Rio Grande cichlids are an invasive species that has spread throughout the metropolitan New Orleans area. Found in fresh and brackish areas, they are becoming a more common catch by anglers fishing for bream and sunfish. Rios are more aggressive at defending their territory, and the concern is they could possibly totally displace native bream.
Rios readily take live worms, small spinners and flies.
They vary in color from light gray to dark black, and often have brilliantly colored yellow and blue spots. Large males often develop a large hump on their forehead. They are strong fighters and good to eat. So next time you’re catching a bunch of bream, be on the lookout for some Rios in the mix.
Note: As an invasive species, there is no catch-and-release allowed. You must either put the fish in your ice chest or otherwise kill it.
The Louisiana fishing regulations provide as follows:
“No person shall have in possession or sell in this state a piranha or Rio Grande cichlid. If an angler catches a Rio Grande cichlid using legal methods, the fish shall not be returned to the water or kept alive while in the possession of the angler.”