same as those their grandfather’s caught many years ago.

You can choose a morning’s outing close to home in the shallows and flats or you can enjoy a couple of days working baits with an off shore charter captain taking you out in deeper water fishing. No matter which type of fishing you prefer, you are bound to have some fun and catch some fish.  And if you’re smart, you can even plan a day to try both deepwater and shallow water all in the same day!

Louisiana saltwater redfish

Saltwater Fishing in the Shallows

Louisiana is home to miles and miles of coastal marshes, which are ideal fishing grounds for shallow water fishing.  This type of fishing may include:

  • Trolling bays, bayous and coastal areas
  • Cork or bottom fishing along the coast or near shallow water rigs
  • Paddling or kayak fishing
  • Sight fishing in ponds and shallow bays
  • Pier and dock fishing along lakes and bayous

In addition to having so many options for HOW to catch fish, you also have lots of chances to catch a different variety of fish.  Locals will tell you their favorite types of shallow water fish to target include:

  • Speckled trout
  • Redfish
  • Sheepshead
  • Flounder
  • Tripletail
  • Croakers
  • Black Drum
  • Tarpon

Offshore Saltwater Fishing

Offshore saltwater fishing can be an incredible adventure for those seeking the thrill of chasing big fish, and Louisiana’s coast offers the opportunity to catch just about anything you would like.  Whether you are experienced enough and have the equipment to go out alone or decide to engage a charter, you’re going to find a plethora of fish species in deeper water that will provide you with either great sport, a good meal or both.

Louisiana offshore red snapper

Louisiana offers offshore fishing opportunities to target:

  • Trigger Fish
  • Amberjack
  • Grouper
  • Barracuda
  • Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna
  • Bonita
  • White and Blue Marlin
  • Mahi-Mahi
  • King Mackerel
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Wahoo
  • Sailfish
  • Jack Crevall
  • Cobia

Many different species of Snapper including:

  • Red Snapper
  • Vermilion Snapper
  • White Snapper
  • Mangrove Snapper
  • Lane Snapper

Where to Go

The Louisiana coast is covered from one end to the other with great places to fish. You can start with exceptional shallow water fishing in and around Lake Pontchartrain surrounding St. Tammany Parish. This area includes Lake Borgne and Chandeleur Sound.  If you are traveling to the area for business, you can easily find a guide to take you out to one of these areas.

Move a little south and you will find Plaquemine’s Parish – home to Buras, Empire and Venice – all of which offer direct access to both shallow and deep water saltwater fishing including the famous “Midnight Lump”.  Head west from the Plaquemine’s Parish and you will find Cocodrie, LA in the Houma area. There is not a native Louisiana fisherman worth his bait who has not heard of Cocodrie. If you don’t know the area, finding an experienced and seasoned charter captain is easy.

Farther to the west, for Louisiana that is, you won’t find better fishing than in the Calcasieu Estuary. The Calcasieu River and Ship Channel from Lake Charles to the Gulf of Mexico to offshore provide some of the finest saltwater fishing in the state. There are plenty of guides who can show you the way if you need help and this area is just a few hours from Houston making it a short drive even from Texas.

Other Great Places to try saltwater fishing along Louisiana's Coast include:

  • Delacroix (St. Bernard)
  • Grand Isle or Lafitte (Jefferson)
  • Port Fourchon (Lafourche)
  • Morgan City or Franklin (St. Mary)
  • Pecan Island & Avery Island (Iberia and Vermilion)

> Click here to browse locations to fish along Louisiana's Coast

The Best Time to Fish

The best time to fish in Louisiana is whenever you can get the time! There are seasonal differences in where and how you fish, but no matter what time of year it is, the fish are always biting somewhere.

You will have to learn locally when fish will move in and out of shallow water based on air and water temperature, that is, unless you enlist the services of a guide.  Spring and summer are considered “prime time” for saltwater fishing as springtime brings the fish spawn, and summertime offers the longest windows for fishing. 

Fall is still a great time to fish, but the weather patterns begin to change as do the feeding habits of the fish.  This makes it more important to either develop local knowledge about the areas you like to fish, or find a guide who knows the area and can put you on fish no matter what time of the year it is.

In Louisiana, however, you can saltwater fish year round, even in the dead of our short winter, February. You will have to make some adjustments when you fish in winter. Let’s assume you or your guide knows where the fish are when it gets a little chilly.

Here are a few tips for fishing in the winter:

  • Slow your retrieve.
  • Fish in or near deeper water.
  • Don’t bounce or jerk the bait too much.
  • Set the hook. Some strikes feel soft.
  • Fish in moving water.
  • As the temperature warms watch for the fish to move to more shallow water and the reverse.

No matter what time of year you come down to fish, here are a few things everyone will need:

  • An out of state fishing license (day trip licenses are available)
  • Sunscreen
  • Lots of water or other favorite beverage of choice
  • A camera or video camera
  • Insect repellent
  • Rain gear
  • A big appetite for fun!

Do these things and you will have great fishing winter, summer, spring, and fall!

For Those Who Fish On Their Own

If you decide to go visit the area and go out fishing on your own, you can have a lot of fun and stay safe if you take normal precautions.  Make sure your boat is equipped with usable safety measures, life preserver, fire extinguisher, horn, etc. You need navigation lights and so on.

You must have tackle, of course, and maybe even bait. If you need to supplement what you have brought, a little online research will take quickly what you need locally at any of the great marinas and retailers across the coast.

Likewise, you’ll find fishing hints online on blogs and forums, or you can get good advice at most marinas. Just make sure you plan your day like you would plan a busy day at work. Know what you need and where you need to go, and make sure you are over precautious on safety issues.

Click here to view a list of Louisiana fishing regulations.

Using a Guide

If you are new to fishing in Louisiana, the benefits of using a fishing guide are obvious.  You skip all the worry about where to go and how to get there, and instead just sit back and get ready to reel.

  • Guides have the equipment.
  • They know where the fish are.
  • They know how to keep you safe.
  • They know the lures or bait that might work on any single day.
  • And most of all, you will receive a great learning experience from a seasoned guide.

Click here to browse a list of Louisiana fishing guides by area

So, don’t wait. Plan your Louisiana fishing trip today!