Caddo Lake lies in the northwest corner of Louisiana, straddling the state line with east Texas. The lake has a long shoreline and 25,400 acres of water that is home to thriving populations of bluegill, sunfish, longnose gar, catfish, hybrid stripers, chain pickerel, largemouth bass, white bass and crappie. In all, there are over 70 species of fish in Caddo Lake.
Caddo offers several easy access points for bank fishing, while numerous public boats ramps are available to launch watercraft for anglers who want to experience the lake’s backwater fishing areas.
Largemouth Bass Fishing on Caddo
Caddo Lake offers great fishing for a variety of gamefish species, but it’s best known for its superb largemouth bass fishing. The heaviest largemouth bass pulled out of Caddo topped 16 pounds and was caught using a Senko. Troph-size catches over 8 lbs are common.
If you really want to reel in some lunkers I recommend bass fishing during the spawn early spring between March and April. The best opportunities occur during the biggest spawning waves when the full moon is out.
Caddo Lake Record Catches
While Caddo is known for its large bass, the lake also produces large catches for stripe bass, catfish, freshwater drum, crappie and a number of other game fish species. The following chart shows record catches on Caddo Lake.
|Fish species||Weight (lbs)||Length (inches)||Fishing method|
|Largemouth Bass||16.17||26.50||Bait Casting|
|Hybrid Striped Bass||4.5||26.25||Bait Casting|
|Spotted Bass||2.10||15.75n||Bait Casting|
|White Bass||3.02||17.13n||Bait Casting|
|Yellow Bass||1.37||13.75||Bait Casting|
|Black Crappie||2.00||15.25||Bait Casting|
|White Crappie||3.04||17.00||Bait Casting|
|Longnose Gar||3.65||33.00||Bait Casting|
|Chan Pickerel||4.63||25.00||Bait Casting|
|Bluegill Sunfish||0.80||9.50||Can Pole|
|Readear Sunfish||1.52||11.38||Bait Casting|
|Warmouth Sunfish||0.66||8.82||Bait Casting|
Best Fishing Spots on Caddo Lake
Fish are plentiful throughout Caddo Lake but some spots offer better fishing than others. If your target is lunker bass, fish the cypress groves during early spring. Spawning bass attach their eggs to the cypress trees and underwater structure in these areas. Cast your line underhand, overhand or however you can to get your bait in close to the groups of trees.
One of the keys to fishing Caddo is to fish in the shallows. A lot of bass are caught in just 2 to 3 feet of water during spawning season. Get as shallows as your boat will let you during spawning season if you want to catch some trophy bass.
As water temperatures cool in late fall and winter, begin fishing the deeper waters and creeks. Once water temperatures are back above 50 degrees in the spring, move back into the shallows to take advantage of the annual bass spawn.
For the best bass fishing some anglers swear the Texas side of Caddo is better. It offers a lot of cover and it tends to have less fishing pressure. If you launch from the Louisiana side of they lake with a motor boat, you can be just about anywhere along the Texas side in about 10 minutes.
When to Fish Caddo Lake
Caddo Lake can be fished all year long. However, certain times of year yield higher catch rates than others. The following chart shows the best times of year for fishing Caddo’s most popular game fish species.
|Fish Species||Best time to fish|
|Largemouth bass||Can be fished all year. Best time of year to catch trophy bass is during the early spring in March.|
|White bass||Winter through early spring in areas where there is water current is the best time to fish for white bass.|
|Crappie||Winter through early spring is the most productive time to catch black and white crappie.|
|Chain pickerel||Fish during winter and early spring in areas where there is under water vegetation.|
|Sunfish||Most productive time to fish bluegill, redear, warmouth and other sunfish species is late spring and early summer.|
|Catfish||Channel, blue and flathead catfish are most plentiful and easy to catch in late spring and early summer.|
How to Fish Caddo Lake
The most effective fishing technique on Caddo Lake is a simple, accurate cast and retrieve. Cast your lure as close as possible to a tree, or stump, or slightly beyond. Allow your lure to sink a few feet, then quickly retrieve. Head to the next tree, and repeat the process until you get a bite.
Caddo Fishing Regulations
Make sure to review all regulations before fishing Caddo Lake. The following are the fishing regulations for each of the most common fish species.
|Largemouth bass||Length limit 14-18 inches; Daily bag for all black bass species is 8 (no more than 4 largemouth over 18 inches)|
|Spotted bass||No minimum length; Daily bag for all black bass species is 8|
|Carp||No minimum length or daily bag limit|
|Blue and channel catfish||No minimum length; daily bag and possesion limit is 50; maximum of 5 over 30 inches in length|
|Flathead catfish||Minimum length limit is 18 inches; daily bag and possession limit is 10|
|Crappie||No minimum length limit for black and white crappie; Daily bag limit 25 crappie (black and white)|
|Gar||Daily bag limit of 1 for alligator gar; No bag limit on other gar species|
|Sunfish||No minimum length limit for all sunfish species including bluegill, redear, warmouth|
|Trout||No minimum length limit for all trout species (rainbow, brown, hybrid); Daily bag limit 5 trout|
|White bass||No minimum length limit; Daily back limit of 25|
|Striped/Hybrid bass||Minimum length limit of 18 inches; Daily bag limit of 5 striped and hybrid bass|
You must have a matching fishing license for whichever state you plan on fishing. If you’re going to fish from the Texas shoreline, you must have a Texas fishing license. If your’e going to fish from the Louisiana shoreline, you must have a Louisiana fishing license. You can fish anywhere from the water with either a Texas or Lousiana fishing license.
A valid fishing license is required for all anglers over the age of 17.
You can use a variety of baits and lures on Caddo Lake. For spring bass fishing, swim jigs, bladed jigs, creature baits, spinnerbaits and senko-type baits are really effective. Darker colored lures (black/blue/red) tend to be preferred, but bream colors work for action lures including spinnerbaits, bladed jigs and swim jigs also work well.
Moving into fall and winter, topwaters and the Alabama rig become a mainstays of lure fishing in Caddo Lake.
Best Gear for Fishing Caddo Lake
A medium-heavy to heavy action 7′-7’6″ baitcasting rod and reel combo with 7.5 to 1 gear ratio is a good setup for targeting bass and most of the other popular gamefish species in Caddo Lake. If you prefer spinning gear, a good spinning reel will also work. The most important thing is that you’re comfortable with using whichever rod and reel combo you go with. Accuracy is everything. If you want to catch fish on Caddo, you need to be able to get your bait right up next the trees.
You can use flourocarbon or monofilament line—either will work, although a flourocarbon line isn’t really of any benefit on Caddo since the water has pretty low visibility. Heaftier 30- to 50-pound braided line is recommended if you plan on fishing heavy cover and vegetation.
Fish finders and other electronic gear are of limited benefit when fishing Caddo Lake. Most of the lake is shallow and you’ll typically find fish next to cover and near cypress groves. When fishing the deeper creeks during late fall and winter, a finder can be useful for finding balls of shad.
Top Tips for Fishing Caddo Lake
- Don’t attempt to fish entire lake. Find a good spot and fish it.
- You want to get your bait or lure in next to the cypress trees.
- Don’t fish the same exact spot too long. Fish a tree with a couple casts and move on.
- 90% of your time should be spent fishing the shallows.
- Make sure your casts are accurate. Accuracy is everything on Caddo Lake.
- Caddo lake is shallow. Pay attention to the marker poles. Always keep your boat on the side of the post where the metal marker plate points to avoid running into land or underwater stumps (especially on the Texas side.)