Learn More About Venice, Louisiana's Abundant Fish Species
When it comes to fishing in Venice, Louisiana, you’ll encounter a thrilling chase with a wide variety of fish species all year round. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice, there’s something for everyone. If you don’t see your desired species, reach out to us for expert advice on targeting specific fish.
Louisiana boasts diverse fish species in both its freshwater and saltwater environments. In the saltwater Gulf of Mexico, you can find popular catches like grey snapper, red snapper, redfish, sea trout, and sheepshead. In the rivers and bayous of Louisiana, you’ll discover a different set of species including largemouth bass, catfish, and southern flounder.
Seasons and Best Times to Fish Inshore or Nearshore around Venice, Louisiana
|Season||Fish Species' Best Season|
Redfish, Speckled Trout, Tripletail, Black Drum, Sheepshead
Redfish, Red Snapper, Lane Snapper, Cobia, Sharks, Speckled Trout, Sheepshead
Cobia, Redfish, Flounder, Speckled Trout, Sheepshead
Redfish, Black Drum, Flounder, Sheepshead, Speckled Trout
Let's take a closer look at some of the fish species recently caught:
Redfish, also known as red drum, spot tail bass, channel bass, or simply red, is a popular inshore fish found along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Ocean. They are highly abundant in coastal Venice, Louisiana and are cherished as a seafood delicacy in that region. Both amateur and professional fishermen take pleasure in pursuing this species.
Redfish are known to school together and can grow up to 12 to 14 inches in their first year, with some individuals living for over 40 years. Some exceptional specimens can exceed 50 pounds in weight, with the current world record standing at 94 pounds.
These fish inhabit coastal waters and can thrive in both saltwater and brackish water environments. Juvenile redfish tend to inhabit shallow waters near grass beds or oyster reefs, while adults prefer areas with deeper channels or drop-offs. Redfish are renowned for their migration patterns, which follow a consistent route year after year. During spring, they migrate from offshore spawning grounds back to inshore areas for summer feeding. As water temperatures cool in the fall, they move offshore once again before returning to inshore habitats in the winter.
Redfish exhibit opportunistic feeding behavior, and their diet changes as they grow. Juveniles primarily consume small shrimp, crabs, and other invertebrates, while adults prey on larger species such as mullet, menhaden, pinfish, killifish, and squid. They are also known to feed on crustaceans, mollusks, small fish, soft-bodied invertebrates, detritus (dead plants and animals), vascular plant material, and zooplankton. Redfish are known for their ability to consume a wide variety of food items that can fit into their mouths.
Now, let’s address the question of whether redfish are safe to eat. The answer is yes! Not only are they safe, but they are also quite delectable. Redfish possess a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a medium-firm, flaky texture. They are commonly coated with black seasoning and cooked through methods such as pan-frying or grilling. Smaller redfish weighing under 10 to 15 pounds are generally considered to be the most flavorful. While it is technically possible to consume redfish raw, it is not recommended due to the risk of parasites. It is always best to cook redfish thoroughly before consumption. When prepared properly, redfish provide a good source of phosphorus, selenium, protein, calcium, vitamins B12, vitamins B6, and niacin.
The saltwater drumfish is a fascinating creature with unique characteristics. It belongs to the category of fish that utilizes its fins to produce a rhythmic sound known as “drumming.” This distinctive noise can be heard over a considerable distance and serves multiple purposes. Primarily, drumming is employed to attract potential mates and to warn other animals of the black drum’s presence. In addition to its ecological significance, the drumfish holds considerable importance as a food source for various animals, including humans. Moreover, it finds applications in traditional medicine, and its oil is utilized in the creation of lamps and other products.
Typically found in saltwater environments near the shoreline, estuaries, or rivers, black drums tend to be most active during the daytime and exhibit a preference for residing close to the water’s bottom.
The diet of drumfish generally consists of both plant and animal matter, making them omnivorous in nature. Smaller black drum primarily feeds on plankton, while larger ones consume crabs, shrimp, and other small fish.
Most drum species possess a small mouth, jaw, and teeth. However, there are select species that have developed specialized adaptations, including larger mouths, protruding jaws, and sharp canine teeth. The dominant color among drumfish is silver, although numerous other species exhibit a range of hues such as red, brown, black, and white. Black drums typically possess a typical appearance for ray-finned fish, characterized by a long and rounded body, a groove or notch between the ray and spine, and two dorsal fins running along the back. Many drumfish species also feature dark spots on their sides. While certain species of black drum can grow to significant sizes, others remain relatively small. In general, they possess a rather unremarkable appearance.
The versatility of the black drum makes it suitable for various cooking methods. It is commonly used in the preparation of soups, stews, and can be grilled, baked, or fried. Drumfish is a nutritious option, rich in protein and low in fat. It also provides essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium.
In its natural habitat, the black drum assumes an integral role within the ecosystem. It participates in the food chain both as a predator and prey, contributing to the balance of the environment. Additionally, the drumfish aid in maintaining water cleanliness by consuming smaller organisms. Due to their challenging nature when caught, black drums are a popular target for fishing enthusiasts, as they provide an exciting fight.
The sheepshead fish is a marine species commonly found along the eastern coastline of North America and South America. Known for their human-like front teeth, they often get mistaken for the California Sheepshead, despite belonging to different families.
These fish have light gray bodies with dark vertical stripes resembling prison jumpsuits, earning them the nickname “convict fish.” Additionally, they possess sharp spines along their backs. Typically, sheepshead fish grow to a length of 17 to 17.7 inches, although some individuals can reach up to 36 inches.
Sheepsheads primarily inhabit saltwater and slightly brackish water, occasionally venturing into freshwater habitats during winter to seek warmer temperatures and escape the cold. In the winter and early spring, they migrate offshore for spawning, traveling from the surface to depths of up to 49 feet.
During spawning, female sheepshead fish release their eggs, which are then fertilized by the males. Although the exact spawning procedures are not well understood, females can produce anywhere from 1,100 to 250,000 eggs. After approximately 28 hours, the fertilized eggs hatch. Sheepsheads typically reach maturity by the age of two and can live up to 20 years in captivity.
These fish primarily feed on smaller marine creatures like mollusks, barnacles, crabs, shrimp, and small fish. To consume their prey, sheepshead fish employ the sharp spines on their backs to crack open hard shells and use their front teeth to crush the food into smaller pieces.
Sheepsheads have been a popular food source for centuries. Considered a delicacy in many regions, particularly in the southern United States, their meat can be prepared using various cooking methods such as baking, frying, or broiling. It is high in protein, low in fat, and contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health.
Speckled trout, scientifically known as Cynoscion nebulosus, or commonly referred to as spotted seatrout, is a prevalent fish species inhabiting the estuaries along the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, stretching from Maryland to Florida. While they typically dwell in shallow waters adjacent to grassy flats, they can also be found in various inshore bodies of water, including surf island chains and rivers. Despite its name, the spotted seatrout is not actually a member of the trout family but rather belongs to the drum family.
These fish are highly sought after for both commercial and recreational fishing in the coastal waters of the southeastern United States. Adult specimens can reach lengths of 19 to 37 inches and weigh between 3 and 17 pounds. Spotted seatrout are commonly encountered near the coasts of states such as Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. Juvenile trout primarily feed on shrimp and other crustaceans, but as they grow, their diet transitions to include a greater proportion of fish, with larger prey being favored.
For instance, research conducted in Texas and Mississippi has shown that fully-grown trout often target mullet as their preferred prey. In fact, exceptionally large trout may even attempt to devour mullet that are half or two-thirds their own size. During the spawning season, mature male spotted seatrout produce a distinctive “drumming” sound to attract females, a behavior exhibited by other members of the drum family. Spotted seatrout have an extended spawning period, which typically occurs from spring through summer.
In addition to its popularity among anglers, trout is highly regarded as a delicious food fish. Its moderately flaky, white meat is favored by many. Notably, inshore trout tends to have a softer texture compared to similar species, which means it can turn mushy if overcooked. Therefore, frying or broiling are often recommended cooking methods. Trout also offers several nutritional benefits, as it is a good source of vitamins such as B12, minerals like selenium, and phosphorus, all of which play important roles in maintaining overall health.
Red snapper, a member of the family Lutjanidae, is a marine ray-finned fish species. It can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. This fish holds great commercial importance and is highly sought after by anglers as a game fish. The body structure of the red snapper closely resembles that of other snapper species, including the Mangrove Snapper, Mutton Snapper, Lane Snapper, and Dog Snapper. They all share features such as a sloped profile, medium-to-large scales, a spiny dorsal fin, and compressed bodies.
The red snapper possesses needle-like teeth, but it lacks the prominent upper canine teeth seen in mutton, dog, and mangrove snappers. It has a vibrant red coloration and a robust physique. Typically, the red snapper reaches maturity at around 39 cm, with the average adult length being 60 cm, although they can grow up to 100 cm. Their skin contains melanin, a black pigment that provides protection from the sun. Additionally, they exhibit brown and white patches, along with a large orange-red area on each side of the head extending down the body. The predominant coloration of the fish is crimson, with more intense pigmentation on the back.
Juvenile red snappers measuring less than 30-35 cm may display a dark spot beneath the anterior soft dorsal rays, which fades as they mature. Their diet mainly consists of fish, shrimp, crab, worms, cephalopods (octopus or squid), and some plankton. Juvenile red snappers often fall prey to larger carnivorous fish in their habitat, such as jacks, groupers, sharks, barracudas, and morays.
Red snapper holds immense value in the Gulf region, and it has long been cherished by recreational anglers. When consumed, red snapper offers a distinct and delightful flavor, reminiscent of nuts, with a pleasant sweetness and mildness. In addition to its delicious flesh, the throats of red snappers are also considered delicacies. It stands as one of the most popular offshore fish among seafood enthusiasts. Furthermore, red snapper is highly regarded for its health benefits. It serves as an excellent source of protein and is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B6.
The Mangrove snapper, a species of snapper, inhabits the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean Sea. It thrives in diverse environments, including brackish and fresh water.
Mangrove snapper typically displays a greyish-red hue, but its coloration can range from bright red to copper red. When observed underwater from above, a distinct dark stripe can be seen running horizontally across its eye. While the average length of this species is around 40 cm, the largest recorded length is 89 centimeters. The maximum recorded weight stands at 20 kilograms. It is sometimes mistaken for the black snapper or cubera snapper, but it can be differentiated by examining the tooth patch on the inside roof of the mouth.
Mangrove snapper exhibits a preference for warmer climates and can be found near vegetation-rich areas such as canals, grass flats, and deeper waters. They also tend to congregate around physical structures like docks, shipwrecks, and debris. In open water, they are commonly spotted near the bottom or close to reefs. Mangrove snappers are often seen in schools, allowing for the capture of multiple individuals within a short period.
Mangrove snapper is highly sought after by both commercial and game fishermen, particularly in warmer regions. Novice fishermen find them relatively easy to catch. Live or frozen shrimp, squid, pilchards, mullet, ballyhoo, pinfish, and artificial lures are commonly used to attract them. Apart from being a popular catch, the Mangrove snapper is also highly regarded for its taste. Its white, flaky meat is considered delicious and lacks the overpowering “fishy” taste associated with some other species. It is utilized in various culinary preparations, such as sushi, ceviche, and other seafood dishes. The versatility of Mangrove snapper extends to cooking methods, including grilling, baking, frying, and broiling. In addition to its culinary appeal, Mangrove Snapper provides a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, while being low in calories and fat.
The Lane Snapper, also known as the Mexican or Redtail Snapper, belongs to the family Lutjanidae and is a marine ray-finned fish species. It is native to the western Atlantic Ocean. This fish has an oblong body shape with a distinctively pointed nose and a large mouth that protrudes when closed due to its upper jawbone. It exhibits two color phases: a darker and more distinct deep-water phase and a coloration seen during its shallow water resting phase. The maximum reported weight for this species is 3.5 kg, while its typical total length reaches around 25 cm, but it can grow up to 60 cm.
Both color phases of the Lane Snapper feature pink to red top flanks and back with a hint of green on the back. The lower flanks and belly are silver with a yellow sheen. The head displays three or four yellow stripes extending from the snout to the eye, and each flank has eight to ten tiny yellow/pink longitudinal stripes. The nape of the neck, back, and sides are dark gray to brown in color. Adults may have a faint black spot below the rayed part of the dorsal fin, which appears velvety. The fins of this species are typically yellow to red in color.
Lane Snappers are predatory fish that consume a diverse range of prey, including smaller fish, octopuses, gastropods, and crabs. These creatures form aggregations, particularly near Cuba, between March and September each year, with the highest activity observed in July and August. In Puerto Rico, spawning reaches its peak in May. After fertilization, the larvae of Lane Snappers settle by drifting on ocean currents for approximately 23 hours. However, limited information is available regarding their early development, except that they grow to be approximately 1 cm in length upon settling in a specific area.
The Lane Snapper is highly prized for its delicious white meat. It is a popular food fish in the Caribbean region and its popularity is also increasing in the United States. Due to its rapid growth rate, disease resistance, and ability to adapt to various environmental conditions, the Lane Snapper is considered a suitable species for aquaculture purposes.
Common Names for the Cobia Fish are Black Kingfish, Black Salmon, Ling, Lemonfish, Crabeater, Prodigal Son, Codfish, Black Bonito. The Cobia fish is a remarkable species as it is the only living representative of both the genus Rachycentron and the family Rachycentridae. It has a distinct appearance with an elongated body shape resembling a spindle. The head is flat and broad, and it has small eyes on either side of its small upper jaw, which extends beyond the lower jaw. The jaws, tongue, and roof of the mouth are lined with fibrous villiform teeth.
The Cobia has a smooth body with small scales. Its coloration is dark brown, gradually becoming lighter on the belly. There are two horizontal bands of darker brown running along the sides of the fish. During the spawning season, the fish’s black-and-white stripes become more prominent and contrast against the light background color.
Cobia fish are usually solitary creatures, except during yearly spawning gatherings. They can be found in various locations such as reefs, wrecks, harbors, beacons, and other structural refuges. While they are primarily pelagic, they may enter estuaries and mangroves in search of food. Cobia can be found in the Caribbean, including Mexico and Central America, as well as in the Indian Ocean off the coasts of India, Australia, and Japan. They also inhabit tropical to subtropical waters of the West and East Atlantic Oceans.
In 1978, a Cobia fish was first observed in the Mediterranean Sea off Israel. Over time, their distribution expanded, reaching as far west as Libya in 2019. It was classified as a Lessepsian immigrant, having traveled via the Suez Canal from the Red Sea.
Cobia fish feed on crabs, squid, and other fish. They are opportunistic scavengers and often follow larger animals such as sharks, turtles, and manta rays in search of food. These inquisitive fish show little concern for boats and can be seen swimming near the water’s surface, often beneath buoys, pilings, and other floating objects during the day. At night, they descend to deeper waters to hunt for food.
The spawning season for Cobia fish occurs from late spring to early summer. Females can lay up to 30,000 eggs at a time, which float to the surface and hatch within 24 hours. The larval stage of the Cobia lasts approximately 45 days. Cobia fish are popular among sports fishermen and are considered to be good for consumption, although their flesh is dark and oily. In certain regions, such as Japan, they are highly regarded as a delicacy.
Tripletails are a type of fish that have a unique appearance. They have a deep-bodied shape similar to perch and lack distinct corners. One distinguishing feature is their rounded dorsal and anal fins, which almost reach their tail. The name “tripletail” comes from the fact that they usually have three tails, although this can vary depending on the species. These fish display a wide range of colors, ranging from yellowish-brown to dark brown or black, often with spots or mottling patterns. While some tripletails can grow quite large, weighing up to 40 pounds, most are smaller in size.
Tripletails are known for their ability to adapt their colors to match their surroundings, making them excellent imitators. They often resemble flotsam and leaves, which helps them blend into their environment. Unlike most fish, tripletails swim or float on their side, similar to flounders. Although they spend most of their time near the water’s surface, they also exhibit a tendency to lounge around, much like garfish.
These unique fish can be found in the Gulf of Mexico, but they also inhabit tropical and temperate seas worldwide. They belong to the family Lobotidae, and contrary to popular belief, they are not related to grouper or other fish commonly seen along the Gulf Coast. Tripletails are semi-migratory pelagic fish that typically prefer a solitary existence, although they may form schools under certain circumstances.
During the summer months, tripletails can often be found near coastlines in bays, sounds, and estuaries. They are frequently spotted swimming around shipwrecks or other objects such as buoys and jetties. Commercial fishing for tripletail is conducted, with several tons being caught annually. Common methods include the use of haul seines, gill nets, and line gear. They are frequently caught along the edge of the continental shelf in driftnet catches targeting tuna, but they can also be caught using rods and reels.
Interestingly, for a long time, many people refused to consume tripletail because they believed the fish was diseased. However, it is now known that tripletail has some of the most delicious meat among all fish species. The flesh is firm and white, often considered on par with or superior to red snapper or grouper. The preferred cooking method for tripletail is to prepare it whole, which can be achieved through baking, broiling, or deep frying. Alternatively, the fish can be filleted, but due to their relatively small size, some individuals feel it’s not worth the effort.
Sharks, belonging to a group of fish, exhibit distinct characteristics including a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits located on the sides of their head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. They are categorized under Selachimorpha (or Selachii) and are closely related to rays. Unlike bony fish, sharks possess a unique system comprising outer flexible collagenous fibers that attach to their swimming muscles, providing them with energy efficiency during swimming.
Furthermore, sharks benefit from hydrodynamics due to the presence of dermal teeth, which reduces turbulence while they navigate through water. When engaging in shark fishing, it is essential to adhere to the first principle of always using a wire leader to attach the fishing hook to the mainline or rubbing leader. Sharks possess teeth or a rough mouth structure that can quickly chew through mono, fluorocarbon, or braided lines when hooked.
A common bait employed for shark fishing is mackerel. Known for its pungent and oily nature, mackerel serves as excellent shark bait. Most mackerel species are available throughout the year and have designated open seasons. Mullet, characterized by its size ranging from 9 to 19 inches, is another effective shark bait, both when used alive or as chunk bait.
For smaller sharks measuring between 3 to 5 feet, a 5/0 circle hook is recommended, while larger sharks require a 12/0 to 14/0 hook size. To minimize the chances of bending or breaking under tension, it is advisable to opt for forged hooks. While Florida is widely regarded as the shark fishing capital of America, Texas is not far behind, boasting a significant shark population and an ample coastline for fishing. In fact, it shares many similarities with Florida in terms of its abundant shark resources and fishing opportunities.
Flounder, a type of flatfish, can be found in oceans worldwide, residing on the ocean floors. They occasionally venture into estuaries as well. Their diet primarily consists of smaller creatures like fish spawn, crustaceans, and polychaete worms. Flounders typically reach lengths between 22 and 60 centimeters, although some can grow as large as 95 cm (approximately 3 feet).
The scales of flounders serve as camouflage, making it challenging for both predators and prey to detect them against the muddy or sandy seabed. Certain species can change their coloration to blend with the surrounding seabed, providing them with two advantages: signaling their emotional state to other species and serving as a form of communication. Their colors and patterns vary depending on the composition of the sediment, with common hues including orange, brown, green, white, and tan.
Flounders are typically found in deep areas of oceans and seas, often near man-made structures such as docks and bridges, as well as natural habitats like coral reefs. They can be encountered in various locations, including the coasts of Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia, spanning tropical and temperate waters. Some species even inhabit regions close to the Arctic.
Breeding season for flounders typically occurs during the warmer months. Females release over 100,000 (and sometimes even millions of) eggs, which are then fertilized by the males’ sperm. After a few weeks, the eggs hatch, giving rise to young fry. The timing of spawning is often synchronized with the period of highest food productivity and abundance.
Flounder is a sought-after fish worldwide, both for recreational fishing and commercial purposes. It is commonly prepared by frying, broiling, or grilling, but its versatility allows for a wide range of cooking methods and ingredient pairings, resulting in an astonishing array of culinary possibilities. The mild flavor of flounder complements various sauces, herbs, spices, vegetables, and cheeses. Its firm texture makes it easy to handle and cook, making it an excellent choice for those new to cooking fish.