February 26, 2019

Best Redfish Action Can Be Found In Freshwater


This blog post will completely demolish your perception of redfish as a "saltwater" species.


Freshwater Redfish

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.

redfish in aquatic grass

Redfish love aquatic grass, which grows best in areas with low (or zero) salinity.

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.

largemouth bass and redfish

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!

Lake Braunig

This landlocked lake in Texas is home to some hammer redfish.

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.

braunig lake navionics

It's a different playing field for sure, but do you think we Louisiana inshore anglers could give those Texas boys a run for their money?

I think so, especially with side imaging sonar and my favorite spinnerbait, Matrix Craw or jig.

How about you? Chime in below!

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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  • Morning,
    Your approach and insight on how / when / and where to fish is the best of all the Louisiana based videos and blogs I have watched. Really enjoy all your content. Please keep it rolling.

  • i have fished lake Braunig for redfish and stripers a few times. You can rent a boat and ride out to the hot water canal . there is a concrete walkway that spans the canal to keep boats out. You can stand on the walk way and catch Reds , stripers and tilapia . It is a total different fishing experience than fishing for redfish here in Louisiana. They use 2-3 oz spoons and bucktails to get maximum distance and depth. Canal is DEEP.

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