The fishing opportunities in the state of Louisiana are plentiful, but before you start making plans, make sure you understand and are prepared to abide by the state’s fishing regulations. The following section contains some basic information.
Freshwater methods and equipment
Freshwater fish can be caught legally using a variety of methods, including hook and line, bow and arrow, slat traps, crawfish traps, spearing equipment, and other methods. There are a number of things to consider, however, such as the specific conditions of use or restrictions based on the species in question.
Freshwater game fish cannot be caught with spearing equipment, bows and arrows, or nets and traps, but garfish can be caught with spears or bows if they are caught in a body of water. Snagging is also legal for catfish, but not for paddlefish, which means you can’t use it on either.
Cast nets, dip nets, and minnow traps can all be used to catch your own bait, but dip nets and bait seines have specific dimensions that must be followed when using them.
The daily creel limit for black bass is ten, and there are no size restrictions in place according to state regulations. You’ll notice that the size limits vary from 14 to 19 inches in some locations, and that the daily harvest is usually limited to eight fish per day.
Some of the other species you can find in Louisiana’s freshwater include striped or hybrid striped bass (which can be found in large numbers every day), white bass, crappie, and yellow bass (50 daily). You can catch as many yellow bass as you want in Caddo Lake, the Sabine River, and the Toledo Bend Reservoir, among other places.
Nongame fish such as bowfin, buffalo fish, catfish, and freshwater drum are also subject to strict limits in Louisiana.
Saltwater methods and equipment
When fishing in saltwater, there are a variety of legal methods to choose from, but not all of them are applicable to game fish. Hook and line, handline, and trolling line are all examples of basic equipment that can be used. Methods such as baitcasting and fly casting are popular, but you can also use dip nets, yo-yos, bows and arrows, or barbless spears to catch fish.
When it comes to crawfish traps and spearing equipment, there are limits to both the technical specifications and the approach taken. Submerged skin divers must use spearing equipment, which is identical to that used in freshwater fishing. Trap specifications are the same as those used in freshwater fishing.
It is necessary to obtain a saltwater fishing license in the state of Louisiana if you already have a basic fishing license in the state of Louisiana and want to try saltwater fishing. Additionally, unless you are participating in a paid-for-hire trip, you will be required to obtain a recreational offshore landing permit.
If you intend to take your boat out to sea and fish for tuna, billfish, swordfish, and shark, you must also apply for a federal license, known as the Atlantic HMS Permit, which must be obtained before fishing. In addition to the Atlantic HMS Charter or Headboat Permit and the Federal Shrimp Vessel Permit, you may require other federal licenses as well.
You have a choice of species from the coast, highly migratory species, or reef species. Here are some of the upper and lower limits for some of the most sought-after species.
If you catch a blue marlin or a white marlin that meets the minimum length requirement, there are no bag or possession restrictions. A similar argument can be made for Sailfish.
You are only allowed to catch one Atlantic sharpnose shark and one bonnethead shark per trip, and the season is closed in April and June. The use of sandbar and silky sharks is strictly prohibited.
Bluefin tuna requires a federal permit, which can be obtained only once per year, whereas bigeye tuna has no bag or possession limit and can be caught in large quantities. You can keep three yellow tuna per day if the fork length is greater than 27 inches.
Other popular fishing activities in Louisiana, such as shrimping, crawfishing, crabbing, and oystering, each have their own set of rules and regulations, so be sure to familiarize yourself with them before getting started.