(i.e. Canoe, kayak, or whatever suits your
Contents: Reasons for Paddle Fishing;
What type of gear you will need; Where to buy; and a List of the Top Spots
For those of us who prefer the reliability and sound of human power over outboard
motors, this page is for you. It is a top ten list of the best places
within southeast Louisiana to fish from your canoe or sea-kayak. The rankings
are not in any special order, and this is only meant to be a general guide for beginners.
If you have additional information about any of these locations, I would greatly
appreciate your input.
Without exception the most common question I get from other anglers is why would anyone
want to fish from a canoe. My answer (the long version) is always the same.
"Over the past ten years I have owned at least three different power boats, and
during that same ten years, if I had set aside the same dollars in retirement funds that I
placed in those boats I would be retiring a minimum of thirty years earlier.
Each fish I caught from these fine machines had a net book value per pound higher than
that of the finest filet mignon in the most expensive restaurant. Truth be told I
could have purchased cheaper caviar."
This is not say that I didn't enjoy my boats. Nothing could be further from the
truth. But without question, I didn't enjoy the expense or the maintenance
However, since purchasing my canoe and sea kayak, I have finally beaten the system
--cheap to operate, easy to clean up, and absolutely just as much fun as anything bigger.
If you buy one, you will never look back.
Gear -- "Just the
-- Anything that floats and is somewhat stable. I
prefer my canoe to anything on the market, but I have some serious limitations
-- no open water. The best all around boats are the sit on top kayaks.
There are lots of models, but for this area unless you are going great distances
or in serious open water, shorter is better. Think light
weight in whatever you buy. If it weighs a ton, trust me you will not use
Paddles -- Spend
money here!!!! The more you spend here the happier you will be. My
boat is so old and in such bad shape, people laugh at me at the launch.
But because I use excellent quality kayak blades, I quickly pass
My arms last all day, while theirs give out an hour after sun rise.
Never use a single blade paddle no matter what kind of boat
If you are lucky, you just will not go
anywhere because they are two slow for Louisiana waters. If you are
unlucky, you can be pinned by the
wind against a bank or even blown out into the middle of open water.
Also, buy a paddle leash. Loosing a paddle could cost your life.
(I even bring a spare set. Saved my life while fishing in Lake
Anchor -- Always bring two.
With a single anchor, strong winds will tend to spin
you in circles. Weight isn't an issue here, but
the best anchors will dig into the mud.
Lifejacket -- Always
wear it, no matter where you are!!!! Paddle fishing is fun, but there is
more risk here than in a bigger boat. Running
over a stump can flip you when you least expect it.
And worst yet, power boats just do not see you at high
speeds. Try to buy a life vest with large arm holes. Life
jackets that fit tight around the arm, will rub you raw.
Everything else is
just extras. Fight temptation and keep the gear simple. When
you add depth finders, motors, etc., you add weight, trouble, and expense.
Places to Buy Gear
For paddlers in New Orleans, it is hard to beat the two
stores in town for both boats and advice. They have a great selection of sit on top
boats and a tremendous selection of fly fishing equipment. Their staff is extremely
knowledgeable. These people really know how to fish from a paddle craft! You
can reach the Sporting Life at 504-529-3597 or email them at
If you are looking for a canoe or cockpit style kayak another great
place is Adventure Sport's in Metairie. They have a
great selection of both boats and paddles. They have just started carrying a
new line of Harmony kayak paddles that are some of the best on the market for the lowest
price ($100.00) I have ever seen. The staff is extremely knowledgeable of paddling opportunities in
the area. Ask for Joey when you go in and tell them I sent you. Their phone
number is 504-835-1932.
For the paddling crabber, the only place to buy nets is from Adams Fruit Market in Lockport, Louisiana. It is a forty
minute ride from New Orleans, but it is well worth the trip. He has perfected
crabbing to an art form. Don't be fooled by the cheap crab nets on the
market. A good crab net is something that is pasted from one generation to the
next. It isn't something you use for a season. Their phone number is
A Good Crab Net has two rings and is made from plastic netting. Don't buy
nylon or cotton -- you will regret it later!
Best Paddle Boat Fishing Spots
in the New Orleans Area
- Hwy 1 -- South of Leeville to Grand Isle -- Probably the
best place to fish salt water. No matter where you put in you are bound to find
redfish. The key here is to look for the cuts that feed the water between the land
masses. Fish on a falling tide and use live bait if you are a beginner.
Cacahoes fished on bottom are a sure fish catcher. Where the grass is thick be sure
to fish under a cork.
HINT!!!!!! PADDLE SLOW AND QUIET. I
HAVE NEVER FISHED ANY OTHER PLACE WHERE THE REDS ARE SO SPOOKY!!! I DON'T EVEN
TALK WHEN I FISH FOR FEAR OF SPOOKING MY PREY. USE ANCHORS CAREFULLY!!!
Another limit caught off Hwy 1
- Myrtle Grove -- Best wintertime place to fish in
the State -- Located South of Bellchase off Hwy 23 on west side of road. Costs $5.00
to launch. Fish this area when it is so cold you don't want to go.
The rule here is the windier, the wetter, the colder, the better. If it is
above 32 degrees forget it. For summer time fishing, paddle away from
the launch and into marsh. It may take a little paddling here but the reward is in
Winner at Myrtle Grove
Bonnie Carrie Spillway -- Located west
of New Orleans off Hwy 61 -- Scattered throughout the entire spill way are a series
of ponds. I have never fished these areas personally, but in the spring there is
supposed to be guaranteed crappie/sac-a-lait catches. Bass and catfish are also
supposed to be plentiful. If you like fly fishing this is the place. For
crappie fish blue and white jigs under cork about three feet deep. For those who
enjoy crabbing from their canoe go to where the Spillway meets the lake and crab
away. The commercial guys stay out of this area, and the crabs are bountiful.
- Des Allmands Bayou -- Located west of New Orleans, off Hwy
90 -- This is a great place to fish. Incredible variety -- catfish, bass,
crappie, and perch. This is not an easy place to fish without grass shrimp.
Bring a fine mesh net and go along the bank next to grass patches and scoop up the
shrimp. Tip everything you fish with them, and with a little luck you will have lots
- Lake Ponchartrain -- One of Louisiana's best kept secrets
-- From the Twin Spans to the Causeway, Lake Ponchartrain offers all types of fishing from
Tarpon in the fall to big Speckle Trout harvests in the spring. The best spot to
fish for paddlers is the west shore next to the Hwy 11 bridge and the twin spans.
Use spoons or other artificial baits to work the shore line back toward Bayou
Sauvage. Then, after a morning of running the shore, if you are in a sea worthy
boat, paddle out to the twin spans and slowly troll along with Miro-Lures. This is
one of the best speckle trout areas in the state.
- Lafitte -- UNDER CONSTRUCTION --- A great place to fish, but
a nightmare of boat traffic. I have just finished
fishing Lafitte for the first time.
There seems to be big fish everywhere, although my luck was not quite as good as I had
hoped. I will report more later.
- Tchfunte River -- Located next to Madisonville,
Louisiana. This river is one of the most picturesque places in Louisiana.
Please watch for the boat traffic here. On a Sunday afternoon, it will feel as
though you will never get a moment's peace. The fishing up river is all fresh
water. Sac-a-lait, catfish and bass abound. The good news is the further up
river you go the better the fishing and the less the boat traffic. About five miles
north of Madisonville, the river is extremely narrow. I have been told that this a
great place for brown bass. Anyone who fishes this area please give me a
report. Also, the mouth of the Tchfunte is a great spot for catching red
fish, speckle trout, flounder, and white trout. As always live bait works best, but
use what you like.