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Other Recreational Activities

Fishing Regulations Icon Louisiana Fishing

New regulations appear in red text.

Recreational Shrimping

License Requirements

Cast Net License Requirements

  1. Basic Fishing License

    Trawl License Requirements

  1. Basic Fishing License
  2. Trawl License
  3. Federal Shrimp Vessel Permit required for vessels fishing shrimp in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico (EEZ)

    * No license required for use of bait seines and dip nets.

Harvest Areas

For management purposes, Louisiana’s state waters are divided into inside and outside waters. The “shrimp line” separates these waters. It generally follows the coastline from the Louisiana/Texas state line to the Louisiana/Mississippi state line. Inside waters (landward of the shrimp line) are inshore waters; outside waters (seaward out to three nautical miles) are the territorial seas. Inside waters are further divided by major estuarine basin. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (Commission) may amend the shrimp line due to environmental changes. See the latest coordinates at www.wlf.la.gov/fishing/insideoutside-shrimp-line.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Commission, and the Louisiana Legislature are responsible for managing the shrimp fishery in inshore waters and the territorial seas. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries are responsible for federal waters.

Seasons

Trawls cannot be used for any purpose in state waters during the closed shrimp season. Shrimp seasons are flexible and are determined by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission based upon biological and technical data relative to shrimp populations as well as public input. The spring inshore season usually begins in early to mid May, and may extend into July. The fall inshore season usually begins near mid-August and typically extends into December. The shrimp season in Louisiana’s outside territorial waters is generally open year round EXCEPT for a closed season in portions of state outside waters, which may be set during the late winter to early spring months, usually beginning in December or January and extending into March or April. The shrimp season in the EEZ is usually open year-round.

NOTE: Restricted areas exist within WMAs, refuges and other areas and may be closed to certain gear types or methods of fishing. Check with your local LDWF Office or refer to the WMA and Refuge section of this pamphlet.

Size and Possession Limits

No size limit on any saltwater shrimp taken during the spring open season in Louisiana.

No size limit on brown shrimp or seabobs taken during any open season.

There is a minimum possession of 100 count (whole shrimp per pound) on white shrimp taken in either inside or outside (offshore) waters of Louisiana. This size restriction applies to the taking or possession of such shrimp aboard a vessel.

EXCEPTION: There is no possession count on white shrimp taken or possessed from Oct. 15 through the third Monday in December. When more than 50 percent by weight of the shrimp taken or possessed is seabobs or brown shrimp, the maximum allowable amount of undersized white shrimp taken or possessed shall not exceed 10 percent by weight of the total shrimp taken or possessed.

Cast Nets, Dip Nets and Bait Seines

A recreational fisherman is allowed to use dip nets, bait seines, and cast nets not to exceed 8 and 1/2 feet in radius. Recreational fishermen shall not take at anytime more than 50 pounds of shrimp per day during closed shrimp season and 100 pounds of shrimp per day during the open season, in the aggregate, per boat or vehicle, regardless of the number of persons thereon. Shrimp taken are to be used for bait or for the fisherman’s own consumption and are not sold, traded or otherwise permitted to enter into commerce. Certain WMAs and state or federal refuges may have different rules. Always check with an LDWF Enforcement Office if you have questions.

Restrictions on Night Shrimping

Night shrimping is prohibited between the hours of one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise in the following areas: Vermilion Bay, East and West Cote Blanche bays, and in Atchafalaya Bay, from the western shore of Vermilion Bay to the western shore of the Atchafalaya River and the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel out to Eugene Island as described by the inside-outside line.

Trawls

Trawls cannot have a mesh size less than 5/8-inch bar or 1 and 1/4 inches stretched. In that portion of state inside waters from the western shore of the Atchafalaya River to the western shore of Vermilion Bay and Southwest Pass at Marsh Island, mesh size must not be less than 3/4-inch bar or 1 and 1/2 inches stretched during the fall inshore shrimp season.

Trawling During Open Season and Possession Limits

During the open shrimping seasons trawls 25 feet and less are allowed for recreational purposes.

Recreational shrimpers using trawls 16 feet in length or less are limited to 100 pounds (heads on) of shrimp per boat per day.

Recreational shrimpers using trawls greater than 16 feet in length are limited to no more than 250 pounds of (heads-on) shrimp per day per boat.

Shrimp taken recreationally may only be used for bait or the fisherman’s own consumption and may not be sold, traded or otherwise permitted to enter commerce.

Federal Turtle Excluder Device (TED) regulations require any shrimp trawler in the Gulf Area to have an approved TED installed in each net that is rigged for fishing. However, certain exemptions to these requirements may apply (e.g. vessels without mechanical advantage or power net retrieval, test trawls). A net is rigged for fishing if it is in the water, or if it is shackled, tied, or otherwise connected to any trawl door or board, or to any tow rope, cable, pole or extension, either on board or attached in any manner to the shrimp trawler.

More information concerning federal shrimp vessel permits, Turtle Excluder Device (TED) and Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRD) requirements and exemptions can be obtained by contacting the NOAA Fisheries Service at 727-824-5312 for TEDs or 727- 824-5305 for BRDs or at www.nmfs.noaa.gov. Detailed information on TEDs may be found at the following link to the NOAA Fisheries website www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/teds.html.

Trawling Restrictions

  • No net or beam trawl used for taking fish or shrimp from the saltwater areas of the state is allowed to be left unattended.
  • Taking shrimp with saltwater trawls from May 1 – Sept. 15 each year is prohibited in state waters on the south side of Grand Isle from Caminada Pass to Barataria Pass in Jefferson Parish; from the southeast side of the Caminada bridge to the northwest side of Barataria Pass at Fort Livingston, extending from the beach side of Grand Isle to a distance of 500 feet beyond the shoreline into the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Trawls cannot be used for any purpose in state waters during the closed shrimp season.
  • No person is allowed to trawl over any privately leased bedding grounds or oyster propagating place that is staked off, marked or posted as required by law or regulation.
  • Trawling is prohibited in Lake Maurepas and that portion of Lake Pontchartrain from the shoreline to 1.25 miles out from the Jefferson/Orleans Parish line east to the eastern shore of South Point, from South Point to North Shore along the railroad bridge west from North Shore to Goose Point.
  • Trawling is prohibited between the railroad bridge and Interstate 10 in Lake Pontchartrain.
  • Trawling at night is prohibited in Cameron Parish sections of Calcasieu Lake, the Black Lake Bayou System, Grand Bayou, Little Burton’s Ditch, Grand Lake, and White Lake.
  • Trawls are prohibited in the waters of Bayou Judge Perez (Bayou Hermitage) from its entrance into Lake Judge Perez (Lake Hermitage) to Devils Bayou, a distance of approximately 1 mile, located in Plaquemines Parish.
  • Trawling is prohibited north of the LA Highway 631 Bridge at Des Allemands, Louisiana, and in Lac Des Allemands, its streams and tributaries.
  • Trawling is also prohibited in the cove immediately adjacent to Cypremort Point State Park landward of a line from Blue Point to Cypremort Point.

CLEAN WATER – DO YOUR PART

Be part of the solution

  • Use shore-side toilet facilities before going out on the water.
  • Dispose of waste from portable toilets or on-board sewage holding tanks properly.
  • Don’t throw anything overboard.
  • Bring cut fishing line ashore.
  • Avoid discharging bilge waste into the water.
  • Be careful when fueling; try to prevent spills.
  • For more information on boat sewage disposal facilities or the Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Grant Program, please contact the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at (225) 765-2864, or visit the Louisiana CVA web page at www.wlf.la.gov/boating/clean-vessel-program.

Recreational oystering

License Requirements

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

Methods of Take

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.

Seasons

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 LDHH for public health reasons. Information on LDHH closed areas is available at www.dhh.la.gov.

Size and Possession Limits

  • 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.

Leases

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

Required Licenses

  1. No license is required for any person using crab nets or crab lines for the purpose of taking crabs.
  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.

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 crabs traps is prohibited in 2018 for 30 days beginning on the third Monday in February. (NOTE: Rule making has been initiated to remove this prohibition. 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 Highway 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 Highway 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. 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.

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.
  • There is no minimum recreational size limit for stone crabs or stone crab claws.

Recreational Crawfishing

License Requirements

  1. Basic Fishing License
  2. 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.

Methods of Take

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.

Seasons

There is no closed season for wild crawfish harvest EXCEPT for some wildlife management areas and state and federal refuges.

Size and Possession Limits

  • 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.

Reptiles & Amphibians

License Requirements

  1. Basic Resident or Non-Resident Fishing License.

Methods for Collecting or Catching These Species

The regulations listed below apply to all frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes, turtles and related species. All reptiles and amphibians caught are for personal (non-commercial) use only. These regulations do not include alligators. For alligator regulations visit www.wlf.la.gov. Always check with an LDWF Enforcement Office if you have questions.

ILLEGAL METHODS OF TAKE FOR ALL REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS

  • Removal of nesting or nest-tending animals is prohibited.
  • Use of gasoline to flush animals from hiding places is prohibited.
  • Natural cover such as stumps and logs may not be destroyed while searching for animals.
  • Additional illegal methods of take are species specific and are grouped accordingly.

Species You Cannot Harvest

  • Tiger salamander
  • Southern red backed salamander
  • Webster’s salamander (Plethodon websteri)
  • Mud salamander (Pseudotriton montanus)
  • Red salamander

    Threatened or Endangered Species

    The following federally listed threatened and endangered, or prohibited species are off limits for recreational take. Civil and criminal penalties may apply for taking the following aquatic species. If any of these protected species are incidentally caught, they must be released unharmed immediately:

  • Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
  • Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
  • Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
  • Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
  • Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
  • Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)
  • Ringed map turtle (Graptemys oculifera)
  • Dusky gopher frog (Rana sevosa)

Wildlife Management Areas and State and Federal Refuges

WMAs, state refuges and federal refuges may have specific regulations regarding open seasons, harvest and gear restrictions. For state-regulated areas refer to the WMA and Refuge Regulation section.

Turtles

ALLIGATOR SNAPPING TURTLES

  • No size limit.
  • Take is limited to no more than one snapping turtle per day, per person, per vehicle/vessel.

    DIAMONDBACK TERRAPINS

  • Must measure 6 inches or more carapace length.
  • Legal during all months except between the dates of April 15 – June 15.
  • It is illegal to take this species by a trap of any kind.

    BOX TURTLES

  • Take is limited to two box turtles per day.
  • Possession is limited to four box turtles of the genus Terrapene at any time.

    TURTLE EGGS

    No turtle eggs may be taken except for those of the red eared slider.

    TURTLE TRAPS

  • Traps must be checked daily.
  • Must be marked as “turtle trap.”
  • Must be open above water to allow breathing.
  • Must be constructed as a horizontal, single-throated device.
  • It is illegal to possess finfish while turtle trapping.

Frogs

LEGAL METHOD OF TAKE

Frogs may be taken using any visible light and mechanical devices known as frog catchers or with devices that puncture the skin, such as gigs or spears.

ILLEGAL METHOD OF TAKE

Possession of firearms while taking or hunting frogs at night is prohibited.

BULLFROGS and PIG FROGS

  • Length requirements (measured from tip of the muzzle to the posterior end of the body between the hind legs)
  • Bullfrogs harvested must be 5 inches or larger.
  • Pig frogs harvested must be 3 inches or larger.
  • Frogs harvested on private lands, ponds or waters where the individual is an authorized representative are not limited by length requirements.
  • Harvest is legal during all months of the year except April and May.