Chasing Spring Catfish

Fishing for catfish is loads of fun, provides the main ingredient for a great fish fry and doesn’t take a lot of fancy equipment or special techniques.


Fresh caught Louisiana catfish make for a delicious fish fry!

Most people think about catfishing in the summer, but good catches start in late winter and last almost all year long.

4 Places to Catch Catfish in North Louisiana:

Nothing’s better than eating fresh, fried catfish. Unless, of course, it’s eating a batch you caught yourself. Now that’s Louisiana living! Find our top recommendations for where to catch catfish in North Louisiana.

  1. Fishing at Toledo Bend State Park: Try the coves around Toledo Bend State Park. Fish the shallow flats, around the banks near deeper water or the edges of creek channels later as the water warms. Fishing is good around older boat docks. The older wood seems to hold more fish. It’s a huge lake — 186,000 acres — so concentrate on one area and find the fish.
  2. Fishing at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge: If you like lakes off the beaten path, then you’ll love Black Bayou Lake. Tucked away in the far northwest corner of the state five miles from Vivian, catfish is a popular target here. Fish around the cypress flats and creek channels or marked boat lanes.
  3. Fishing at Lake Claiborne: Near Homer, Lake Claiborne is not as big as Toledo Bend, but its 6,000 acres offer great spring catfishing. Try the large coves that meander off the main lake. Later in the year, the deeper water near the spillway produces some great catches around the shore. Extend your stay by enjoying the many activities at Lake Claiborne State Park.
  4. Fishing at the Ouachita River: The Ouachita River is a totally different experience. It offers popular fishing from the Arkansas State line at Marion from Sterlington to Monroe and Columbia. Public boat launches provide access to the river itself and dozens of productive backwater lakes.

What bait is best for catfish?

The best baits for catfish are cold worms, earthworms or packaged stink bait. You’ll need a sturdy hook (1/0 or 2/0), at least a 12-pound line and a medium-to-heavy action rod and reel — or just a good cane pole. You can fish your bait under a cork or let the bait sink to the bottom. When you feel a tap, set the hook and reel in supper. If you need advice, just ask at the local bait or tackle stores in these areas. They’ll be glad to offer up-to-the-minute tips.

How to Cook Catfish

Frying catfish is simple, too. Once you’ve cleaned them, cut them into pieces, season to taste, coat them with cornmeal and deep fry in peanut oil. Catfish are also great blackened in a skillet or grilled with fresh veggies.

Kinny Haddox is an avid outdoorsman and writer from West Monroe, Louisiana. He is the publisher of and a feature writer for Louisiana Sportsman magazine.

Learn more about Louisiana fishing and fishing licenses through our Fishing Resources page.