Fishing rodeos and tournaments usually bring to mind fast and fancy boats, expensive fishing tackle and a mad dash to catch the big ones. But the annual Big Bass Rodeo and “Fishtival” in New Orleans City Park is anything but that. It’s just about old fashioned fishing and fun for the whole family. This year it will be held on Saturday, March 26.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and New Orleans City Park will host the event for the 73rd time this year, making it the oldest fishing rodeo in the nation. There is a category for every age and a free family friendly “Fishtival.” The day’s fishing also includes the Battle for the Bass, a student fishing tournament, as well as Boats on the Bayou, a kayak and non-motorized vessel tournament on Bayou St. John.
The Big Bass Rodeo is a catch-and-release shore fishing tournament for anglers targeting the largest bass. A recreational fishing license is required for participants 16 years and older. For junior anglers (ages 12 and under), the rodeo includes competitive categories for heaviest bass or heaviest cichlid, bream, or perch.
There are small entry fees for the Big Bass Rodeo, Boats on the Bayou and Battle for the Bass.
All lagoons in the Park are open to fishing except the Louisiana Children’s Museum campus, Bayou Oaks North and South golf courses, the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art or any current construction sites. Bayou St. John is considered part of City Park and is open to fishing. No boating vessels are allowed in lagoons within the Park. If you plan on fishing, make sure you read and understand all the rules and get registered in the correct divisions.
The Battle for the Bass Tournament is for students in grades seven through 12 to represent their schools in teams of up to five anglers and battle it out for the heaviest two-bass combined weight. Boats on the Bayou is open to anglers with kayaks and other non-motorized watercraft and offers two competitive categories: Bass and Trashbash. Registration is open and fees vary depending on division. Deadline to register is 5 p.m. March 24.
The “Fishtival” is free and will take place from 9 a.m. until noon in the grandstand area in front of Popp’s Bandstand on Dreyfous Avenue, featuring live music, hands-on activities for kids and LDWF mascot Robbie the Redfish.
For more information visit https://neworleanscitypark.com/big-bass-fishing-rodeo-and-fishtival
For more than 170 years, New Orleans City Park has provided a popular place to fish on the bayou, picnic, experience safe outdoor play, or engage in athletic pursuits — as evidenced by more than 16 million visits each year.
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