10 Best Redfish Fishing Spots in Louisiana

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Louisiana is known as the Sportsman’s paradise for a myriad of reasons. Chief among these is its dense population of redfish.

Anglers and chefs alike prize these delicious and hard-fighting game fish for their beauty and flavor profile.

Although Louisiana offers a variety of fish to catch on a rod and reel, redfish remain one of the most sought-after species, and for a good reason. Redfish can be found from bayous and backwaters to coastal flats and into the Gulf of Mexico.

Tournaments and charter captains often focus solely on these coppery gold predators.

In this article, we cover the top 10 locations to angle for redfish in Louisiana and the seasonal fishing techniques and tackle you’ll need to catch them.

But first, here’s a little more info you’ll need to improve your odds of catching redfish.

About Redfish

An angler in a boat on open water holds up a large redfish he caught fishing off the coast of Louisiana.
Photo courtesy of Thom Pelle

Like the golden ticket in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, redfish are a saltwater and brackish water angler’s dream prize.

These powerful and aggressive predators go by many names, including channel bass or red drum. Plenty of anglers simply call them reds.

Redfish are closely related to black drum. These two species can often be found in the same environment and have even been found to interbreed.


Redfish can range in color from a dark, coppery red to a lighter silver shade, but all have white underbellies.

Many anglers attribute the fish’s coloration to the water’s salinity levels. For instance, redfish caught in water with a lower salinity level tend to have darker coloration, while those landed along the coastline or in the ocean tend to be a lighter, silvery color.

The fresh or brackish water of lakes, bayous, and rivers tends to have a much darker coloration than salt water like the ocean. Therefore, darker-colored redfish would strongly contrast with the clear ocean waters. So redfish physiologically change their color like a flounder adapting to its surroundings.

Likewise, silvery white redfish typically found in the ocean would change to a darker color after moving into fresh or brackish water areas.


These oblong, bullet-shaped fish begin their lives in estuaries before moving out to open water to reproduce. They reach sexual maturity between 3 and 5 years old and usually average between 28 and 33 inches.

 Redfish are easily distinguishable from other species by the large black dot on their tail. Although it’s not uncommon for juvenile redfish to have many spots, these usually disappear over time, leaving a singular black orb on their tail for the remainder of their life.

That spot is similar to dots on a butterfly’s wings designed to fool predators into believing they are staring at the fish’s eyes, not its tail.


Redfish will feed throughout the water column and are not picky when making a meal out of everything from crustaceans to fish. With a typical diet that includes crabs, mullet, shrimp, croaker, and minnows, redfish have even been seen striking baby ducks and small rodents crossing waterways.

Redfish by the Season

A man and woman with a boy hanging on to a large redfish along with a dock piled with more fish they caught in Louisiana.
Photo courtesy of Don Price


Redfish are usually very active during spring. Often found in shallow waters, where large quantities of crustaceans and baitfish along with warming water make for idyllic conditions to catch redfish.

Because shrimp are so prevalent in spring, it’s the best bait to use when searching for a red. 

While smaller reds may remain in the marshes, it is during spring that the bull reds will head back out for open water and into the gulf. 


Rising temperatures and varying weather make summer one of the best times to hook into a redfish in Louisiana.

With a high volume of forage fish species out and about during summertime, redfish tend to be very active, feasting throughout the warmer months.

During high tide, they can be found in offshoots in creeks, while low tide finds these coppery predators near the banks.

Live bait, in particular crabs, produces the best results, but flashy gold spinners or plastics also do well.


The singular best time of year to catch a large redfish is in the fall, when the annual bull red run occurs. Also, redfish feed more voraciously to fatten up for the coming winter. Both conditions make catching big redfish easier.

Anglers will find success during this time with live bait used around intersections or underwater structures. Passes and channels that lead into marshes and ponds from open water will often be full of sizeable reds.


During the winter months, redfish tend to be more sluggish and picky about their food. Live bait works best as the vibrations of a wounded baitfish or shrimp trigger the predatory response in these red drums. 

Weather permitting, anglers should look for structures such as wrecks, reefs, or oil rigs near shore or work the surf for the best chance of success. 

The key to winter fishing for redfish is to place an irresistible bait close enough so that reds won’t have to work for it. Casting upstream and allowing the current to bring the bait by is an excellent technique during the winter. 

Best Redfish Fishing Rigs

There are a variety of rigs used to catch redfish. We’ll talk about a few that yield better results than the others in Louisiana.

Popping Cork

When rigged with a plastic bait or shrimp, the popping cork setup can be incredibly effective while fishing both transition areas and shallower water. The motion from the popping cork and suspension of the bait in the upper to middle portions of the water column provides a tantalizing meal for any redfish looking for an easy meal.

Depending on the depth, bait, and water clarity, popping corks work well with the hook on a leader 1ft-3ft beneath the bobber. 

Carolina Rig

An incredibly versatile rig, this is an excellent setup for bottom fishing from both a boat and shore. With the bait suspended 6 inches to a foot above the bottom, a weight will keep the rig in place and allow anglers to set and forget.

Shrimp and minnows work well with this setup, but small crabs or chunks of larger ones yield the best results. 

This setup is optimal for working two or more rods, as anglers can cast this rig, set the bail and work another lure or rig while keeping an eye on the rod tip.

Gold Spoon 

These flashy, attention-grabbing lures are optimal for working banks and shorelines.

When redfish are in shallower water, this bait shines through as it catches the sunlight and simulates a wounded fish trying to make an escape.

Anglers have often caught bass alongside redfish when using this lure.

Jig Head Double Rig

Because redfish and speckled trout can often be caught in the same habitat, throwing a double rig common for speck fishing also will often yield reds.

This two-hook system is baited with plastics, usually shrimp or minnows, and retrieved directly back to the shoreline or boat.

This system works well in deeper water, channels, and from shore, as the rig provides two baits for these fish to choose.

Catch More Redfish

See our full-length how-to guide for all of our redfish fishing techniques and tips.

Top 10 Louisiana Redfish Locations

The following are my choices for the very best places in Louisiana to catch redfish.

Delacroix (Four Horse Lake)

One of the best feeding grounds for redfish, Delacroix is a labyrinth of lakes, canals, bayous, duck ponds, and offshoots, each lined with grass and filled with bait fish.

Unlike many neighboring marshes and waterways, Delacroix is immune to the seasonal influence of the Mississippi River. Fluctuations of water salinity, clarity, and depth plague many other fishing holes bordering the Mississippi, but not Delacroix.

Full of tucked-away hide spots within the marsh’s inner belts, Delacroix provides a safe haven full of oyster beds, bayous, and chokepoints perfect for an ambush predator like the redfish.

One of the best spots to catch redfish in Delacroix is Four Horse Lake. With a high concentration of water flow surrounded by a nebulous of ponds, this grassy area is rich in bait fish, making it perfect for reds.

On a falling tide, the north end of Four Horse Lake is perfect to drift, working the mouths of the bayous and pipelines under a cork. 

Hopedale (Biloxi Marsh)

The Biloxi Marsh’s brackish water is rich with bait such as shrimp, crabs, and oysters, all high up on the menu for redfish.

One of the best locations to angle for reds in the winter months, the waters off of Hopedale are rich with drum, trout, catfish, and reds. Cooler water means clearer water, so sight fishing for large reds sunning themselves during the winter is the name of the game.

Redfish can often be found with the mullet, so targeting those jumpers while throwing a live shrimp under a cork can be incredibly effective. 

Hopedale Lagoon is another excellent location, and trout and flounder also can be found off the grassy shoreline.

At Hopedale, many anglers fish closer to the surface when angling with a cork. They’ll rig the hook just 6 to 12 inches below the bobber.

Grand Isle (Barataria Pass)

Grand Isle has excellent fishing, with your options ranging from trout, croaker, redfish, drum, to plenty of catfish, as I’ve learned the hard way. 

While the beaches and bays of the interior are excellent for winter fishing, Grand Isle’s passes are some of the top locations for redfish year-round.

Particularly in the transition months from August through November, these passes hold monsters in excess of 30 pounds.

Sandbars, oyster beds, and drop-offs are prime real estate for these ambush predators.

A Carolina ring is recommended, baited with crab, shrimp, or mullet, and always hit the passes on a moving tide.

Passes in Grand Isle that are prime redfish real estate include Caminada Pass, Four Bayous, and Coup Abel. 

Lake Pontchartrain

Just like the old saying about where there’s smoke, there’s fire … in Lake Pontchartrain, where there is bait, there are redfish.

Although Lake Pontchartrain is home to the world record sheepshead, it also holds some large bronze beauties.

This location on the edge of New Orleans offers prime time angling for the fall and winter months when redfish will travel in large schools from the gulf into the lake to weather the cold.

The train trestles and Causeway Bridge are two of the best locations to find redfish during colder weather.

Caught alongside massive blue catfish, the redfish found in these locations will make even the sturdiest reels scream.

A good way to catch redfish is casting the bait and allowing the current to drift your bait past these ambush predators to lure them out. 

Having angled in Lake Pontchartrain the majority of my youth, shrimp are always a solid choice of bait. However, throwing a cast net at a pumping station or in the marsh to get your hands on small fish and minnows before hitting the water is also a viable option.

More: Complete Guide to Lake Pontchartrain Fishing


Some people are after redfish for their delicious flavor profile, while others are looking for the fight of their life. In Venice, you will find the latter.

Here, the Mississippi River Delta contains quite possibly the world’s most robust population of reds, where catching over 100 in a day is not uncommon. 

While there are plenty of redfish that range from 4 to 10 pounds, Venice truly shines through for its big bull reds. 

Monsters weighing over 40 pounds are usually rare at other fishing locations, but they are almost everywhere in Venice. These redfish bite year round as they aren’t as sensitive to weather as their trout brethren.

The passes are solid locations for the warmer and transition times of year, filled with the bait and hungry redfish.

During the colder months, redfish are in the bays where the shallower water stays warm.

While fishing at most other redfish hot spots tends to produce better using live bait, plenty of hefty bull redfish are caught around Venice with large plastics such as cobia baits.


Cocodrie is an area that holds redfish year-round. There are two key locations where you’ll find them.

During colder weather starting in November and ending in early April, the marshes of Cocodrie are home to redfish that range in size from 16 inches to well above the 30 mark. 

While the smaller members of the species will remain there year-round, the bull reds will head to the barrier islands just south of Cocodrie as soon as the waters begin to warm.

Locations such as Slip Camp Canal and Bayou Dufrene are deeper holes that house red’s during the colder months, while summer hotspots include Lake Boudreaux and Madison Bay.

One of the best techniques in Cocodrie is fishing the Carolina rig with dead shrimp. Having caught many reds and drum in Cocodrie on this rig alone, I can testify to the effectiveness of this simple setup. 

Vermillion Bay

Vermilion Bay is one of the best spots to angle for redfish in the summer months.

With various locations to try and fish thick in the water, Vermillion Bay is all about the right place at the right time. 

Though not full of trophy bull reds like Venice, Vermillion Bay has a solid crop of sizeable reds that are good eating and fun to catch.

Locations like Southwest Pass and the reefs beyond can have anglers limiting out easily, while the bayous and cuts of Marsh Island have sizeable reds patrolling the shores.

The key to Vermillion Bay is the bait. If you can find the shrimp or baitfish, you’ve found the reds (as well as trout).

Outcroppings on grassy shorelines and reefs are the two highest yield types of locations in Vermillion Bay. Areas such as the Rock Pile, Bayou Michael, and Redfish Point constantly produce a good quantity of quality reds. 

Little Lake

Just outside of Lafitte, Little Lake and its offshoots are home to a solid population of redfish.

Though very few trophy contenders will be caught in these waters, the views are excellent, and the fish are ferocious.

Locations such as the Bayou Rigolets bulkhead, Indian Graveyard, Bay L’ours rocks, and the ponds just south of Coffee Bay are all primetime locations for reds from summer till fall.

While a few locations are shorelines with cuts and draws, most are submerged structures that can be trolled around and angled from all sides.

In Little Lake, nearly every rig is effective, depending on the water color.

On higher salinity and colder days, gold spoons work magic alongside popping corks in the cuts. When angling around submerged structure or bottom, jig heads and Carolina rigs steadily produce reds.


While many redfish locations are tide-dependent, there are none more so than the waters around Buras.

Just off the Mississippi River, the bays here fish well with a rising tide, while redfish can be found in canals and drains when the tide is falling.

With no shortage of oyster reefs, the feeding grounds are plenty, and the reds are too.

In the earlier parts of the year, working in the shorelines and surrounding water tends to yield bull reds, while later in the year, the medium or slot-size-reds can be found amidst the marshes.

Finding grass, ponds, and a lack of wind is a perfect combination to pinpoint where the redfish are hiding.

Sometimes, anglers don’t have to leave the Mississippi River and go into the ponds to limit the redfish in the river itself.

Plastics tipped with shrimp or whole shrimp under a popping cork yield the best results in Buras. 

Lake Charles

If you’re looking to set your Christmas table with redfish, Lake Charles is one of the best locations when winter fishing for reds.

Possibly one of the best saltwater inshore fishing experiences along the Gulf Coast, Lake Charles spans the gamut of both freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities.

With connecting waterways to Prien Lake and Calcasieu River, Lake Charles is one of the few locations that still have a high volume of hungry speckled trout alongside sizeable redfish, even in the coldest months.

One of the best locations to fish in this area is the Calcasieu Ship Channel, which borders Lake Charles. Inside this channel at depths of 30 to 40 feet, sizeable reds and drum can often be caught in groups about 10 feet off the bottom.

Following the birds is another technique that often leads to success in Lake Charles as it puts anglers onto the baitfish and, by default, the reds. 

Tight-lining jig heads is one of the most effective methods when angling these deeper holes. Soft plastics in chartreuse or green with red flakes on a 1/4-ounce head have a high success rate.

The northwest portion of the lake holds the most beaches, hard bottoms, and the ship channel, making it the best location to angle in the body of water. 


Louisiana lives up to its nom de guerre “Sportsman’s Paradise” when it comes to fishing for redfish.

Some fishing holes produce high quantities of reds like Delacroix, while others are known for producing monsters like Grand Aisle. A select few do both, such as Venice or Lake Ponchartrain.

No matter where you decide to angle for redfish, if you hook into one of these coppery predators, you’re in for a fight. But with the correct tackle and a little luck, you too can catch one of Louisiana’s finest game fish.

Make sure to purchase your fishing license and check local regulations before heading out on the water.  

Eating Redfish

In Louisiana, a redfish is legal to keep if it’s between 16 and 27 inches, with about 24 inches the ideal size for cleaning and eating.

Besides conserving the fishery, there’s a health reason that larger redfish are usually not kept or consumed. The longer a fish is in the water, the higher the mercury level in its body.

Mercury is a toxin if consumed at higher levels, so eating younger fish with lower mercury levels is the healthiest choice.

Additionally, larger and older redfish tend to be bonier and have a higher level of parasites in them.