December 5, 2023

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Louisiana Fishing Seasons Guide: A Complete Guide

Reading Time: 10 minutes

When a state neighbors the Gulf of Mexico, one thing is certain: non-stop angling action is guaranteed! And that’s precisely what today’s headliner promises. If you’re looking for a place where you can wet your line at any time of the year, look no further than the Pelican State.

But if it’s so simple, why should you learn about Louisiana’s fishing seasons?

Photo taken by Southern Addiction Outfitters

Well, there’s always a catch (pun intended). Sure, you can cast your line whenever you want and the chances are you won’t end up empty-handed. However, if you’ve set your mind on landing that dream catch, then you should probably stay with us and learn when’s the best time to go after your trophy fish.

To help you hit the jackpot, we’ll cover the most popular fish species in Louisiana and their availability throughout the year. Now that it makes more sense to keep on reading the article, let’s jump to the next section and see when your chosen fish is up for grabs.

What can I expect from Louisiana’s fishing seasons?

We know you’re eager to find out when the productive time to go after your fish is. For this reason, we created two tables outlining a month-by-month guide to the most famous saltwater and freshwater fish’s seasons.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of what each month has in store for you, take a look below to get an idea of what you can expect from Louisiana’s fishing seasons.

Freshwater Fishing

Louisiana is home to mighty fisheries such as the Mississippi River, the Red River, the Atchafalaya River and Basin, Caddo Lake, and Toledo Bend Reservoir. With such big names under its belt, this Southern beauty can be nothing but a freshwater angling magnate.

This also means you won’t lack world-renowned freshwater stars like Bass, Catfish, Crappie, and Gar when fishing in Louisiana. So, if you’re a fan of these species, here’s a quick breakdown of their seasonality.

Species Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Catfish Weak Weak Good Great Great Great Great Great Good Good Weak Weak
Crappie Weak Weak Good Great Great Great Good Good Great Great Weak Weak
Bass Good Good Good Great Great Great Good Good Great Great Good Good
Gar Weak Weak Good Good Great Great Good Good Great Good Weak Weak

Saltwater Fishing

With Louisiana’s famous marshes and bays, and access to the Gulf of Mexico, the Pelican State is also a dream destination for every saltwater fishing aficionado. Depending on whether you opt for an inshore, nearshore, or offshore pursuit, you could cross paths with Redfish, Flounder, Speckled Trout, Sheepshead, Cobia, Snappers, Groupers, Amberjack, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Billfish. Without further ado, let’s see when you can meet some of these celebrities.

Species Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Redfish Good Good Good Good Great Good Good Great Great Great Great Good
Flounder Great Weak Good Good Great Great Good Good Good Closed Closed Great
Speckled Trout Good Good Good Great Great Good Good Great Great Good Good Good
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

When is Louisiana’s best fishing season?

Seasonality and availability of fish species are subject to constant change. Flounder, for example, used to be a year-round recreational target. But the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) announced in 2022 that there would be an annual closed season for Flounder in fall.

So, the best season is when the fish are biting and regulations allow harvesting. To stay on top of the hot bite, keep an eye on the LWFC’s updates and regularly check out what Louisiana fishing charters are reporting at the moment. Additionally, we’re always here to help with our monthly insights. Click on any month below to take a look at what’s on offer.


A photo of two anglers sitting on a charter boat and posing with a big Yellowfin Tuna caught offshore in Louisiana
Photo taken by Calcutta Gold

While you might still be in the New Year hype, we can’t say the same for the underwater world. January is probably the slowest season in terms of fishing in Louisiana. This, however, doesn’t mean you should skip it. If you were playing with the idea of casting a line in January, we recommend you persist, as you might be pleasantly surprised.

The open waters will treat you to Yellowfin Tuna. These migratory species can be found around oil rigs in January. Venice is your ideal starting point for deep sea fishing and Tuna hunts this time of year – if the weather allows. Meanwhile, you can always count on Redfish inshore. Rig up popping corks and grubs, and Reds will follow. Trout and Flounder aren’t lagging far behind either. And just like that, an Inshore Slam is in the cards in January.


A photo of a kid proudly showing off his small Sheepshead catch while standing on a charter boat in front of the captain
Photo by Speck Dat Charters LLC

Similar to its winter neighbor, January, February isn’t a go-to month for angling in Louisiana. The winds can be high, water low and stained, but you shouldn’t underestimate its power to produce brag-worthy specimens. Places such as Venice and St. Bernard have witnessed dozens of 35″ Bulls in February.

Besides Bull Reds, Sheepshead, Black Drum, and Speckled Trout may grace the end of your line, too. Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna are present offshore as well, so don’t overlook February! Team up with a local guide to get the most out of your winter fishing trip. These captains know the area like the back of their hands, so they’ll take you to where the fish are.


A photo of a full cooler with Speckled Trout and one Flounder on top, all caught in Louisiana
Photo by A Fishing Fool Coastal Charter

With winter in the rearview mirror, March slowly but surely opens the door to species other than Redfish and Tuna. The first half of the month can still bring the cold fronts – making you work for your trophy. But the second half usually radiates warmer weather and more favorable angling conditions. And Flounder love that.

As the water temperatures rise, many underwater residents become more active. Speckled Trout are particularly perky in Biloxi Marsh and Barataria Bay in March. Early spring is the prime time to focus your attention on freshwater fish as well. Largemouth Bass, for example, are getting ready for their spawning season, and you’ll have ample opportunities to land them in Toledo Bend Reservoir, Atchafalaya Basin, and Caddo Lake.


A photo of an older angler standing on a Louisiana fishing charter boat and struggling to carry a massive Black Drum with both hands
Photo taken by A Fishing Fool Coastal Charter

Spring is now in full swing, and freshwater superstars dominate the angling scene. Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass kick off their spawning season in northern Louisiana and are steadily taking over the area. Meanwhile, Catfish are on the verge of their own spawning season, so the fishing is heating up.

In the saltwater realm, the VIPs are going steady. The water levels, on the other hand, can vary a lot in April and May. You might come across big tide swings in some marshes. Fishing wider bodies of water such as bays and sounds might be preferable in April. Lake Pontchartrain, in particular, proves to be a prolific site for Reds and Specks. And even if the water level gets as low as 3 feet, you may land a massive Black Drum.


A photo of a young boy smiling while posing in front of the jetties with his Sheepshead on a beautiful and sunny spring day
Photo taken by 5 Eaux Fishing Charter

Similar to April, May yields great results. This is when the easter winds are blowing, large Redfish females are in – along with 20″ Specks. Whether you’re after a keeper or want to practice catch-and-release, you’ll fish your heart out in the New Orleans region. Start early in the morning with topwater lures, and then switch to live bait later for the best outcome.

Reds and Specks are on fire in May, but so are Flounder, Black Drum, Mackerel, and Finger Mullet. Lake Charles and its surrounding jetties hide a good number of Sheepshead, too. Gear up with live shrimp if you want to score them. And just when you thought May offered everything it possibly could, the end of month announces the beginning of the Red Snapper fishing frenzy. How about that?


A photo of an angler standing on a charter fishing boat and posing with a big Red Snapper caught nearshore in Louisiana
Photo taken by Southern Angler Fishing Charters

Louisiana’s Red Snapper fishing season is raging and no other fish are as sought-after as these beauties. Rest assured, you’ll have plenty of fish to go after, but Red Snappers are the ultimate targets in June. Keep in mind that this is a highly-anticipated event and charters are booked out well in advance. So, if you want to secure your spot aboard a first-class Louisiana Red Snapper fishing charter, book ahead of time.

Grand Isle, Port Sulphur, Buras, and St. Bernard are among the premium starting points for a Red Snapper pursuit. But the best hotspot by far is Venice. This is also a great site to launch a Cobia and Shark hunt or to go after a variety of bottom dwellers such as Vermillion and Lane Snapper, and Gag and Red Grouper.


A photo of an angler standing on a charter fishing boat and posing with a huge Mahi Mahi caught offshore in Louisiana
Photo taken by Ruff’s Fishing Charters

Come summer, the angling goes from excellent to exceptional. This is especially true for deep sea fishing. The hottest month of the year and big game fish go hand in hand. July is perfect for deep blue battles and testing your skills against Cobia, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and even the occasional Sailfish.

If you’re open to new experiences, we recommend booking an overnight Blackfin and Yellowfin Tuna trip. You’ll beat the heat and feel the thrill of fishing at night near the drillships. Freshwater adrenaline seekers can have fun, too. July is the prime time for a Catfish adventure. At the same time, the Atchafalaya Basin and Catahoula Lake are famous for their healthy and thriving Channel and Blue Catfish populations in summer.


A photo of two proud anglers standing on a Louisiana fishing charter boat and posing with a big Amberjack caught nearshore during the high season
Photo taken by Coastwide Charters LLC

The blazing hot sun brings one more fish to an already mixed bag of catches – Amberjack! Picture-perfect and hard-fighting, Amberjack are on every angler’s list. You’ll find them lurking around reefs and wrecks in depths up to 300 feet. Unfortunately, they aren’t always on the menu. The recreational Amberjack fishing season is strictly monitored in Louisiana and it varies from season to season, but August is usually a month you can count on to go against these voracious opponents.

So, if you want to spice up your Louisiana summer fishing trip with Amberjack, stay alert and follow the LWFC’s news for availability updates. Meanwhile, let August bless you with equally fresh targets like Tripletail and Jack Crevalle. If you’re more into the good ol’ Reds, impressive-sized ones are guaranteed.


A photo of an angler wearing a cap and a pair of sunglasses while standing on a Louisiana fishing charter boat and posing with a Gar
Photo taken by Right Side Charters

Speaking of Redfish, late summer is all about them. Some guides almost exclusively focus on them in September. Why? Well, slot specimens will be at the end of your line wherever you wet it. Plus, there are plenty of Bulls still patrolling around. With both keepers and prize catches, September is raining Reds inshore. When it comes to freshwater angling, Gar rule the inland kingdom. Massive and mighty, these royals must find their place on your September fish list.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for Speckled Trout. Post-spawning Trout aren’t rushing back in from the open bay waters. So, if you want to target Specks, head to the barrier islands like Breton and Gosier Islands. Since they’ll be less aggressive, use swimbaits on jigheads instead of the usual artificial baits. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across Sharks, Spanish Mackerel, and Jacks as well.


A photo of a boy wearing a pair of sunglasses and a cap while posing on a Louisiana charter fishing boat with a small Bass in one hand
Photo by Speck Dat Charters LLC

October holds a special place in the hearts of local anglers. This is the last chance to go after both quality and quantity before everything starts to slow down. What’s more, October is probably one of the best seasons to fish in Louisiana. And no, we aren’t exaggerating. We’re probably selling it short. Over the years, October has cemented itself as the most reliable month in producing a large number of trophy catches.

For starters, the inland waters are brimming with Bass and Crappie. Bass shine in Toledo Bend Reservoir, while Crappie populations are thriving in the scenic Atchafalaya Basin. The inshore fisheries are equally teeming with Reds and Specks, and you don’t even have to run outside Delacroix to limit out. Meanwhile, offshore hunts is reserved for Marlin. The only fish that isn’t up for grabs in October is Flounder.


A photo of several anglers standing on a charter fishing boat and posing with a Redfish each during Redfish fishing season in Louisiana
Photo by Right Side Charters

November brings cooler air, mild temperatures, and a drop in water levels. But this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can only benefit you, as Redfish will be more comfortable in the shallows. On top of that, November also promises crystal clear waters leaving you with ideal conditions for sight and fly fishing in the marshes.

Flounder is off-limits and so is Amberjack, but there are plenty of other fish in the sea you can go after. The deep blue action hasn’t subsided, and Louisiana’s anglers will be rewarded with epic Yellowfin Tuna chases and Marlin battles. Meanwhile, the inland fisheries are ruled by Largemouth Bass and Crappie.


A photo of a girl wearing a pair of sunglasses and a cap while posing on a Louisiana charter fishing boat with a decent Bass in one hand
Photo taken by A Fishing Fool Coastal Charter

The period between April and November has long been considered to be the prime time for angling in the Pelican State. So, December marks the unofficial end of Louisiana’s fishing season. This, however, doesn’t mean you’ll end up empty-handed if you decide to go fishing in winter. It just means you shouldn’t count on screaming reels and sore arms. But there’s always something to be caught.

Lake D’Arbonne, for example, will treat you to decent Bass and Crappie specimens. But the weather will affect their behavior and dictate their movement patterns. Warmer weather will allow you to fish around grass clumps, while the colder temperatures will make your targets move closer to the bottom. Long story short, you’ll be able to score as long as you know where to look for the fish.

Louisiana Fishing Seasons: A Year-round Rodeo

A photo of an angler leaning over a boat and posing with a Billfish, while a man behind holds its bill, caught offshore in Louisiana
Photo taken by Just Plain Loco Sportfishing

Unlike some states where superb casting is limited to certain months only, Louisiana offers excellent year-round angling opportunities. But like everywhere else, fishing is weather- and location-dependent. In other words, if you want to land your dream catch, you have to know where, when, and how to find it.

So, in case you’re uncertain if your fish is booming at the moment, consult the experts. A helping hand from a local guide comes in handy here. Meanwhile, we hope that our blog on Louisiana’s fishing season has answered some of the questions you had.

Have we helped you resolve any dilemmas you had about Louisiana’s fishing seasons? Do you have any tips and tricks on when to fish in the Pelican State? We’d love to hear from you, so hit the button below and share your thoughts with us in the comments.

The post Louisiana Fishing Seasons: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Tanya
Title: Louisiana Fishing Seasons: The Complete Guide
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2023 14:09:00 +0000

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