Recreational Crabbing

A recreational basic fishing and saltwater license in addition to a recreational crab trap gear license is required to use crab traps, with a limit of 10 traps per licensed fisherman.

Methods of Taking

Crabs or stone crabs may be taken with any legal crab trap, crab dropnet, trawl, hoop net, trotline, handline, bushline, dip net or cast net. Dredges shall not be used for the intentional taking of crabs.

The taking of crabs by means of trawls in inside waters is permitted only during the open season for shrimp and with a legal mesh size.

No person shall possess adult female crabs in the berry stage (i.e., carrying the eggs or young attached to the abdomen). All crabs in the berry stage taken by any means shall be returned immediately to the waters.

Gear restrictions may exist within certain WMAs, refuges or other areas. Consult your local Wildlife and Fisheries Office or Enforcement Agent.

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 seven 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.

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 halfhour before legal sunrise.

No crab traps shall be set in navigable channels or entrances to streams. Traps must be placed so vessels can safely navigate.

Crab traps which are no longer serviceable or no longer in use shall be removed by the owner and properly disposed of or stored by him.

No person other than the licensee or his agent shall intentionally damage or destroy serviceable crab traps or the floats or lines attached thereto, or remove the contents thereof.

Each crab trap shall be marked with a two-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 nonfloating line and a visible float of at least six inches in diameter or two-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 are not required to bemarked with a float and float line. Each crab trap on a trotline shall be registered with the department and shall have attached thereto a tag bearing the crab fisherman’s license number. This is the LDWF # at the top of your license.

All crab traps are required to be marked with a solid float at least six inches in diameter. The float must be attached to the trap with a nonfloating line at least 1/4 inch in diameter. West of Highway 70 - no mark required.

Each crab trap shall have a minimum of two escape rings. All escape rings shall be placed on the vertical outside walls flush with the trap floor or baffle with at least one ring located in each chamber of the trap. The minimum sizes of the rings shall be two and five sixteenths 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.

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 one mile offshore to Blue Point.

Crab traps are prohibited in the Tchefuncte River.

Size/Possession Limits

There is no minimum recreational size limit for blue crabs. The daily and possession limit is 12 dozen per person, daily and in possession.

There is no minimum recreational size limit for stone crabs or stone crab claws. Certain WMAs and state and federal refuges may have different possession limits. Consult local LDWF offices or Enforcement agents for specifics.

Any person using crab nets or crab lines for the purpose of taking crabs for recreational purposes shall not be required to purchase or possess a basic recreational fishing license or be required to purchase a gear license. However, persons using crab nets or crab lines on LDWF WMAs or refuges must possess a basic and saltwater recreational fishing license or a Wild Louisiana Stamp.