Recreational Saltwater Seasons and Limits

Common Coastal Species

Cobia (Ling or Lemonfish)
  • To possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, snappers, groupers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish, recreational fishermen (except those under age 16 and those on a paid for-hire charter trip) must obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit, in addition to required licenses. Charter captains must also obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess these species.
  • Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations.

cobia1

Size Limit: 33 inches minimum fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: two per person per day

Season: open year-round in state waters

 

Drum

Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.

drum black  

Black Drum

Size Limit: 16 inches minimum total length, 27 inches maximum total length

Bag and Possession Limit: five per person per day, and no more than one over 27-inch maximum total length

Season: open year-round in state waters

 

drum red

Red Drum/Redfish

Size Limit: 16 inches minimum total length, 27 inches maximum total length

Bag and Possession Limit: five per person per day, and no more than one over 27-inch maximum total length

Season: open year-round in state waters

Notes:

  • Recreational saltwater anglers may possess a two-day’s bag limit of red drum on land; however, no person may possess more than the daily bag limit of red drum in any one day or while fishing or while on the water, unless that recreational saltwater angler is aboard a trawler engaged in commercial fishing for a consecutive period longer than 25 hours.
  • Take or possession of red drum in federal waters is prohibited.

 

Southern Flounder

Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.

flounder southern

Size Limit: none

Bag and Possession Limit: 10 per person per day

Season: open year-round in state waters

 

Mackerel
  • Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations.

mackeral king

King Mackerel

Size Limit: 24 inches minimum fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: three per person per day

Season: open year-round in state waters

spanish mackerel

Spanish Mackerel

Size Limit: 12 inches minimum fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: 15 per person per day

Season: open year-round in state waters

 

Striped Mullet

Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.

mullet

Size Limit: none

Bag and Possession Limit: 100 pounds per person per day

Season: open year-round in state waters

 

Spotted Seatrout (Speckled Trout)

Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.

seatrout

Size Limit: 12 inches minimum total length

Bag and Possession Limit: 25 per person per day except in specified areas of Cameron and Calcasieu parishes where the limit is 15 per person per day with no more than two over 25 inches total length. These areas are:

  • South of Interstate 10 from its junction at the Texas-Louisiana boundary eastward to its junction with LA Highway 171, south to Highway 14, south to Holmwood, and then south on Highway 27 through Gibbstown south to LA Highway 82 at Creole and south on Highway 82 to Oak Grove, then due south to the western shore of the Mermentau River, following this shoreline south to the junction with the Gulf of Mexico, and then due south to the limit of the state territorial sea.

Current Season: open year-round in state waters

Notes:

  • Recreational saltwater anglers may possess a two-day’s bag limit on land; however, no person may possess more than the daily bag limit in any one day or while fishing or while on the water, unless that recreational saltwater angler is aboard a trawler engaged in commercial fishing for a consecutive period longer than 25 hours.

 

Reef Fish

Grouper
  • To possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, snappers, groupers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish, recreational fishermen (except those under age 16 and those on a paid for-hire charter trip) must obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit, in addition to required licenses. Charter captains must also obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess these species.
  • Unless otherwise established, there are no size limits for species not listed. Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations. Note that federally permitted for-hire reef fish vessels must comply with the more restrictive of federal or state reef fish regulations when fishing for reef fish in state waters.
  • The captain and crew of a vessel under charter may not harvest red snapper, greater amberjack, or grouper of any species; their creel limit/bag limit is zero.

grouper gag

Gag

Size Limit: 24 inches minimum total length

Bag and Possession Limit: two gag per person per day within the four grouper aggregate; four grouper per person per day in aggregate. The four grouper aggregate is: speckled hind; black, red, snowy, yellowedge, yellowfin, yellowmouth, and warsaw grouper; gag; and scamp. Additional restrictions for the four grouper aggregate:

  • No more than one speckled hind and one warsaw grouper per vessel per day.
  • No more than two red grouper per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.

Season: open June 1 through December 31 in state waters; closed January 1 through June 30 in state waters. Note that there are closed seasons for other grouper species within the four grouper aggregate—black, red, yellowfin, and yellowmouth grouper and scamp are closed February 1 through March 31 in state waters seaward of the 20 fathom (120 feet) boundary.

 

black grouper

Black Grouper

Size Limit: 24 inches minimum total length

Bag and Possession Limit: four grouper per person per day in aggregate; the four grouper aggregate is: speckled hind; black, red, snowy, yellowedge, yellowfin, yellowmouth, and warsaw grouper; gag; and scamp. Additional restrictions for the four grouper aggregate:

  • No more than one speckled hind and one warsaw grouper per vessel per day.
  • No more than two red grouper and two gag per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.

Season: open year-round in state waters except February 1 through March 31 seaward of the 20 fathom (120 feet) boundary. Note that there are closed seasons for other grouper species within the four grouper aggregate—gag is closed January 1 through June 30 in state waters; red, yellowfin, and yellowmouth grouper and scamp are closed February 1 through March 31 in state waters seaward of the 20 fathom (120 feet) boundary.

 

red grouper

Yellowfin Grouper

Red and Yellowfin Grouper

Size Limit: 20 inches minimum total length

Bag and Possession Limit: two red grouper per person per day within the four grouper aggregate; four grouper per person per day in aggregate. The four grouper aggregate is: speckled hind; black, red, snowy, yellowedge, yellowfin, yellowmouth, and warsaw grouper; gag; and scamp. Additional restrictions for the four grouper aggregate:

  • No more than one speckled hind and one warsaw grouper per vessel per day.
  • No more than two gag per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.

Season: open year-round in state waters except February 1 through March 31 seaward of the 20 fathom (120 feet) boundary. Note that there are closed seasons for other grouper species within the four grouper aggregate—gag is closed January 1 through June 30 in state waters; black and yellowmouth grouper and scamp are closed February 1 through March 31 in state waters seaward of the 20 fathom (120 feet) boundary.

 

scamp grouper

Scamp

Size Limit: 16 inches minimum total length

Bag and Possession Limit: four grouper per person per day in aggregate; the four grouper aggregate is: speckled hind; black, red, snowy, yellowedge, yellowfin, yellowmouth, and warsaw grouper; gag; and scamp. Additional restrictions for the four grouper aggregate:

  • No more than one speckled hind and one warsaw grouper per vessel.
  • No more than two red grouper and two gag per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.

Season: open year-round in state waters except February 1 through March 31 seaward of the 20 fathom (120 feet) boundary. Note that there are closed seasons for other grouper species within the four grouper aggregate—gag is closed January 1 through June 30 in state waters; black, red, yellowfin, and yellowmouth grouper are closed February 1 through March 31 in state waters seaward of the 20 fathom (120 feet) boundary.

 

Goliath Grouper

Nassau Grouper

Goliath and Nassau Grouper

Take of these species is prohibited.

 

 

Snapper
  • To possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, snappers, groupers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish, recreational fishermen (except those under age 16 and those on a paid for-hire charter trip) must obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit, in addition to required licenses. Charter captains must also obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess these species.
  • Unless otherwise established, there are no size limits for species not listed. Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations. Note that federally permitted for-hire reef fish vessels must comply with the more restrictive of federal or state reef fish regulations when fishing for reef fish in state waters.
  • The captain and crew of a vessel under charter may not harvest red snapper, greater amberjack, or grouper of any species; their creel limit/bag limit is zero.

Red Snapper

Red Snapper

Size Limit: 16 inches minimum total length

Bag and Possession Limit: two per person per day

Current Season: This year’s private recreational red snapper season differs from years prior in that state and federal seasons will run concurrently because federal fisheries managers approved LDWF's application for an Exempted Fishing Permit to manage the private recreational snapper season in state and federal waters in 2018 and 2019. Under the EFP, participating anglers will be allowed to fish red snapper in the state territorial seas and adjoining federal EEZ, from shore to 200 nautical miles, during the season set by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. NOAA Fisheries will continue to regulate federal for-hire charter vessels. State charter captains (those who do not have a federal Gulf of Mexico charter permit for reef fish) may only fish for red snapper in state waters when the state recreational red snapper season is open. Read more

Who

When

Where

Private anglers*

May 25, 2018-July 8, 2018 (7 days/week); July 13, 2018-August 12, 2018 (weekends only—Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)**

State and federal waters

State charter boats (no federal Gulf of Mexico charter permit for reef fish)

May 25, 2018-July 8, 2018 (7 days/week); July 13, 2018-August 12, 2018 (weekends only—Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)**

State waters

Charter boats with a valid federal Gulf of Mexico charter permit for reef fish

June 1-July 21, 2018

Federal waters

State waters, only when the federal season overlaps the Louisiana state season and if you have a Louisiana charter license

*All anglers must possess valid Louisiana Basic and Saltwater Recreational Fishing Licenses as well as a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (ROLP) to fish for red snapper in state and federal waters. Exception: Anglers fishing on a charter boat are covered under the charter captain’s ROLP.

**At their July 3, 2018 meeting, the Commission voted to reopen the recreational red snapper season on July 13, 2018 for weekends only (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). LDWF closed the season at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 12, 2018 as preliminary estimates from LA Creel indicated that Louisiana’s annual private recreational allocation (about 743,000 pounds) was projected to be harvested by this time. The LDWF Secretary has the authority to reopen the recreational season if finalized landings data indicate such harvest would be within the quota allowed under the EFP.

State waters – within the 9 nautical mile state water boundary
Federal waters – 9 nautical miles out to 200 nautical miles

 

Mutton Snapper

Mutton Snapper

Size Limit: 18 inches minimum total length

Bag and Possession Limit: five per person per day within the 10 snapper aggregate; the 10 snapper aggregate is all snappers (gray, mutton, yellowtail, cubera, queen, blackfin, silk, and wenchman) except red, vermilion, and lane snapper. A recreational saltwater angler may possess a two-day limit on a charter vessel or headboat on a multi-day trip if the vessel/headboat has two licensed operators as required by the U.S. Coast Guard for trips more than 12 hours, and the angler has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel verifying the length of the trip.

Season: open year-round in state waters

 

Queen Snapper

Blackfin Snapper

Silk Snapper

Wenchman Snapper

Queen, Blackfin, Silk, and Wenchman Snapper

Size Limit: none

Bag and Possession Limit:

  • 10 per person per day within the 10 snapper aggregate; the 10 snapper aggregate is all snappers (gray, mutton, yellowtail, cubera, queen, blackfin, silk, and wenchman) except red, vermilion, and lane snapper. Additional restrictions for the 10 snapper aggregate:
    • No more than five mutton snapper per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.
  • A recreational saltwater angler may possess a two-day limit on a charter vessel or headboat on a multi-day trip if the vessel/headboat has two licensed operators as required by the U.S. Coast Guard for trips more than 12 hours, and the angler has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel verifying the length of the trip.

Season: open year-round in state waters

 

Cubera Snapper

Mangrove Snapper

Yellowtail Snapper

Cubera, Gray (Mangrove), and Yellowtail Snapper

Size Limit: 12 inches minimum total length

Bag and Possession Limit:

  • 10 per person per day within the 10 snapper aggregate; the 10 snapper aggregate is all snappers (gray, mutton, yellowtail, cubera, queen, blackfin, silk, and wenchman) except red, vermilion, and lane snapper. Additional restrictions for the 10 snapper aggregate:
    • No more than five mutton snapper per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.
  • A recreational saltwater angler may possess a two-day limit on a charter vessel or headboat on a multi-day trip if the vessel/headboat has two licensed operators as required by the U.S. Coast Guard for trips more than 12 hours, and the angler has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel verifying the length of the trip.

Season: open year-round in state waters

 

Vermillion Snapper

Vermilion Snapper

Size Limit: 10 inches minimum total length

Bag and Possession Limit:

  • 10 per person per day within the 20 reef fish aggregate; the 20 reef fish aggregate is vermillion and lane snapper, almaco jack, gray triggerfish, and tilefish. Additional restrictions for the 20 reef fish aggregate:
    • No more than one gray triggerfish per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.
  • A recreational saltwater angler may possess a two-day limit on a charter vessel or headboat on a multi-day trip if the vessel/headboat has two licensed operators as required by the U.S. Coast Guard for trips more than 12 hours, and the angler has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel verifying the length of the trip.

Season: open year-round in state waters. Note that there are closed seasons for other reef fish species within the 20 reef fish aggregate—gray triggerfish is closed January 1 through the end of February and June 1 through July 31.

 

Lane Snapper

Lane Snapper

Size Limit: 8 inches minimum total length

Bag and Possession Limit:

  • 20 per person per day within the 20 reef fish aggregate; the 20 reef fish aggregate is vermillion and lane snapper, almaco jack, gray triggerfish, and tilefish. Additional restrictions for the 20 reef fish aggregate:
    • No more than one gray triggerfish and 10 vermilion snapper per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.
  • A recreational saltwater angler may possess a two-day limit on a charter vessel or headboat on a multi-day trip if the vessel/headboat has two licensed operators as required by the U.S. Coast Guard for trips more than 12 hours, and the angler has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel verifying the length of the trip.

Season: open year-round in state waters. Note that there are closed seasons for other reef fish species within the 20 reef fish aggregate—gray triggerfish is closed January 1 through the end of February and June 1 through July 31.

 

Almaco Jack
  • Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations. Note that federally permitted for-hire reef fish vessels must comply with the more restrictive of federal or state reef fish regulations when fishing for reef fish in state waters.

jack alamaco

Size Limit: none

Bag and Possession Limit: 20 per person per day within the 20 reef fish aggregate; the 20 reef fish aggregate is vermillion and lane snapper, almaco jack, gray triggerfish, and tilefish. Additional restrictions for the 20 reef fish aggregate:

  • No more than one gray triggerfish and 10 vermilion snapper per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.

Season: open year-round in state waters. Note that there are closed seasons for other reef fish species within the 20 reef fish aggregate—gray triggerfish is closed January 1 through the end of February and June 1 through July 31.

 

Gray Triggerfish
  • Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations. Note that federally permitted for-hire reef fish vessels must comply with the more restrictive of federal or state reef fish regulations when fishing for reef fish in state waters.

Size Limit: 15 inches minimum fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: one per person per day within the 20 reef fish aggregate; the 20 reef fish aggregate is vermillion and lane snapper, almaco jack, gray triggerfish, and tilefish. Additional restrictions for the 20 reef fish aggregate:

  • No more than 10 vermilion snapper per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.

Season: closed January 1 through the end of February; open March 1 through May 31; closed June 1 through July 31; open August 1 until landings reach the recreational annual catch limit

 

Tilefish (Goldface, Blackline, Anchor, and Blueline)
  • Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations. Note that federally permitted for-hire reef fish vessels must comply with the more restrictive of federal or state reef fish regulations when fishing for reef fish in state waters.

grey tilefish species

Size Limit: none

Bag and Possession Limit: 20 per person per day within the 20 reef fish aggregate; the 20 reef fish aggregate is vermillion and lane snapper, almaco jack, gray triggerfish, and tilefish. Additional restrictions for the 20 reef fish aggregate:

  • No more than one gray triggerfish and 10 vermilion snapper per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.

Season: open year-round in state waters. Note that there are closed seasons for other reef fish species within the 20 reef fish aggregate—gray triggerfish is closed January 1 through the end of February and June 1 through July 31.

 

Amberjack
  • To possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, snappers, groupers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish, recreational fishermen (except those under age 16 and those on a paid for-hire charter trip) must obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit, in addition to required licenses. Charter captains must also obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess these species.
  • Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations. Note that federally permitted for-hire reef fish vessels must comply with the more restrictive of federal or state reef fish regulations when fishing for reef fish in state waters.
  • The captain and crew of a vessel under charter may not harvest red snapper, greater amberjack, or grouper of any species; their creel limit/bag limit is zero.

amberjack

Greater Amberjack

Size Limit: 34 inches minimum fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: one per person per day

Season: closed January 1 through April 30; open May 1 through 31; closed June 1 through July 31; open August 1 through October 31, or until the annual quota is met or projected to be met; closed November 1 through December 31

 

Banded-Rudderfish_wood

Lesser and Banded Rudderfish

Size Limit: 14 to 22-inch fork length slot limit

Bag and Possession Limit: five fish per person per day combined total between lesser amberjack and banded rudderfish

Season: open year-round in state waters

 

Hogfish
  • Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations. Note that federally permitted for-hire reef fish vessels must comply with the more restrictive of federal or state reef fish regulations when fishing for reef fish in state waters.

Hogfish

Size Limit: 14 inches minimum fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: five per person per day

Season: open year-round in state waters

Black Seabass
  • Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations. Note that federally permitted for-hire reef fish vessels must comply with the more restrictive of federal or state reef fish regulations when fishing for reef fish in state waters.

Black Seabass

Size Limit: none

Bag and Possession Limit: none

Season: open year-round in state waters

Tripletail
  • Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations. Note that federally permitted for-hire reef fish vessels must comply with the more restrictive of federal or state reef fish regulations when fishing for reef fish in state waters.

tripletail

Size Limit: 18 inches minimum total length

Bag and Possession Limit: five per person per day

Season: open year-round in state waters

Highly Migratory Species

Marlin
  • To possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, snappers, groupers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish, recreational fishermen (except those under age 16 and those on a paid for-hire charter trip) must obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit, in addition to required licenses. Charter captains must also obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess these species. 
  • All owners/operator of vessels recreationally fishing for and/or retaining any Atlantic highly migratory species (tunas, billfishes, swordfish, and sharks) with rod and reel; tunas, sharks, and swordfish with a handline; and free-swimming tunas (except bluefin) with a speargun must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit.
  • Unless otherwise established, there are no size limits for species not listed. Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations.

blue marlin species

Blue Marlin

Size Limit: 99 inches minimum lower jaw fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: none

Season: open year-round in state waters

Notes:

  • You must report all recreational landings of marlin to NOAA Fisheries within 24 hours of landing at the dock. Report online, via the mobile app, or by calling 800-894-5528.

 

marlin white

White Marlin

Size Limit: 66 inches minimum lower jaw fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: none

Season: open year-round in state waters

Notes:

  • You must report all recreational landings of marlin to NOAA Fisheries within 24 hours of landing at the dock. Report online, via the mobile app, or by calling 800-894-5528.

 

Swordfish
  • To possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, snappers, groupers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish, recreational fishermen (except those under age 16 and those on a paid for-hire charter trip) must obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit, in addition to required licenses. Charter captains must also obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess these species. 
  • All owners/operator of vessels recreationally fishing for and/or retaining any Atlantic highly migratory species (tunas, billfishes, swordfish, and sharks) with rod and reel; tunas, sharks, and swordfish with a handline; and free-swimming tunas (except bluefin) with a speargun must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit.
  • Unless otherwise established, there are no size limits for species not listed. Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations.

swordfish

Size Limit: 29 inches minimum carcass length or 33 pounds minimum dressed weight

Bag and Possession Limit: no more than five per vessel per trip; swordfish taken under a recreational bag limit shall not be sold, purchased, exchanged, bartered, or attempted to be sold, purchased, exchanged or bartered; no person aboard any vessel shall transfer or cause the transfer of swordfish between vessels in state or federal waters.

Season: open year-round in state waters

Notes:

  • You must report all recreational landings of swordfish to NOAA Fisheries within 24 hours of landing at the dock. Report online, via the mobile app, or by calling 800-894-5528.

 

Tuna
  • To possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, snappers, groupers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish, recreational fishermen (except those under age 16 and those on a paid for-hire charter trip) must obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit, in addition to required licenses. Charter captains must also obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess these species. 
  • All owners/operator of vessels recreationally fishing for and/or retaining any Atlantic highly migratory species (tunas, billfishes, swordfish, and sharks) with rod and reel; tunas, sharks, and swordfish with a handline; and free-swimming tunas (except bluefin) with a speargun must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit.
  • Unless otherwise established, there are no size limits for species not listed. Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Anglers fishing for tunas in Louisiana state or federal are subject to both state and federal laws, rules, and regulations. Federal regulations regarding the recreational harvest of tunas change often, especially for bluefin tuna; federal regulations may supersede Louisiana regulations. Prior to fishing for or harvesting tuna, be aware of the most current federal regulations, including size and bag limits and seasons. For updates on tuna quota monitoring and tuna retention limit adjustments, call 888-872-8862.

Tuna Bluefin

Bluefin Tuna

Directed or targeted recreational fishing of bluefin tuna is prohibited in the Gulf of Mexico.

Size Limit: 73 inches minimum curved fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: one trophy per vessel per year if caught incidentally while targeting other species while the trophy season is open

Season: opens January 1 each year and closes when the quota is met; check with NOAA Fisheries for the most recent status

Notes: 

  • You must report all bluefin tuna landings and dead discards to NOAA Fisheries within 24 hours of landing. Report online, via the mobile app, or by calling 888-872-8862.

 

tuna bigeye

Bigeye Tuna

Size Limit: 27 inches minimum curved fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: none

Season: open year-round in state waters

 

tuna yellowfin species

Yellowfin Tuna

Size Limit: 27 inches minimum curved fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: three per person per day

Season: open year-round in state waters

Shark

 

  • All Louisiana state waters are closed to the recreational and commercial harvest and possession of all sharks between April 1 and June 30 of each year.
  • Finning (removing only the fins and returning the remainder of the shark to the sea) is prohibited in state and federal waters.
  • To possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, snappers, groupers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish, recreational fishermen (except those under age 16 and those on a paid for-hire charter trip) must obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit, in addition to required licenses. Charter captains must also obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess these species. 
  • All owners/operator of vessels recreationally fishing for and/or retaining any Atlantic highly migratory species (tunas, billfishes, swordfish, and sharks) with rod and reel; tunas, sharks, and swordfish with a handline; and free-swimming tunas (except bluefin) with a speargun must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit.
  • Unless otherwise established, there are no size limits for species not listed. Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations.

Atlantic Sharpnose Shark

Bonnethead Shark

Atlantic Sharpnose and Bonnethead Shark

Size Limit: none

Bag and Possession Limit: one per person per day in aggregate; no one may possess any shark in excess of the bag limit at any time, regardless of the number of trips or duration of a trip

Season: open year-round in state waters except April 1 through June 30

 

Small Coastal, Large Coastal, and Pelagic Sharks (except silky and sandbar shark)

Size Limit: 54 inches minimum fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: one per vessel per trip in aggregate; no one may possess any shark in excess of the bag limit at any time, regardless of the number of trips or duration of a trip; no silky or sandbar sharks; no prohibited species

Season: open year-round in state waters except April 1 through June 30

Notes:

  • Small coastal sharks: Atlantic sharpnose, bonnethead, blacknose, and finetooth sharks
  • Large coastal sharks: blacktip, nurse, smooth hammerhead, bull, sandbar*, spinner, great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, tiger, lemon, and silky* sharks
  • Pelagic sharks: blue, porbeagle, thresher, oceanic whitetip, and shortfin mako sharks

*Recreational harvest of sandbar and silky sharks (ridgeback sharks) is prohibited.

 

Prohibited Sharks

Atlantic angel, sand tiger, dusky, bigeye sand tiger, sixgill, largetooth sawfish, bigeye thresher, smalltooth sawfish, narrowtooth, Caribbean reef, white*, Caribbean sharpnose, basking, sevengill, Galapagos, bigeye sixgill, smalltail, longfin mako, bignose, whale, and night sharks

*A person may fish for but not retain white shark with rod and reel only under a catch and release program, provided the person releases and returns such fish to the sea immediately with a minimum of injury.

*Recreational harvest of sandbar and silky sharks (ridgeback sharks) is prohibited.

 

Sailfish

 

  • To possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, snappers, groupers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish, recreational fishermen (except those under age 16 and those on a paid for-hire charter trip) must obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit, in addition to required licenses. Charter captains must also obtain a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess these species. 
  • All owners/operator of vessels recreationally fishing for and/or retaining any Atlantic highly migratory species (tunas, billfishes, swordfish, and sharks) with rod and reel; tunas, sharks, and swordfish with a handline; and free-swimming tunas (except bluefin) with a speargun must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit.
  • Unless otherwise established, there are no size limits for species not listed. Unless otherwise noted, possession limits for saltwater fish are the same as the daily bag limit.
  • Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations.

sailfish

Size Limit: 63 inches minimum lower jaw fork length

Bag and Possession Limit: none

Season: open year-round in state waters

Notes:

  • You must report all recreational landings of sailfish to NOAA Fisheries within 24 hours of landing. Report online, via the mobile app, or by calling 800-894-5528.

 

Shellfish

Crab

Season: There is no closed season for the recreational harvest of blue crabs. However, you are required to remove your crab traps during any closures such as those for derelict crab trap cleanups. Go to the Derelict Crab Trap Removal page for more information.

 

Size and Possession Limits:

  • There is no recreational minimum size limit for blue crabs.
  • The recreational possession limit for blue crabs is 12 dozen per person per day.
  • Certain WMAs and state and federal refuges may have different possession limits. Consult your local LDWF office or see the latest recreational regulations brochure for details.
  • There is no minimum recreational size or possession limit for stone crabs or stone crab claws.
Oyster

Recreational oyster harvest for home consumption is limited to tonging or gathering by hand. A tong gear license is required.

 

Season: The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission opens and closes public oyster areas based on biological and technical data. Go to the Oyster Season page for the most current information.

 

The owner of an oyster lease, or his designee with written permission, may fish oysters at any time of year on their lease.

 

Exception: The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals may close areas for public health reasons. Go to LDHH’s site for information on LDHH closed areas.

 

Size and Possession Limits:

  • All oysters taken from public oyster areas must be 3 inches or greater in length from hinge to mouth.
  • Size restrictions do not apply to oysters taken from a private lease.
  • Recreational oyster fishermen may harvest oysters from a lease only with the written permission of the leaseholder or in public oyster areas open for the harvesting of oysters. 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 one sack per person per day.
Shrimp

Season:

  • You may not use trawls for any purpose in state waters while the shrimp season is closed.
  • 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. Go to the Shrimp Season page for the most current information.
  • Note: There are restricted areas within WMAs, refuges and other areas; these areas may be closed to certain gear types or methods of fishing. Check with your local LDWF office or see the latest recreational regulations brochure for details.

Size and Possession Limits:

Size Limits:

  • There is no size limit for any saltwater shrimp harvested during the spring open season nor for brown or seabob shrimp harvested during any open season.
  • White shrimp is legal size when a pound of white shrimp equals 100 whole shrimp or less. You may not harvest sub-legal white shrimp, except from October 15 through the third Monday in December. Also, when more than half of your catch is seabob or brown shrimp, no more than 10% (by weight) of your catch may be sub-legal size white shrimp.

Possession Limits:

  • Recreational fishermen using cast nets, dip nets, or bait seines may not take more than 50 pounds of shrimp per day during closed shrimp season and 100 pounds of shrimp per day during the open season, in aggregate, per boat or vehicle, regardless of the number of people onboard or in the vehicle.
  • 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 between 16 and 25 feet in length are limited to no more than 250 pounds of (heads-on) shrimp per day per boat
  • Recreational fishermen may only use shrimp they harvest for bait or their own consumption. These shrimp may not be sold, traded, or otherwise permitted to enter commerce.
  • Certain WMAs and state and federal refuges may have different possession limits. Consult your local LDWF office or see the latest recreational regulations brochure for details.