Recreational Fishing Licenses

 

 

 

Who needs a recreational fishing license?

Resident and nonresident recreational fishermen age 16 or older must have a Basic Fishing License to use the following gear or possess fish which have been caught for recreational purposes in Louisiana waters:     

  • Bow and arrow
  • A barbed or barbless spear
  • Frog gig/catcher
  • Scuba gear
  • Hook and line (trot line)
  • Cast net with a radius not to exceed 8 feet, 6 inches
  • Rod and reel

State law has designated a “saltwater line” across south Louisiana; this line divides fresh and saltwater areas of the state. If you’re fishing north of the “saltwater line”, you just need a Basic Fishing License. If you’re fishing south of the "saltwater line” for saltwater species, you must also have a Saltwater License in addition to your Basic Fishing License. Louisiana has many areas where you can catch fresh and saltwater species side by side. Instead of trying to determine exactly where the saltwater line is, the best practice is to purchase the additional saltwater license if you’re fishing anywhere in south Louisiana and plan to catch any saltwater species.

 

Recreational fishermen also need licenses or permits for certain types of gear or activities.

 

Licenses are available at special rates for seniors, military, students, and people with disabilities. Lifetime Licenses are also available.  

Who doesn’t need a license?

The following individuals are not required to have Basic or Saltwater Fishing licenses:

  • Residents and nonresidents under age 16 (i.e. age 15 and under)
  • Residents born before June 1, 1940 who have lived in Louisiana for one year.

However, these individual must have proof of age in their possession whenever fishing. In addition, residents born before June 1, 1940 must have appropriate gear licenses when using any legal fishing gear.

 

How do I purchase a recreational fishing license?

You can purchase a recreational fishing license* a variety of ways:

  • Via phone at 1-888-765-2602 (toll-free)
  • Online
  • At many LDWF offices (Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Lake Charles, Monroe, and Opelousas) and local retailers

*This does not apply to most military, student, disability, and lifetime licenses. See those pages for details.

 

Phone and online payment options include Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express or E-check; these purchases include a small handling fee.

 

If you purchase your license via phone, you will receive an authorization number so you can use your license immediately. We will also mail you a license.

 

If you purchase your license online, you will receive an authorization number so you can use your license immediately. You will also receive a PDF of your license, which you can print and/or save to the electronic device you take fishing.

 

If you purchase your license via a mobile device (smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc.), you will not receive a license in the mail. You will receive a text with a temporary authorization number and an email with the temporary authorization number and a PDF of your licenses, which you can print and/or save to the electronic device you take fishing.

 

When do recreational fishing licenses expire?

Annual recreational fishing licenses go on sale June 1 each year. They are valid from the date of purchase and expire on June 30 each year.

How do I qualify for resident license rates?

To purchase a license at the resident rate, you must meet the bona fide residency requirements defined below and present one of the following valid forms of identification:

  • Louisiana driver’s license (valid for 6 months or more)
  • Louisiana ID card (issued by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety)

If you obtain a resident license but do not comply with the bona fide residency requirements as stated below, you will be subject to criminal and/or civil sanctions.

 

Bona Fide Residency Requirements:

You’re a bona fide resident if you’ve resided in the state of Louisiana continuously during the 6 months immediately prior to the date you apply for any license and if you’ve established Louisiana as your legal domicile. You must demonstrate compliance with all of the following, as applicable:

  • If you’re registered to vote, you’re registered to vote in Louisiana
  • If you’re licensed to drive a motor vehicle, you have a valid Louisiana driver’s license
  • If you own a motor vehicle located within Louisiana, you have a valid Louisiana registration for that vehicle
  • If you earn an income, you have filed a Louisiana state income tax return and have complied with state income tax law and regulations.

Any person, corporation, or other legal entity that possesses a resident license from any other state or country shall not qualify for a resident license in Louisiana.

How do I replace a lost license?

If you lost your license, you can purchase a duplicate for $2 per license. If you purchased it online or through a mobile device, you can reprint it for free. No duplicates are allowed for temporary licenses (e.g. 1-day nonresident trip licenses).

 

Louisiana/Texas Agreement

The waters in western Louisiana form a mutual border with Texas, so Louisiana and Texas have a reciprocal agreement that allows Louisiana and Texas recreational fishermen to fish border waters (except the Gulf of Mexico) under their resident license from their home state. They are not required to purchase a nonresident license. Those exempted from resident licenses for their state (see above) are also included in this agreement. Border waters include:

  • Caddo Lake
  • Toledo Bend Reservoir
  • Sabine River
  • Sabine Lake
  • Sabine Pass.

Louisiana residents age 65 or older are not required to purchase a Texas nonresident license to fish in any Texas public waters (both freshwater and saltwater), but they must have a valid Louisiana resident senior fishing license(s) and comply with Texas law. Louisiana residents from 17 to 64 years of age are still required to purchase a Texas nonresident fishing license when fishing in Texas waters, except border waters.

 

Likewise, Texas residents age 65 or older may fish in any Louisiana public waters (both freshwater and saltwater) as long as they possess any type of valid Special Texas Resident license for seniors and comply with Louisiana law. This includes Texas residents born before September 1, 1930.

 

License Types and Fees

LICENSE TYPE

RESIDENT FEE NON RESIDENT FEE

Hook and Line (cane pole)

$2.50

-

Basic Fishing

$9.50

$60

Saltwater (Basic Fishing License required)

$13

$30

Nonresident Basic Trip (1 day)

-

$5

Nonresident Saltwater Trip (1 day)

-

$17.50

Nonresident Saltwater Season (Basic Fishing License required)

-

$30

Senior Hunting/Fishing2

$5

-

Louisiana Sportsman’s Paradise3

$100

-

Charter Passenger4 (3 day)

$10

$10

Charter Skiff5 (3 day)

-

$30

 

1Allows licenseholder to fish with a cane pole. No other license is required.

2Any resident who turned 60 years old on or after June 1, 2000 must obtain a Senior Hunting/Fishing License to hunt or fish. This license is in lieu of Basic and Saltwater fishing licenses; Basic, Big Game, Bow, and Primitive Firearms hunting licenses; Louisiana Waterfowl and Turkey Stamps; and the WMA Hunting Permit. This license does not include special gear such as trawls, crab traps, crawfish traps, hoop nets, etc.

3Louisiana Sportsman’s Paradise License includes Basic and Saltwater fishing Licenses; Basic, Big Game, Bow, and Primitive Firearms hunting licenses; Louisiana Waterfowl and Turkey stamps, the WMA Hunting Permit; and all recreational gear licenses except for recreational trawls longer than 16 feet.

4Valid to fish from a charter vessel in saltwater areas of the state, with a licensed guide on board at all times. This license is in lieu of basic and saltwater fishing licenses and is valid for 3 consecutive days. You must provide the charter guide’s license number or mothership license when you purchase a Charter Passenger License.

5Valid for nonresidents to fish under the direction of a charter operation in a licensed charter skiff in saltwater areas of the state. This license is in lieu of basic and saltwater fishing licenses and is valid for 3 consecutive days. 

 

Recreational Fishing Gear Licenses

Recreational anglers age 16 and over using any of the recreational gear listed below must purchase applicable gear licenses, in addition to their basic fishing license. If fishing in saltwater areas of the state, they must also have a saltwater fishing license. Lifetime fishing license holders must purchase gear licenses to use recreational gear.

 

LICENSE TYPE

RESIDENT FEE NON RESIDENT FEE

Cans/Buckets (limit 5) 

$10

$40

Crab Traps (limit 10) 

$15

$60

Crawfish Traps (limit 35)

$15

$60

Hoop Nets (limit 5)2

$20

$80

Oyster Tong (per tong) 

$5

$20

Pipes/Drums (limit 5) 

$10

$40

Slat Traps (limit 5)

$20

$80

Trawls – less than 16 feet 

$25

$100

Trawls – 16 feet up to 25 feet1

$80

$320

Wire Nets (limit 5)2

$20

$80

 

1Not included in the Louisiana Sportsman's Paradise License.

2You may only use recreational wire and hoop nets in the geographical areas of the state designated as freshwater (see freshwater fishing regulations).

 

Offshore and Federal Permits

Most recreational anglers and charter captains must have a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (ROLP) to possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, groupers, snappers, hinds, cobia, wahoo and dolphin. Minors (under age 16) are not required to have a ROLP. In addition, angling customers on a paid-for-hire charter trip do not need a ROLP. This permit is free. Get or renew your ROLP online.

Recreational vessels fishing for any federally regulated highly migratory species (HMS)—Atlantic tunas (bluefin, yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack and albacore), sharks, swordfish, white and blue marlin, sailfish and spearfish—must have a federal HMS Angling Permit. You may not sell your catch under this permit. The permit fee is $20. You may apply for an initial or renewal permit one of the following ways:

There are also some mandatory reporting requirements associated with this permit. You must report all bluefin tuna landings and dead discards, and swordfish, white and blue marlin, sailfish, and spearfish landings to NOAA Fisheries within 24 hours of your vessel returning from the trip. Report online or by calling 800-894-5528.