SALE OF RECREATIONAL FISH PROHIBITED
All aquatic species caught must be for personal use only and are not to be sold or used for commercial purposes. It is illegal to buy, sell or trade any game fish.
Louisiana is known around the world as a premier sport fishing destination. The Office of Fisheries uses scientific management methods to protect and enhance fish environments, habitats and other populations of aquatic species. As an angler, the decisions you make and your catch help us sustain the fisheries for present and future generations.
Best Practices for Catch and Release Fishing
Proper fish handling techniques are critical for the survival of your catch.
- Never play the fish to complete exhaustion.
- Handle the fish as little as possible and use wet hands, a wet towel or wet gloves.
- Avoid any contact with the gills.
- Keep the fish in the water as much as possible. Do not let the fish flop on a deck or beach.
- If you must remove the fish from the water, keep air exposure to a minimum.
- Use a landing net only when necessary. A soft knotless mesh or rubber net is less damaging to the fish’s eyes, fins and mucus coating (slime).
- Circle hooks, barbless hooks or hooks with crimped barb make removal easier.
- If the hook is deeply buried, cut the line as close to the hook as possible.
- Return the fish to water as quickly as possible. If it is sluggish, gently hold it and move it forward and back to get water moving across the gills.
A fish that appears to be in poor condition probably has a low chance of survival. If legal, consider keeping that fish for consumption.
General information for Freshwater & Saltwater Anglers
Know Before You Go!
Want to check the weather and river stages before you leave on your next fishing trip? Call the National Weather Service’s Dial A Forecast for regularly updated marine forecasts.
Shreveport 318-635-7575 or www.weather.gov/shv
Lake Charles 337-439-0000 or www.weather.gov/lch
New Orleans 504-522-7330 or www.weather.gov/lix
Also stay tuned to the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) for up to the minute broadcasts.
Caring for your Catch
You can never be too careful when preserving your catch for later consumption. The fish must be iced down to remain fresh. A fish that feels mushy and has cloudy eyes may have spoiled and can make you sick.
- Be sure you have plenty of ice on hand. Place the fish on ice as soon as you remove the hook.
- Pour the ice out of the bag into your ice chest and place a layer of ice above and below the fish.
- Another technique in keeping fish fresh on hot days or for extended periods is to gut the fish and pack the body cavities with ice. This practice chills the fish faster.
- Anglers using baskets and live wells should be aware that overcrowded fish die quickly. If using a stringer, put the stringer through the jaw tissue and not the gills. Anglers using live wells on their vessel should also be aware of this danger.
- Cleaning your fish at the end of the fishing day is recommended. If you stored your fish on ice, use fresh ice for the newly cleaned fish.
- Keep the fish as cold as possible and refrigerate them as quickly as possible.