September 9, 2018

The #1 Reason A Tropical Storm Can Improve Fishing In Louisiana

You may believe tropical storms are bad for Louisiana's coast, but you'd be shocked to learn that's not 100% true. This blog post explains why.


Any tropical weather raising water levels could be the "perfect storm" for Louisiana's coast, and in a good way.

That's shocking to most people, because a tropical storm is generally perceived as a bad thing, often (correctly) being associated with flood damage...or worse.

But fact of the matter is that tropical storms have been part of Louisiana's ecosystem for a long time, and our coast has adapted accordingly to benefit from such a phenomena.

Keep reading to discover why. 

How Any Tropical Storm Can Make For Great Fishing In Louisiana

To gain a complete understanding of why a tropical storm are so good for fishing you must first understand that the fishing in Louisiana is already pretty darned good.

How good?


It's the only place in the world you can catch a largemouth bass and a tuna, from the same boat, launched from the same marina, in the same day.

gold orange redfish

Bright orange redfish like this one are found throughout Louisiana's coastal marshes.

You can catch 100+ speckled trout, sight fish bright orange redfish in crystal clear ponds, or search for triple tail under flotsam and channel markers.

So, the fishing is great, but what makes it so great?

Why Louisiana Has World Class Inshore Fishing 

Louisiana's awesome inshore fishing stems from two things:

  • she has a lot of marsh
  • that marsh is fed with lots of nutrients

This was all created by the Mississippi River.

Every year she swells from rainfall and snowmelt, picking up sediment and nutrients that are delivered to Louisiana's coast.

This action builds land and feeds the food chain from the bottom up.

Plankton are well fed, grow and multiply, which in turn feeds bait like menhaden, shad and shrimp, which in turn feeds our sport fish (and – eventually – me and you).

Don't forget that, at the same time, this river water helps build land to create lagoons, bays, bayous and more that provide shelter and habitat for said bait and fish.

This has been happening for thousands of years and what makes Louisiana such a special place to go fishing.

How does a tropical storm play into this?

Louisiana's fishing is so good not by river water alone, but because of the mixing of river and saltwater.

It's like a juicy cocktail that, when blended with the right amount of each ingredient, makes for an amazing adult beverage.

tropica storms inshore fishing cocktail

Imagine if the ingredients weren't balanced: it would make for a pretty bad cocktail nobody would want to enjoy.

That's where a tropical storms comes into play: they balance the cocktail of inshore fishing by bringing in additional saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico in the form of storm surge.

river water plus hurricane equals trout

You can see this storm surge on weather stations such as the Shell Beach Buoy. 

There are many examples, with 2018's Tropical Storm Gordon being a good one:

tropical storm gordon surge in shell beach

Tropical Storm Gordon did us the huge favor of providing a good push of saltwater to match the amount of river water we got (which was a lot), which contributed to an excellent fall run of speckled trout and redfish.

Saltwater and river water are basically yin and yang, creating the ideal environment for inshore species.

What about a full blown hurricane?

I can't say that it has the same effect, or that the effect is worth it because it's more than extra rain and a few flooded roads.

It goes without saying that a full blown hurricane is bad for all of us.

I'm not saying we should ever hope for a storm, but that a low-key tropical storm or tropical depression can be "just right", minus all the negative impact brought on with a full blown hurricane.

Over To You

What do you think about the "cocktail" of river water and saltwater? 

Do you think that's what makes Louisiana's fishing so great? 

Are spillways good for enhancing a fishery?

Do you feel that tropical storms really do enhance our fishery?

Tell us what you think in the comments 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.

  • Any update on the political side of our fishery ? We’ve financially joined the fight but wanted to see if there has been any positive move for our recreational fishing family . Thanks

  • RE: “…Don’t forget that, at the same time, this river water helps build land to create lagoons, bays, bayous and more that provide shelter and habitat for said bait and fish.

    This has been happening for thousands of years…” I OVERALL TOTALLY DISAGREE…the past maybe 100 years since channelization/levees have caused a faster water flow and lessening the instance for lagoons, bays, etc to build. This faster/high-pressure flow carries the sediment PLUS now more than ever chemical pollution into the Gulf creating a larger and larger DEAD ZONE which will never dissipate! My humble opinions…

  • I think you should go fishing as soon as it’s safe to go.

    Venice has a big river running through it, Hopedale does not. That’s the biggest difference.

    Otherwise, it depends on what you want to catch.

    Hopedale is probably a better bet.

    There’s a lot of industrial/commercial boat traffic in Venice you’d have to contend with, whereas there’s far less in Hopedale.

    You may want to consider the ponds off of the Spoil Canal.

    Oh, and thank you for being a member of LAFB Elite!

    Tight lines!

  • Hey John, thanks for commenting.

    I’d say it’d be worth checking out as soon as you can safely launch the boat.

    Saltwater above 5ppt probably isn’t the best for bass and bluecats, and the context of this article is inshore fishing, meaning speckled trout and redfish, but the species do coexist in low saline water (as you have seen on what sounds like a great fishing trip).

    I’ll tell you that many locals in St. Bernard (as well as Orleans and St. Tammany parishes) are very anti-river, though there is irony in the fact that the river is what built what they have.

    Bayou’s La Loutre, Terre aux Boeuf, St. Malo and Oak River are all former channels of the Mississippi River.

    That and the rest of Louisiana puts up with river water just fine, because it’s part of the game, part of what makes our fishing great.

    I’ll put it this way: you’ll see guides from Hopedale/Shell Beach (no diversion) run to Delacroix to catch fish (has diversion), but never the other way around.

    Anyway, you should go fishing when you can (as common sense permits).

    Thanks for reading.

  • Very interesting points. When I tried Hopedale in early March, for the 1st time ever fishing in Louisiana, many locals said the high muddy water from river run off, had made fishing unusually tough. I was actually happy with the fishing, catching really nice blue cats, a decent number of seatrout, bass, white trout, and some BRUISER Reds, up to 40”, and said that I’d definitely be back. If this tropical storm’s surge is going to bring in an influx of saltwater, making fishing better, I can’t wait to try there again, and have to start planning another trip. How long would you guess that it’ll take for things to settle down, and the fishing to pick up? Again, THANK YOU for your VERY useful/helpful information. YOU were my source for studying the area, before my last trip, thanks again, you Da’ Man!

  • Timing? When after this storm passes, might fishing be back to normal or maybe even better in short term? Two days, a week? What’s difference in say Hopedale vs. Venice? I’m from Mississippi and kayak fish so I’m interested in shallow accessible waters.
    Thanks, Dale

  • Amen! I’m ready for it.

    I fished the Rigolets today and didn’t do bad catching 15 specks and ten whites, so I am hoping that’s an indicator of things to come.

    Thanks for commenting!

  • Great article Devin. I was talking about this exact topic with a fishing buddy this weekend as well. Once I saw the effects of the saltwater push for myself this past weekend in the Biloxi marsh I now have my hopes up that the cocktail of fresh and saltwater is mixing up as we speak and this fall is one to remember for us all!

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