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Oysters, Crabs & Crayfish

Fishing Regulations Icon Louisiana Fishing

  • Basic Fishing License
  • Saltwater Fishing License
  • A Recreational Tonging License is required for each tong in use.
  • A Senior Fishing License is required of residents who turned 60 years of age on or after June 1, 2000, to take oysters.

Recreational oyster harvest for home consumption is limited to tonging or gathering by hand.

RESTRICTIONS ON METHODS OF TAKE

  • Recreational oyster harvest is allowed only from public oyster areas open for the harvesting of oysters or from private leases on which the fisherman is authorized to take oysters. Recreational oyster fishermen may harvest oysters from a private lease only with the written permission of the leaseholder. At no time will the act of harvesting oysters be permitted in areas closed to oyster harvest. The culling of oysters (the act of separating undersized oysters or dead shell and returning to the water), must occur over the reefs where harvest occurred.
  • The harvest or take of oysters during the period of one-half hour after sunset until one-half hour before sunrise is prohibited.
  • Oysters taken from the reefs of Louisiana either for sale or consumption must be landed in Louisiana, except with a valid out-of-state oyster-landing permit and with the fisherman being in compliance with all other rules and regulations.

The LWFC determines the public oyster areas to be opened for oyster fishing by opening and closing the seasons as biological and technical data indicates. The owner of an oyster lease or his designee, with written permission, may fish oysters at any time of year on their lease.

EXCEPTION: Public oyster areas opened by the LWFC and private leases may, however, be closed by the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) for public health reasons. Information on LDH closed areas is available at ldh.la.gov.

  • All oysters taken from public oyster areas must be 3 inches or greater in length from hinge to mouth. Size limits do not apply to oysters taken from private leases.
  • Recreational oyster harvesters are limited to two sacks per person per day for personal consumption, except in the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster area where the limit is set at one sack per person per day.
  • Possession limits apply to oysters taken from a private lease.

Recreational Oystering

For information on Oyster Leases visit www.wlf.la.gov/fishing/oyster-lease-section or call (504) 284-5279.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 220

New Orleans, LA 70122

Recreational Crabbing

  • No license is required for any person using crab nets or crab lines for the purpose of taking crabs.
  • Persons harvesting crabs on LDWF WMAs or refuges must possess a basic recreational fishing license or a Wild Louisiana Stamp.
  • A Recreational Crab Trap Gear License is required to use crab traps.* There is a limit of 10 traps per licensed fisherman. Crab traps may be prohibited on certain LDWF WMAs and refuges. Consult fishing regulations on WMAs and refuges for more details.
  • *If using crab traps in the saltwater area, as defined in 56:322(A)&(B), one must also possess a saltwater license.
  • Blue crabs or stone crabs can be taken with any legal crab trap, crab drop net, trawl, hoop net, trotline, handline, bushline, dip net or cast net.
  • The taking of crabs by means of trawls in inside waters is permitted only during the open season for shrimp and with legal mesh sizes. For legal mesh sizes refer to the section about trawls listed under Recreational Shrimping.
  • Gear restrictions may exist within certain wildlife management areas (WMAs), refuges or other areas.
  • RESTRICTIONS ON METHODS OF TAKE
  • Dredges are not allowed for the intentional taking of crabs.
  • No person may possess adult female crabs in the berry stage (i.e., carrying the eggs or young attached to the abdomen). All crabs taken in the berry stage by any means must be returned immediately to the waters.
  • No crab traps shall be set in navigable channels or entrances to streams. Traps must be placed so vessels can safely navigate.
  • Metal tackle or metal crab traps shall not be used in any of the public waters north of the Intracoastal Waterway in the Calcasieu River or in any body of water comprising the Calcasieu River System north of the Intracoastal Canal or in the waters of Vermilion Bay from Cypremort Point 1 mile offshore to Blue Point.
  • Crab traps are prohibited in the Tchefuncte River.
  • The use of crab traps may be prohibited for derelict crab trap removal in 2019 for portions of February and/or March. (NOTE: Please check our website for the most recent information.)
  • NOTE: In September 2018, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission adopted a Notice of Intent that includes the prohibition of recreational take or possession of female blue crab beginning the second Monday in September 2019, lasting for 35 days (Sept. 9 – Oct. 13, 2019). Please check our website for the most recent information.
About Crab Traps
  • A crab trap is a cube-shaped device, constructed of wire, no larger than 30 inches on any side, and with either a bait box or materials providing cover or shelter for peeler crabs. The entrance funnels must extend no further than 7 inches into the inside of the trap, with the openings to the entrance funnels on the vertical wall of the trap such that the horizontal diameter of each opening is at least one and one-half times the vertical diameter of the opening.
  • Certain traps advertised by retail outlets as crab/fish/crawfish traps may not be legal. If unsure that the trap you purchased or plan to use is legal, please consult your local Enforcement Agent.
  • The baiting, tending, checking or removing of serviceable crab traps in use, the contents of such crab traps or their lines, buoys or markers is prohibited in public waters from one-half hour after legal sunset until one-half hour before legal sunrise.
  • Crab traps that are no longer serviceable or no longer in use must be removed by the owner and properly disposed of or stored.
  • No person other than the licensee or his agent shall intentionally damage or destroy serviceable crab traps or the floats or lines to which they are attached, nor shall they remove the contents thereof.
  • Each crab trap shall be marked with a 2-inch stainless steel self-locking tag attached to the center of the trap ceiling. Tags shall be supplied by the fishermen and shall have the recreational crab trap gear license number printed thereon. Crabbers are allowed to use a durable plastic bait box marker as an alternate means of tagging crab taps. Crab traps may be attached to a trotline to which at least one end is attached to a non-floating line and a visible float of at least 6 inches in diameter or 2-gallon volume size. Crab traps located in areas designated as freshwater north of the northern bank of the Intracoastal Waterway and west of Louisiana Hwy 70 and those areas located on the eastern side of the Mississippi River and inland from the saltwater line are not required to be marked with a float and float line, unless the trap is placed in a lake. Each crab trap on a trotline shall be registered with LDWF and shall have attached to it a tag bearing the crab fisherman’s license number. This is the LDWF number located at the top of your license.
  • All crab traps are required to be marked with a solid float at least 6 inches in diameter. The float must be attached to the trap with a non-floating line at least 1/4 inch in diameter. West of Louisiana Hwy 70, there is no mark required.
  • Each trap shall have a minimum of three escape rings. All escape rings shall be placed on the vertical, outside walls flush with the trap floor or baffle with at least two rings located in the upper chamber of each trap (NOTE: Escape rings on the floor must be flush with the floor and escape rings in the upper chamber must be flush with the baffle). Single chambered traps are required to have three rings placed on the vertical, outside walls flush with the trap floor. The minimum sizes of rings shall be 2 and 3/8 inches in inside diameter, not including the ring material. Rings shall be rigid and attached to the trap with material of a smaller diameter than the wire strands of the trap. Escape ring openings may be obstructed with material that prevents or hampers exit of crabs from April 1 – June 30 and from Sept. 1 – Oct. 31. Any crab trap constructed of wire mesh 2 and 5/16 square or greater is exempt from escape ring requirements.
  • There is no minimum recreational size limit for blue crabs. The limit is 12 dozen per person, daily and in possession.
  • Certain WMAs and state and federal refuges may have different possession limits. Consult a local LDWF or Enforcement Office for specifics .
  • There is no minimum recreational size limit for stone crabs or stone crab claws.
  • Basic Fishing License
  • A Recreational Crawfish Trap Gear License is required to use crawfish traps in public waters.

EXCEPTIONS

  • A Basic Recreational Fishing License or a Wild Louisiana Stamp is required to use crawfish nets, dip nets, hand lines, or bait seines on LDWF WMAs or refuges.
  • A Basic Recreational Fishing License or a gear license is not required to use crawfish nets, dip nets, hand lines, or bait seines for taking crawfish recreationally.

Crawfish may be taken with any legal crawfish trap, crawfish net, hoop net, wire net, handline, bushline, bait seine or dip net. A cast net must not exceed 8.5 feet in radius. Crawfish traps may be prohibited on certain LDWF WMAs and refuges. Consult fishing regulations on WMA’s and Refuges for more details.

CRAWFISH TRAP

A crawfish trap is defined as any device constructed of coated wire with the opening of the throats or flues not exceeding 2 inches, and which is used for the express use of taking crawfish. Crawfish traps are typically of the pillow style or cone style with minimum mesh size no smaller than 3/4 inches by 11/16 inches. Traps must have a minimum mesh size of a hexagon of 3/4 by 11/16 of 1 inch from wire to wire not including any coating on the wire.

Crawfish traps must be marked with a waterproof tag, provided by the fisherman, with the name and recreational gear license number of the fisherman legibly printed on the tag.

CRAWFISH NET

A crawfish net is defined as any device constructed with vegetable or synthetic material without flues or throats attached to a wire frame that forms a net basket and is used for the purpose of taking crawfish.

There is no closed season for wild crawfish harvest EXCEPT for some wildlife management areas and state and federal refuges (see WMAs and Refuges).

  • There is no minimum size for crawfish.
  • The bag and possession limit for crawfish is 150 pounds daily per person in state waters.
  • No more than 35 traps may be used per person while fishing recreationally for crawfish.