Clinton, LA Fishing: A Historic Entrypoint to Freshwater Fishing in the Baton Rouge Area

Discover the best inshore fishing opportunities in the Baton Rouge area with a trip to Clinton, LA.

Clinton, LA Fishing: A Historic Entrypoint to Freshwater Fishing in the Baton Rouge Area
Clinton, LA Fishing: A Historic Entrypoint to Freshwater Fishing in the Baton Rouge Area
Team Guidesly

December 8, 2022, 6 min read

Updated on December 5, 2022

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Clinton is the small but prosperous locale in the Parish of East Feliciana, near the heart of the state of Louisiana. It was founded in 1824 to be the parish seat following the division of the original Feliciana Parish into East and West. It is one of the places officially in the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Shortly following its establishment, Clinton replaced Jackson as the legal center of the region. When the Port Hudson Railroad was built and opened in the town in the mid-1830s, Clinton grew even richer, turning into the cotton trading center of the greater area before eventually becoming incorporated in 1852.

Today, Clinton retains an air of its prosperously elegant past. The place is dotted with handsome historic buildings and private houses in the Victorian, Greek Revival, and Antebellum styles that date back to its years of glory as an economic powerhouse in the area. These structures have been painstakingly restored to evoke Clinton’s past while still being in use.

Clinton’s unique historic atmosphere draws many films and TV shows to use the area as their shooting location. Apart from the evocative beauty of its built structures, the nature in and around Clinton makes it a refreshing day trip destination from nearby Baton Rouge. The entire parish of East Feliciana, sitting on lush forested rolling hills just a few miles north of the capital, provides a great and easily accessible escape deep in the heart of the Pelican State. From here, visiting anglers can access many of the area’s unique backwaters and bayous, offering a peaceful alternative to the high-adrenaline Louisiana offshore fishing experience we have always read about.

Clinton Fishing

sunset, boat, quiet

When we think of Louisiana fishing vacations, we think of high-octane deep-sea fishing adventures on the Gulf Coast. But that’s not the only reason the state is known as the Sportsman’s Capital. Louisiana has a dearth of freshwater and brackish water bodies that offer productive fishing for novice anglers, family anglers, and the sport angler alike.

The Amite River is a famous waterbody visitors can access from Clinton. It’s a Lake Maurepas tributary and the largest Lake Pontchartrain Basin tributary. The river itself branches off into multiple canals and bayous. Less than 5% of the river shoreline is developed, with most developments in the area in the lower third of the river, consisting mostly of camps and houses.

This river has a tricky reputation among anglers — you either love or hate it. There’s no singular experience on this unique river. Some anglers fish in the waterbody for the entire day with no success, while others catch more than they can carry in their coolers. On a good day, anglers can catch a hundred spotted bass in the river. Other fish species you can catch here include white bass, crappie or sac-a-lait, flathead catfish, channel catfish, bullhead catfish, redear sunfish, goggleye, bluegill, and longear sunfish. The key to fishing the river is to go toward the deep dark water under any cover, usually along the steep clay bank. The slow eddies will hold big fish. During summer, the river bends and rip rap are the best spots to fish. Experts typically head to the rip rap to catch their bait fish. This serves two purposes — to lure the bass and to spot where the fish may be hiding. Position your cast parallel to the bank if you’re fishing from a boat, and avoid repeatedly casting toward spots that hold fish, so you don’t spook them.

When locals mention the Amite River, the Comite River is usually attached to the conversation. Like the Amite, it’s a bass hotspot, particularly during dry spells when the water is low and clear. Anglers like to wade fish in it when the water is low enough, heading upstream to find the spotted bass on the river bends. It’s likewise a nice river to float and fish on a canoe. The fish here are a lot smaller, but the scenic float along the water and the beaches where one can stop to relax with a picnic or a swim should make it worthwhile.

As part of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Area and bordering East Baton Rouge Parish, Clinton provides a convenient gateway to the stocked BREC ponds. These public ponds are a long-standing tradition in the region and are a must on your fishing tours if you want to introduce your family to the sport. What’s great about these ponds is that they’re available to fish all year round. The most common species you can catch in these public ponds are bluegill, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. Each year, the agency also chooses three to four ponds to stock with adult rainbow trout in the winter. The selected ponds change yearly to give every place in the BREC a chance to catch fish. The agency, though, will not announce the information in advance. Once they’ve done the stocking, they will only release the names of the ponds chosen for the year on their official Facebook page. Anglers are advised to get to the ponds within a week of their stocking because they generally do not last unless some holdover trout manage to stay in the deeper waters until next year’s early spring. Catch and release are encouraged, but anglers can keep four daily trout per person.


Top 10 Fish Species in Clinton, LA

The top 10 species found in Clinton, LA, are spotted bass, largemouth bass, white bass, channel catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, crappie, redear sunfish, longear sunfish, and rainbow trout.

Seasonal Fishing

Anglers can find productive fishing in the Pelican State all year round, though some seasons are better than others if you’re looking for a particular catch. Bass are usually spring and fall targets, with weeks before and after spawning season the best times to catch them. The BREC ponds receive channel catfish stockings in the spring and fall, and a lucky few ponds get their rainbow trout stocking during winter when the typically warm Louisiana waters are cool enough. Around summer, the temperatures may leave one feeling too warm and sticky outdoors, but it’s still a nice fishing season if you’re willing to head into the deep to cast.

Experience the Uniqueness of Clinton

Simply walking around Clinton offers a glimpse into the region’s storied past. Spend a few days in this regal town to discover another side of the Baton Rouge area to love.

1. Book a Fishing Guide

Find the best Louisiana inshore fishing charters or deep-sea fishing experts to show you what this state has to offer in terms of fishing. Get a taste of other regional fishing experiences by looking into other charters and their offerings. Tapped Out Charters in Lafitte, Serigne's Fishing Charters in Saint Bernard, Fowl Language Guide Service in Marksville, and Nock Em Dead Bowfishing Charters in Grand Isle are just some of the experts you can book around Louisiana. Find a charter that specializes in your target catch. Louisiana has experts in those sports if you’re interested in combining hunting and fishing. Hiring a charter, whether an expert or a newbie, is the safest way to experience a new waterbody. Locals have unique insights into their locations, as they have been fishing in the region for years.

2. Stroll Through History

Clinton has quite a collection of restored heritage houses, many of which are designated National Historic Landmarks. They’re not just one street — scattered all over the place, so spotting them on walks is a bit like a scavenger hunt.

3. Golf Like a Pro

The Bluffs on Thompson in nearby West Feliciana Parish offers golfers the experience of playing on a golf course designed by the golfing legend Arnold Palmer. This award-winning golf course may prove challenging for novice golfers, but the scenic views should make it worth the trip.

Fish in Clinton and beyond.