Opportunities for fishing in the state of Louisiana are impressive, but before you start making plans and before you take out your portable depth finder out (and read this post, too), you should be ready to follow the regulations. Some basic information is presented below.
Freshwater methods and equipment
Legal methods of catching freshwater fish include hook and line, bow and arrow, slat traps, and crawfish traps, spearing equipment, and many others. There are several things you have to consider, though, like precise conditions of use or restrictions by species.
You can’t use spearing equipment, bows and arrows or nets and traps to catch freshwater game fish, but it’s ok to fish for garfish with spears or bows. Also, you can use snagging on catfish, but you can’t use it on paddlefish.
You can catch your own bait by using cast nets, dip nets or minnow traps, but dip nets and bait seines has specific dimensions you need to observe.
Daily creel limit for black bass is 10, and there’s no size limit in statewide regulations. You’ll notice size limits are somewhere between 14 to 19 inches in some locations and the daily harvest is usually reduced to 8.
Other species you can look for in Louisiana’s freshwater are striped or hybrid striped bass (5 daily) white bass, crappie and yellow bass (50 daily). In Caddo lake, Sabine River, and Toledo Bend Reservoir, you can harvest as many yellow bass fish as you like.
Louisiana also has precise limits for nongame fish like bowfin, buffalo fish, catfish or freshwater drum.
Saltwater methods and equipment
There are a lot of legal methods to fish in saltwater, but not all of them apply to game fish. You can use basic equipment like hook and line, handline or trolling line. Baitcasting and fly casting are common methods, but you can also use dip nets yo-yos, bows, and arrows or barbless spears.
As far as crawfish traps and spearing equipment are concerned, there are limits in technical specifications and approach. Trap specifications are identical to those used in freshwater fishing while spearing equipment has to be used by a submerged skin diver.
If you’ve already got a basic fishing license in the state of Louisiana, but you want to try saltwater fishing, then you’ll have to get a saltwater fishing license. And unless you are on a paid-for-hire trip, you’ll also have to get a recreational offshore landing permit.
In case you have in mind taking your boat out to sea and fishing for tuna, billfish, swordfish, and shark, you also have to apply for a federal license, the Atlantic HMS Permit. Other federal licenses you may need are the Atlantic HMS Charter or Headboat Permit and the Federal Shrimp Vessel Permit.
You can choose between coastal, highly migratory or reef species. Here are some of the limits for the species that are most sought after.
If you catch a blue marlin or white marlin that complies with the minimum length, there is no bag limit or possession limit. The same is valid for Sailfish.
You are limited to one Atlantic sharpnose shark and bonnethead shark, and there is a closed season in April and June. Sandbar and silky sharks are prohibited.
You need a federal permit for bluefin tuna, and you can get one per year, but bigeye tuna has no bag or possession limit. If it’s over 27-inch fork length, you can keep three yellow tuna per day.
Other popular activities related to fishing in Louisiana, such as shrimping, crawfishing, crabbing and oystering have their own regulations so if you intend to engage in any of them, read the necessary information.