This blog post will completely demolish your perception of redfish as a "saltwater" species.
Some folks give me a confused look at my reply when they ask if I've been saltwater fishing.
I always tell them "no" and that I've been "inshore" fishing, because I know that Louisiana's inshore fishery is not only vast, but unique.
Just as unique are her denizens of the marsh, those fish who have learned to live in both fresh and salty water.
One of those species is the versatile redfish.
Can redfish live without saltwater?
Yes, without a hitch.
This is possible because redfish do not require salt to be present, but rather high levels of calcium and magnesium, the kind we find in "hard water".
With this in mind, it's not an Earth-shattering discovery considering where we find Louisiana's tournament-winning reds: right next to bluegill and bass in low or zero salinity waters.
Texas A&M discovered this nearly 30 years ago and ever since the Longhorn State has been stocking freshwater lakes with redfish.
You can catch Texas' freshwater reds in Calaveras Lake and Braunig Lake in San Antonio, though it'd be odd to drive hundreds of miles to catch what can be caught right here at home.
So don't take off for Texas just yet!
There's A Catch With Freshwater Reds
Redfish populations cannot sustain in these lakes, so they must be re-stocked from time to time.
This is due to their inability to spawn in freshwater. It's 101 knowledge that redfish spawn en masse in the current of salty, deep passes.
These freshwater lakes lack those conditions and, even if redfish tried, their fertilized eggs would sink and be smothered at the bottom of the lake.
What do you think?
Lakes Braunig and Calaveras run shallow to more than 40 feet deep, with a hot water canal on both, not unlike the one that used to operate on the ICW near Bayou Bienvenue.