How the Seasons Affect Redfish Fishing in Louisiana

Lousiana Redfish - Red catch

Charters and general anglers in Louisiana and throughout the south are lucky in that it’s possible to fish year-round. There are certain times of year (i.e. spring and summer) when the fishing is better, but with a little knowledge of the area, expert anglers go out and catch Redfish even in the winter months.

Officially known as the “Red Drum,” Reds are one of the most popular gamefish in Louisiana and coastal areas throughout the south. First of all, they provide a vigorous fight for their size. Secondly, Reds are one of the best tasting fish available in the waters of coastal Louisiana.

Because of their popularity, Louisiana and other Gulf coast states closely regulate Redfish. Louisiana has a bag limit (5 per person per day) and size requirements (27-inch max.), while other states restrict Redfish harvesting during their mating season.

Either way, hooking up with a Redfish in the Louisiana flats is an exciting experience even if you have to throw him back. Continue reading for a brief breakdown of where you can expect to find biting Reds in a given season.

Spring-time Redfish fishing – the Reds start coming out of their winter hiding spots

We couldn’t exactly figure out which season to start in since Redfish fishing is a year-round sport in Louisiana. However, spring seemed like a good place to start since the water is warming up and a plethora of other species are becoming more active. Reds are no exception.

Many Reds will stay in the tidal creeks and bayous where they’ve been staying through the winter. As the water warms up though, they will begin moving into the flats, along beaches and around any bridges and piers. High tides are especially fruitful during this time since the Reds will be found feeding vigorously on shrimp, crabs and small bait fish.

Summer-time Redfish fishing – Reds feed even more, but will retreat to cooler waters during the peak of the day

As the mercury climbs into the summer months, Reds will continue feeding vigorously, especially during tidal changes. However, with higher temperatures comes more discomfort for both anglers and the Reds down below. During the heat of the day, Reds will move into deeper water to stay cool. The heat is the key reason why charters try to go as early in the morning or as late in the day as possible. Reds are usually caught on the top of the water during these times.

It is possible to catch Reds during the heat of the day if you’re out during a tidal change. If it’s the slack part of the tidal cycle, your chances are greatly reduced. Reds are also found in large schools around bridges, piers and jetties during the heat of the day.

Fall Redfish fishing – Reds will continue to hang around the usual places, but may feed even more aggressively as they prepare for winter

Water temps in south Louisiana will take a while to cool off from the dog days of summer. Redfish will continue feeding in their usual patterns well into the fall, but as we get close to Thanksgiving, they will begin migrating into tidal creeks, bayous and rivers for the winter. Reds in Louisiana will still be feeding on shrimp, crabs and small fish, but ones located on the Atlantic coast also benefit from mullet runs in the fall.

Lousiana Redfish - clear winter sky
Clear fall/winter evening

Winter-time Redfish fishing – Although Reds are not as active, they still need to eat during the winter months

While Redfish fishing in Louisiana can get a little more unpredictable due to cold fronts moving through, it is possible to snag a healthy Red even in January. Tidal creeks, bayous and rivers provide the best opportunity. High tide is also when Reds will migrate into the flats in search for food. They will typically stay near the shore and near any cover.

During low tides, the Reds will be found in deep holes either in the tidal creeks or along the edge of the grass flats.

Also, like their bait and other critters of the Louisiana flats, Reds will stay close to the surface when the sun is out so they can warm up.

Just because it’s possible to catch Redfish any time of year doesn’t mean everyone knows how. Capt. Rob Dupont of Impulse Fishing Charters has been pursuing Reds in coastal Louisiana for decades and understands where to go, what bait to use and what techniques to employ regardless of the time of year. We invite you to visit today to learn more about Louisiana Redfish fishing charters.


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