There’s no doubt that Louisiana is a colorful melting pot of cultures. But honestly, that was not the reason for my first visit to the state.
It was the stellar reputation of the state for offering some of the best opportunities for largemouth bass fishing in the country that lured me.
In truth, not many states offer as many choices to bass anglers as Louisiana. From vast expanses of brackish marshes to rich lakes and fast-flowing rivers, almost every body of water has a large population of bass.
No wonder the state is often called the “Sportsman’s Paradise”.
Quite simply, if you haven’t explored the fishing opportunities in the state, you’re missing out on a ton of excitement.
Going fishing in Louisiana? Then give a read to our Louisiana Fishing License guide.
1. Toledo Bend Reservoir
When you ask anglers about the best freshwater fishing destination in Louisiana and chances are, they will point out the Toledo Bend Reservoir.
And the reputation is not without reason. The reservoir was named the top bass lake in the nation twice by Bassmaster, and the current record for largemouth bass stands at 15.33 pounds.
There are plenty of fishing tournaments on the lake all through the summer.
The reservoir has a vast surface area of 185,000 acres and its waters are shared by Louisiana and Texas. Even though the seasonal patterns keep changing, late spring is the best season to catch big bass.
Once the spawning season is over, the majority of the lunkers head to deeper waters.
During my visit to the reservoir, I found the waters around Negreet Creek, especially the spots near boat docks and cypress trees, a solid fishing spot.
The creeks around the 1215 area near Pendleton Bridge are another great spot.
2. Caney Lake
While Caney Lake is much smaller than the Toledo Bend Reservoir, the bass is no less big.
Veterans will tell you that even though this is not a numbers lake, some of the largest bass in the state are found here.
Presently this 5000-acre lake in Jackson Parish holds the state record with a 15.97-pound monster largemouth.
In the past few years, the population of shad and sunfish has risen in the lake. In addition, the volume of aquatic vegetation has also grown.
So, there are high chances of catching bass between the six-to-nine-pound range.
Spring is the best time to head to this lake. Try a combination of squarebill crankbaits, jigs, and soft plastics with a slow presentation for the best results.
It’s also a great spot for night fishing.
3. Lake Bistineau
This is a reservoir in the Northwest corner of the state on Bayou Dorcheat. With a surface area of 17,200 acres, it featured in the Bassmaster rankings and has attained elite status.
The lake was stocked with Florida bass and that has resulted in larger sizes and aggressive strikes. In general, 3- to 4-pounders are easily found in the lake.
For the best catch, head to the north end of the lake where there are zillions of cypress trees and submerged stamps.
The main channel is also a great spot where you can use Carolina rigs or wacky worms.
A word of caution: locals advise caution while fishing in the mid-lake area, as the channels contain submerged stumps.
During the spawning season, creature baits are the best option. After spawning is over, the bass is eager to feed. Jerkbaits and spinnerbaits work well during this period.
4. Bussey Brake
This 2600-acre lake may not be among the largest bass fisheries in Louisiana, but it is a favorite among bass anglers.
You may not know this, but the biggest largemouth caught here weighs a massive 12.74-pounds.
In fact, the bass is fatter and healthier here than in most other Louisiana lakes.
A big advantage of Bussey Brake is that the water is crystal clear. That allows you to spot the lunkers before they spot you.
Moreover, the bass here has not adjusted to the fishing pressure yet.
Since the lake has a high population of shads, the bass tends to chase them. Try to find some openings in the lily pad fields and you will find some bass there.
Suspended jerkbaits and plastic worms are some of the top choices.
Since this is a young fishery there are regulations in place to protect the fish. The good news is, the reservoir will reach its peak in the next couple of years.
5. The Atchafalaya Basin
The Atchafalaya Basin is a swamp located in south-central Louisiana where the Atchafalaya River meets the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the largest wetland swamp in the US and will give you the vibes of a Brazilian rainforest.
While this isn’t the best spot for big bass, the bite rates are off the charts! In fact, it’s one of the best places to fish in Louisiana when you want to catch bass between 2 to 3 pounds.
Plenty of anglers have recorded crazy bite rates in these waters even when visibility was close to nothing.
When the bass in the Atchafalaya Basin gets going, they will bite at almost anything. Otherwise, jigs and plastic baits on the heavier side work best.
With heavier weights bets will not be swept down by the current.
Keep moving around and pick spots around submerged vegetation. And don’t forget to check out the hyacinth mats. Even depths around 2 to 3 feet can be good enough for high bite rates.
6. Poverty Point Reservoir
The reservoir is a part of the Poverty Point Reservoir State Park in northeastern Louisiana. It’s a year-round hotspot for largemouth, as well as black crappie.
Anglers have caught bass above 12 pounds in these waters. However, fish between 3 to 6 pounds are more common
Spring is the best season, as the bass tends to stick to the structures around the shoreline. However, the fishing pressure remains high in this period.
As summer advances, the bass heads towards offshore structures and the drop-offs.
Beyond that, you can try to find some of the brush piles that float around the lake. These are the favorite zones for the bass. Following the shad is also a good idea.
When it comes to lures, choose spinnerbaits and pick colors that work best in stained water. Other than that, plastic baits and worms work well in shallow areas.
7. D’Arbonne Lake
This beautiful lake is located within the Lake D’Arbonne State Park within an area of rolling hills and lush pine forests.
With a surface area of 15,250 acres, this is a large lake with an irregular shape. It’s best to get hold of a map that will help you choose the best spots.
While it was initially known for its crappie population, the lake has become a hotspot for largemouth bass in the past few years.
It’s not unusual to find an occasional 10 or 12-pounder in the lake. Besides, it has been included in Bassmaster Magazine’s “Top 100 Lakes” for 2022
As per veterans, the best fishing spots are near the edges of the feeder creeks where the stumps of the giant cypress trees are located.
Another great area to look for big bass is around the lily pad stems.
Generally, baits that displace a lot of water, including crankbaits and big plastic worms are good options.
8. Caddo Lake
This is a 25,400-acre lake and wetland that spans the border between Texas and Louisiana. Apart from largemouth, the lake also has striped bass, white bass, catfish, and crappie.
Even though the lake is a year-round largemouth bass fishing destination, the best period to fish is between February and mid-April.
The spawning waves in March and early April are the best time to catch 7-pound-plus bass.
In spring, the creek beds are great spots to find bass. During summer try dropping the lures around the dense vegetation.
Since the average depth of the lake is around 4 to 5 feet, you will find the bass close to the surface. A wide variety of baits work well in the lake.
These include spinnerbaits, bladed jigs, Senko-type worms, and other creature baits.
9. Red River
Many anglers consider the Red River a paradise for bass fishing in Northwest Louisiana. The river was included in the list of Top 100 Bass Lakes in the state by Bassmaster in the last decade.
As with most other rivers, the water levels in the Red river keep changing. Keep in mind that the main river channels may have a lot of trees and logs (called floaters) during the high-water periods.
So be careful before running your boat wide open.
Look around the grass mattes and lily pads to find the shad. Chances are the bass will be nearby.
In addition, there are some backwater areas, especially around pools 3, 4, and 5, that have a dense growth of alligator grass.
These are the areas where the fish can be found.
In the backwaters, topwater lures are good options. In summer the bass will be moving into the main river channel.
Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are a good option in that case.
10. Chicot Lake
Located in South Central Louisiana, this lake is a part of Chicot State Park. Since it has all the necessary facilities, it’s a great destination for a family fishing trip.
With a surface area of over 6,400 acres, it’s not a small lake and has produced a fair share of trophy bass. Even though double-digit bass is rare, locals have caught bass between 6 to 8 pounds here.
The ideal season is spring when the bass head to the shallow waters to spawn.
The best areas to fish are the coves and near the cypress and tupelo clusters that are abundantly found in the lake. Since the waters are clear, site fishing is also possible.
Some excellent baits around the docks and woody covers are jigs, soft-plastic baits, and live baits. Other than that, using spinnerbaits around the open bays and coves also delivers good results.
11. Black Lake
Located between Creston and Campti in North Louisiana, this reservoir has a surface area of around 7,000 acres.
The waters have both largemouth and spotted bass, and with the right amount of luck, you can find some lunkers. The reason is, the lake was stocked with a large number of Florida bass in the late 80s.
While angling options are good all through the year, local anglers prefer the month of May, just after the spawning period.
Since the average depth of the lake is around 8 feet, even if the bass head towards deeper water luring them is relatively easy.
There are multiple flats with tupelo and cypress grooves where the bass lurk. Another spot is near the lip of Black Lake Creek- the main channel that runs through the lake.
Vibrating spinnerbaits and whopper ploppers are some of the best lure options for getting aggressive strikes. Other choices include squarebill crankbaits, plastic worms, and jigs.
In late summer, use topwater lures to attract the bass that is feeding on shad.
12. Lacassine Pool
If you’re looking for the best spot to catch trophy bass in Southwest Louisiana, head for the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge near Bell City.
The total area of the pool is around 16,000 acres, but it’s divided into multiple segments by levees.
After passing through a few dry seasons in the last decade, the pool is still recovering. Still, bass weighing between 8 to 12 pounds isn’t hard to find here.
The lake is full of vegetation and these mats are ideal spots to look for bass. Big bass is found in the canals too. But the boat traffic through the canals can be heavy and that noise can make the largemouth finicky.
The best part about the pool is you can use a wide variety of baits to get the bass to bite. Texas-rigged creature baits, frog imitations, and craw baits are some good options.
Note, the pool remains closed between October 16 and March 15.
13. Ouachita River
For newbie bass anglers looking for easy bites, the Ouachita River is a great destination. Originating from Arkansas, the river snakes its way into Louisiana to merge with the Red River.
While the bass here is not as large as their cousins in the Louisiana lakes, they are available in high numbers.
Keep in mind, flooding is an annual occurrence in Ouachita, and the river can keep rising even in mid-summer.
However, there are river lakes and backwater lakes that are accessible all through the year. If you prefer a textbook approach to catching summer river bass, go for it.
In late September and October, the water temperature comes down and the bass heads towards the shorelines.
Topwater baits that resemble shad and buzzbaits are good choices during the late season. Other options include plastic lures and poppers.
Lastly, take a look at the consumption advisory issued for fish in the river.
14. Cross Lake
Quite often, Cross Lake is not on the radar of anglers looking for the best freshwater fishing in Louisiana.
However, this 8,575-acre is a popular angling destination for the residents of Shreveport and holds a significant population of big bass.
Apart from largemouth and spotted bass, the lake also holds catfish, bluegill, and sunfish.
The best place to look for bass is around the cypress tree covers and boat docks. Remember, this is a shallow lake and the average depth is around 4 feet. So, the water will warm up at a fast rate.
As per the locals, the lake is a great spot for jig fishing. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits also work well. Choose the colors based on whether the water is clear or stained.
That brings us to the end of our list of the 14 spots for the best bass fishing in Louisiana.
So, it all adds up to this…
While most water bodies in Louisiana contain bass, some locations offer better opportunities than others. Even so, it’s best to take note of the local conditions before you visit.
And make sure to get hold of a Basic Fishing License before you start fishing.
While we have singled out some of our favorite fishing spots, there are many other hidden gems in Louisiana that provide first-rate freshwater fishing opportunities.
Louisiana may not rank as high as Texas in terms of bass fishing opportunities, but it’s not too far behind.
What are your favorite spots for the best freshwater fishing in Louisiana?
Let us know in the comments.