Louisiana Fly Fishing
Known more for its nightlife and music, the New Orleans area is fast becoming a destination vacation spot for fly-fishing anglers.
The Crescent City is luring fly casters keen to test their skills against the resident red drum and other game fish found in abundance around the vast marshlands that form the Mississippi Delta.
The traditional Louisiana redfish fishing season gets started in September and runs into early December, particularly for those anglers who are targeting the coveted “bull” reds, adult redfish that can tip that scales at 40 pounds or more. The bull reds migrate into the shallows beginning in the late summer and early fall as the water temperature drops in the marsh.
The brackish waters of the marsh are replenished daily by the gulf tide as it mixes with the freshwater from the Mississippi River. The vast delta forms a vast nutrient-rich habitat where redfish thrive. It’s all spread across a vast fishery that spans thousands of acres of Mississippi delta. You can literally spend weeks fishing the marsh and never put a cast in the same place.
Redfish Fly Fishing in Louisiana
Also referred to as Red Drum and channel bass, redfish occupy an extensive and impressive length of Atlantic Coast habitat and are found as far north as Delaware and as far south as the Florida Keys and around the Gulf of Mexico to Brownsville, Texas.
The ubiquitous nature of the redfish may have led some anglers to overlook redfish as a game species. However, that began to change about 20 years ago commercial redfish fishing was banned by the U.S. government in federal waters. Many states followed suit, enacting restrictions on redfish commercial and sport fishing harvest. In the ensuing years, the redfish stocks have rebounded, including in Louisiana, which many consider the redfish fly fishing capital of the world. And for good reason, Louisiana’s extensive marsh and river delta area south of New Orleans, forms one of the largest contiguous redfish fisheries in the world. The “marsh” forms the perfect habitat for shrimp, blue crab, and baitfish are three of the mainstays of the redfish diet.
Our Approach to Fishing for Reds
We typically book guests in pairs and we work the water as a team.
When you’re on the front of the boat, it’s your time to be ready with your rod and your fly. Fish can appear and disappear in a blink and you need to be able to take a shot within 180 degrees at a moment’s notice. You’re also a second set of eyes for the captain. On the bow, you’re actually closer to the water and the fish. You’ll want a good set of polarized lenses that cut down on glare and let you see into the shallows. We’ve been working the waters around Hopedale for more than a decade, longer than many of the guides in the region and we know the water and the fish. We pride ourselves on spending less time searching and more time stalking. We take a traditional approach to the hunt, we read tides and weather.
We are also out every day on the water, so we have a good idea of where the fish are, where they have been, and where they might be headed. We work the skinny water, shallow ponds, channels, and spots where redfish are most susceptible to a fly. Sight fishing is the name of the game. And while it requires patience and persistence, there’s nothing quite like poling up on a feeding red from a distance and measuring your shot, and watching a bull red turn your fly. Game on!
Hook, Line, and Sunshine
The Ultimate Fly Fishing Experience in Louisiana!
Black Drum Fly Fishing and More!
Redfish are the primary target species in the marsh, but we typically encounter a number of other opportunities during a day on the water.
Black drum, a close relative of the redfish, are a common site and offer good angling opportunities. Also, called puppy drum the black drum responds to a well-placed fly and fights hard. No day is complete without a couple of shots at the resident sheepshead, affectionately dubbed “sheepies” by locals. Sheepshead mostly occupy the same habitat as redfish but are more like a bayou piranha. A mature sheepshead is typically in the two-three pound range. They will eat a fly but are extremely gun-shy and easily spooked.
Planning Your Louisiana Redfish Fly Fishing Trip
There are lots of reasons to choose Louisiana as your redfish fly fishing destination.
One of those reasons is the ease of travel. New Orleans is a destination city with an international airport that offers direct flights from most major cities. Flights are typically affordable, particularly for those who plan in advance.
Many of our clients choose to stay somewhere in New Orleans, which allows them to enjoy all the food, entertainment, and nightlife that the city has to offer. There are overnight rentals available closer to Hopedale, including floating fishing lodges for those interested in a more fishing-centric experience. If you choose to stay closer to the city there are hotels, and overnight rentals available across the city. Anglers who want to avoid city traffic and associated pitfalls, might opt to stay in Chalmette, which is less than 30 minutes from the Hopedale marina and offers all the amenities needed for a small or large group, including gas, groceries and restaurants, though not much in the way of entertainment.