Known for having the best catfish in the world, Lac des Allemands provides ample opportunities for finding the daily catch.
By: Amanda Ogle
Surrounded by towering cypress and tupelo trees, and full of fishermen and anglers puttering around looking for the catch of the day, Lac des Allemands in Louisiana’s River Parishes is a haven for anglers, who fish the 12,000-plus acre lake for largemouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, and warmouth. In 1975, Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards declared Lac des Allemands the Catfish Capital of the World, and in 1980, the Louisiana legislature named the lake the Catfish Capital of the Universe.
What makes the lake and these catfish so special? Locals will tell you it’s a species of red worms that grow in the muddy bottom of the lake in large quantities. The catfish, a bottom-feeding fish, munch on the worms for food and nourishment, which in turn allows them to grow large in a natural setting. The community of Des Allemands, Louisiana even holds the annual Louisiana Catfish Festival to celebrate the lake and its abundance of fish, where you’re sure to find delicious catfish dishes such as catfish boulettes (catfish patties), po’boys, and more.
Lac des Allemands is French for “Lake of the Germans,” and was named this in reference to the early German settlers who inhabited this part of Louisiana’s Mississippi Delta region in the early 18th century. The lake is full of canals, bayous, and swamps that provide stable wetland habitats of fallen trees, grasses, stumps, and brushtops not only for fish, but other wildlife such as otters, raccoons, egrets, herons, alligators, and bald eagles. Swamp boats provide tours of the lake, while charter fishing excursions allow sport fishermen to fish the lake for catfish weighing upwards of 60 pounds with the help of a guide. Catfish season is usually May through September, while spring through fall provide ample opportunities to fish for multiple species.
Want to support Lac des Allemands without casting a line yourself? Support the local fishermen who sell Lac des Allemands’ fish to restaurants. Restaurants across Louisiana’s River Parishes and in New Orleans an hour away use products coming from Lac des Allemands. Simply ask your server for wild, local-caught fish, and ask where it’s coming from. Along with other restaurants in the River Parishes, Ormond Manor Restaurant at Ormond Plantation serves up numerous Lac des Allemands specialties, and Spahr’s Seafood in Des Allemands uses the lake and surrounding bayous for their delicious seafood plates.
For a glimpse at life on Lac des Allemands, take an airboat tour with Airboat Tours by Arthur Matherne Inc. and ride through Bayou Gauche just off of Lac des Allemands. Here, you’ll ride through the swamp under moss-draped trees and have the chance to see alligators, bald eagles, hawks, herons, egrets, and other swamp critters.