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The 5 Best Fishing Spots in New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, the “Big Easy,” is one of the most famous cities in the United States because of the food, music and party scene. What you might not realize is that New Orleans is actually home to some of the best fishing in Louisiana.


Before You Go:

To fish in this state, you need to purchase a Louisiana fishing license unless you qualify for one of the following exemptions:

  • Children under age 16
  • Residents born before June 1, 1940, who have lived in Louisiana for six or more months
  • Free fishing weekends

You can find a full list of regulations on the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries website.


Lake Pontchartrain

Lake Pontchartrain is a 40-mile-wide estuary off the Gulf of Mexico located on the northern coast of New Orleans. It’s one of the best known fishing spots in all of New Orleans and is home to a wide variety of saltwater and freshwater fish species.


The lake is relatively shallow, and its basin has an average depth of 14 feet. Lake Pontchartrain is home to one of the longest bridges on the planet, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which provides habitat for many species and great angling access for anyone who doesn’t have a boat. The lake is also great for party-boat fishing, charter tours and even shoreline fishing. There are hundreds of miles of shoreline to explore that are easy to access by car.


What You Can Expect To Catch in Lake Pontchartrain

You can catch anything from catfish to bull sharks in Lake Pontchartrain, depending on the location and time of year. The lake has everything from bass and catfish to trout, crappie, sunfish, walleye, drum, carp, shiner, gar, and so much more. The variety of freshwater species is so vast that we can’t list them all here, but if you would like to do a deeper dive on the fish species of Lake Pontchartrain, check out this fishing chart.


While you can catch many different species on Lake Pontchartrain, the “big three” the lake is known for are speckled trout, redfish, and sheepshead.


Redfish

Redfish are one of the most popular fish angler targets in Lake Pontchartrain because they’re active all year round and it’s not uncommon to hook a trophy redfish. The best time to hook a large bull redfish is in September, when big redfish make their way from the Gulf of Mexico through the Rigolets and Chef Menteur Pass into the lake.


Sheepshead

Lake Pontchartrain is the best place in the world to catch sheepshead. In fact the largest sheepshead ever recorded — at a whopping 21.25 pounds — was caught right in Lake Pontchartrain. The best way to catch sheepshead is to bait the water by scraping barnacles, dropping a live crustacean and waiting for a bite. Sheepshead are notorious nibblers, so it’s an extra challenge figuring out when to set the hook. Sheepshead like to gather around docks and bridge pilings, so we suggest fishing there.


Lake Cataouatche

Lake Cataouatche is a 9,280-acre lake on the southwestern edge of New Orleans. The lake has an average depth of 6 feet and is known as one of the best places to catch bass in New Orleans and arguably all of Louisiana. In fact, the Bassmaster Classic pro bass fishing tournament is hosted here each year.


Besides the excellent year-round largemouth bass fishing, Lake Cataouatche is known for its redfish, blue catfish, rainbow trout, crappie, sucker, sunfish, yellow bass, white bass, and bigmouth buffalo. The lake is perfect for all types of fishing, and you should be reeling in bass in no time whether you’re using a fly, spinner, or casting rod.


City Park

City Park is a 1,300-acre public park located in the heart of New Orleans. The park is home to 11 miles of lagoons that are fun to explore and fish. There are paddle boat rentals in the park, but please note that you’re not allowed to fish from a boat in the park.


If you want to get the most out of your fishing experience without a boat, then we suggest heading over to Marconi fishing pier for bass, catfish, and perch, or Harrison Canal for bluegill and largemouth bass. The current park record for bass is 9.33 lbs, so there are whoppers even in the city.


Tangipahoa River

The Tangipahoa River is northwest of New Orleans, across Lake Pontchartrain. The river is perfect for fly-fishing and casting and is home to largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, and crappie. The river can be a bit treacherous, so we recommend fishing from the shore. If you want to take a crack at the river, you can always float a paddle boat down the river as you fish.


Delacroix Island

Delacroix Island is located 45 minutes southeast of New Orleans and is one of the best fishing locations in the area. The shallow marshlands are the perfect environment for speckled trout, redfish, flounder, catfish, and sheepshead. You can easily fish on your own from the shoreline, but if you want the best possible fishing experience, we’d recommend hiring one of the local charter boats.