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Crabbing

Fishing Regulations Icon Louisiana Fishing

  1. No license is required for any person using crab nets or crab lines for the purpose of taking crabs, unless they are fishing on a WMA or state refuge.
  2. Persons harvesting crabs on LDWF WMAs or refuges must possess a basic recreational fishing license or a Wild Louisiana Stamp.
  3. 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.

Methods of Take

  • 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 2020 for portions of February and/or March. (NOTE: Please check our website for the most recent information).
  • NOTE: During the 2019 legislative session, language was amended regarding the placement of escape rings in crab traps.

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. A minimum of two escape rings shall be located in the upper chamber flush with the baffle. A minimum of one escape ring shall be located in the lower chamber no greater than one mesh length from the trap floor. Beginning on July 1, 2022, all escape rings shall be located no greater than one mesh length from the corners. The minimum sizes of the rings shall be 2 and 3/8 inches in inside diameter, not including the ring material. The rings shall be rigid and attached to the trap with material of an equal or smaller diameter than the wire strands of the trap. Except from April 1 through June 30 and from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31, escape ring openings shall not be obstructed with any material that prevents or hampers exit of crabs. However, the provisions of this shall not apply to any crab trap constructed of wire mesh 2 and 5/16 inches square or greater.

Size And Possession Limits

  • 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 (see WMA and Refuge Regulations).
  • There is no minimum recreational size limit for stone crabs or stone crab claws.