No fish of any species from outside of the state of Louisiana shall be liberated within the state except upon written permission of the Secretary of LDWF.
All anglers fishing in freshwater must possess a valid Basic Recreational Fishing License.
A Basic Recreational Fishing License is also required to use the following gear:
- Bow and arrow
- Barbed or barbless spear -
- Frog gig/catcher -
All applicable licenses must be in possession of the fisherman.
- Scuba gear
- Hook and Line -
- Cast net (radius not to exceed 8 feet, 6 inches)
- Hoop nets
- Slat traps
- Wire nets
- Minnow/bream traps
Freshwater Species you Cannot Harvest
The federally listed threatened and endangered, or prohibited species listed below are off limits for recreational take. Civil and criminal penalties may apply for taking the following aquatic species.
- Louisiana Pearlshell Mussel (Margaritifera hembeli)
- Inflated Heelsplitter Mussel (Potamilus inflatus)
- Fat Pocketbook Mussel (Potamilus capax)
- Pink Mucket Mussel (Lampsilis abrupta)
- Rabbitsfoot Mussel (Theliderma cylindrica)
- Gulf Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi)
- Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus)
- Shovelnose Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus)
Prohibited Freshwater Species
It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to possess, sell, or transport any of the following species of fish into Louisiana without first obtaining the written permission of the secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
- All species of tilapia
- Carp (except koi, common carp and goldfish)
- Freshwater electric eel
- All members of the families of Asian swamp eels, snakeheads, walking catfishes, and pencil catfishes
Exotic species of Asian carp (silver, bighead, black and grass) taken from state waters must not be returned to the water alive and may not be possessed alive.
No person shall have in possession or sell in this state a piranha, Rio Grande cichlid or apple snail. If an angler catches a Rio Grande cichlid using legal methods, the fish shall not be returned to the water or kept alive while in the possession of the angler.
It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to possess, import, or transport any of the following species of aquatic plants into Louisiana without first obtaining the written permission of the secretary of LDWF.
- African Elodea
- Aquatic Soda Apple
- Asian Marshweed
- Australian Pine
- Brazilian Elodea
- Crested Floating Heart
- Duck Lettuce
- Eurasian Watermilfoil
- False Pickerelweeds
- Giant Duckweed
- Giant Sensitive Fern
- Indian Swampweed
- Kapok Tree
- Marine Naiad and Slender Naiad
- Purple Loosestrife
- Roundleaf Toothcup
- Salvinia species
- Water Chestnut
- Water Clovers
- Water Hyacinth
- Water Lettuce
- Water Snowflake
- Water Spinach
- Yellow Floating Heart
Daily Bag Limit
Recreational anglers must not exceed the daily bag limit for any species while on the water.
No recreational anglers can have in their possession more than twice the daily bag limit of any species of freshwater fish. Exceptions to this rule include
- Anglers below US Highway 90 in coastal Louisiana, who must also
- possess a landing receipt from a public boat landing located south of U.S. Highway 90 that demonstrates the number of consecutive days the fisherman has been on the water or at a remote camp that can only be accessed by water
- keep the fish whole or whole gutted in separate bags for each daily take limit, where the bags are marked with the date fish were taken, the species and number of fish contained in the bag, and the name and recreational fishing license number of the person taking the fish; and
- possess only his or her fish and shall not transport fish taken by another person back to the boat landing.
- Anglers at Toledo Bend Reservoir may possess of up to 100 crappie.
All freshwater game fish caught in any type of recreational or commercial net or trap must be returned immediately to the water from which it was taken without injury, with the exception of bream caught in a legal bream trap not exceeding 24” in length and having a throat no larger than 1 inch by 3 inches. See tips for safely releasing fish at www.wlf.la.gov/page/best-fishing-practices.
No person shall possess filleted fish while aboard a vessel in freshwater. However, for the purpose of consumption, a person shall have no more than 2 pounds of filleted finfish per person on board a vessel in freshwater, provided that the vessel is equipped to cook such finfish and such finfish does not exceed the applicable take limit.
Methods for Fishing or Taking Freshwater Fish
There are many ways to catch fish and other aquatic species in Louisiana’s beautiful rivers, lakes, bayous, ponds and streams. The headings below define the legal methods and illegal methods of take, and certain exceptions that are allowable by species, methods and locations.
Always check with an LDWF Enforcement Office if you have questions. See Department of Wildlife & Fisheries for contact information.
Legal Methods of Take
- Hook and line
- Bow and arrow -
- Yo-yos or trigger devices
- Recreational slat traps -
- Recreational 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, and 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).
- Standard spearing equipment (used by recreational skin divers submerged in water when sport fishing)
- Barbed gig (allowed in saltwater for taking flounder ONLY)
- Recreational hoop nets1
- Recreational wire nets1
- Hand-grabbing (noodling)2
- Bream traps3
1 Allowed only in the geographical areas of the state designated as Freshwater (see map and definition on General Information).
2 Allowed for catfish
3 Must be no longer that 24 inches with a throat no greater than 1 by 3 inches
Illegal Methods for Fishing or taking All Fish
It is unlawful to possess any of the prohibited instruments, weapons, substances or devices described below with the intent to take fish.
- Spears (see garfish, silver carp and bighead carp exception listed in “Gear Restrictions by Species” section)
- Stupefying substances or devices
- Any instrument or device capable of producing electric current to shock fish
- Snagging devices (see catfish, silver carp, and big head carp exceptions listed below)
You may not use any aircraft including fixed-wing, dirigibles, balloons, helicopters, or any other form of aerial surveillance to assist in harvesting finfish, except menhaden and herring-like fish.
Gear Restrictions by Species
Some alternative methods are allowed for catching/taking specific aquatic species.
Freshwater Game fish
Game fish are defined as largemouth bass, spotted bass, shadow bass, yellow bass, white bass, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, black crappie, white crappie, and bream.
- Bream (Lepomis spp.) may be taken as bait for sportfishing purposes (non-commercial bait) using a trap not exceeding 24 inches in length and having a throat no larger than 1 inch by 3 inches.
- Standard spearing equipment used by recreational skin divers is prohibited.
- Bow and arrow
- Possession of game fish1 with nets or traps including recreational hoop nets, slat traps, pipes, buckets, drums, tires or cans including those licensed for recreational purposes.
- Snagging devices
- Hand-grabbing (noodling)
Paddlefish (commonly called “spoonbill catfish,” but are not catfish)
- Bows and arrows
Legal Bait Species
Including minnows, crawfish and shrimp (does not include game fish1)
- Cast nets
- Minnow traps
- Recreational trawls
- Dip nets (net must be on a fixed frame no larger than 3 feet in diameter worked exclusively by hand, by no more than one person, without any mechanical assistance)
- Bait seines (with a maximum mesh size not exceeding 1/4 inch bar, 1/2 inch stretched and 30 feet in length; must be operated solely on foot and by hand, without any pulley, mechanical device or assistance whatsoever)
Silver Carp & Bighead Carp
- Dip nets
1With the exception of bream caught in a legal bream trap not exceeding 24” in length and having a throat no larger than 1 inch by 3 inches.
Restrictions and Exceptions by Method
HOOP NETS, WIRE NETS AND SLAT TRAPS
- Must be marked with user’s full name and fishing license number on a waterproof tag attached directly to the device
YO-YOS, TRIGGER DEVICES, TROTLINES, LIMB LINES, JUG LINES AND ALL PASSIVE DEVICES CONTAINING A HOOK OR HOOKS
- No more than 50 yo-yos, trigger devices, limb lines, or floating devices containing a hook or hooks are allowed per person
- At any given time, no person shall set more than 150 hooks on all trotlines, combined.
- All passive hooked gear shall be clearly tagged with the name and telephone number, and fishing license number of the owner or user. Information must be attached with a waterproof tag or written directly on the device in indelible ink.
- Each hook shall be rebaited at least once every 24 hours, and all fish and any other animal caught, entangled, ensnared or hooked, shall be immediately removed from the device.
- Except for those devices that are attached to a privately owned pier, boathouse, seawall or dock, gear must be removed from the waterbody immediately by the owner or user when not in use.
- Where allowed and when not in use, objects sourced from another location used to anchor passive hooked gear which are driven into or attached to the lake bottom, a stump, tree, or the shoreline must be removed from the waterbody along with the passive devices by the user.
- No driven or attached objects used to attach passive hooked gear shall be larger than 2 inches by 2 inches or two inches in diameter.
- No metal object which is driven into or attached to the lake bottom, a stump, tree, or the shoreline shall be used to anchor a passive hooked gear, except for a metal object used strictly in the construction of a pier, boathouse, seawall, dock or a retrievable anchor not attached to the bottom.
- All trotlines shall have a cotton leader on each end of the trotline.
- Standard spearing equipment is the only legal method of take for non-game species that can be used by a skin diver submerged in water
- The taking of gamefish with standard spearing equipment is prohibited.
Mobility Impaired Individuals
Mobility impaired persons that are bona fide residents of Louisiana in possession of valid identification, and over 60 years of age, must purchase the applicable license.
Restrictions by Location
Some Louisiana waterbodies have specific gear restrictions and are listed below.
Trotlines and Yo-yos
Black Lake, Clear Lake and Prairie Lake (Natchitoches Parish), Caddo Lake (Caddo Parish), Chicot Lake (Evangeline Parish), D’Arbonne Lake (Union Parish), Lake St. Joseph (Tensas Parish), and Lake Bruin, including the portion known as Brushy Lake (Tensas Parish)
Except for an object used strictly in the construction of a pier, boathouse, seawall, or dock, no object which is driven into the lake bottom, a stump, tree, or the shoreline shall be used to anchor a yo-yo or trigger device.
Poverty Point Lake and Bussey Brake Reservoir
No trotlines or yo-yos.
Anacoco Lake, Lake Vernon and the portion of Anacoco Bayou between the lakes, Lake Bistineau, Bundick Lake, Caney Creek Reservoir, Cross Lake, and Chicot Lake
No fish seines, gill nets, hoop nets or trammel nets.
Lake Bartholomew, Caddo Lake,
Lake Claiborne, Lake Concordia, and D’Arbonne Lake
No fish seines, gill nets or trammel nets.
Bogue Chitto River
Lake Charles, Moss Lake, and Prien Lake
No butterfly nets or shrimp trawls longer than 16 feet, fish seines, gill nets, strike nets or trammel nets.
Cypress Lake and Black Bayou Reservoir
False River Lake, Lake Bruin, Lake Providence, and Poverty Point Lake
You may only use gill and trammel nets from Oct. 1 through sunset on the last day of February of the following year. Net mesh must be at least 3.5 inches square (7 inches stretched). You may leave gear overnight but may only remove fish during daylight hours.
No fish seines.
John K. Kelly-Grand Bayou Reservoir
No fish seines, gill nets, hoop nets, trammel nets or wire nets.
No gill nets, hoop nets or trammel nets from March 1 - Nov. 30 (in the portion that flows through Lacassine National Refuge).
Nantachie Lake and Bussey Brake Reservoir
No nets allowed.
No seines, nets or webbing in this river or its tributaries, from its origin in Washington Parish to where it empties into Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany Parish.
Toledo Bend Reservoir
No gill nets, trammel nets, flag webbing or fish seines. No hoop nets from March 1 to May 15 (only in that portion of the reservoir from a point north of Logansport where the lake enters Texas and south to a point on the lake where the Texas Duck Refuge Canal intersects the Old Channel of the Sabine River).
Slat traps are allowed from Oct. 1 through sunset on the last day of February of the following year. You may leave gear overnight but may only remove fish during daylight hours.
Poverty Point Lake
No slat traps.
No traps in this river or its tributaries, from its origin in Washington Parish to where it empties into Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany Parish.