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Elmer's Island Wildlife Refuge

Beginning June 1, 2022, visitors must have a WMA Access Permit, Senior Hunting/Fishing License, Louisiana Sportsman's Paradise License, or a Lifetime Hunting/Fishing License to visit an LDWF WMA, Refuge, or Conservation Area, including Shooting Ranges, for any reason—boating, hiking, bird watching, berry picking, fishing, hunting, shooting, etc. The WMA Access Permit only covers access onto the property—it does NOT convey hunting or fishing privileges. Beginning July 1, 2022, all visitors must also comply with self-clearing permit guidelines.
Beginning July 1, 2022, all visitors must comply with self-clearing permit guidelines.


Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge features saltwater marsh, coastal dunes, and beaches. The refuge property includes a tidal zone, natural and restored dunes, and an expanse of open area leading to a back bay, which is surrounded by mangrove and saltwater marsh habitat.

LDWF manages the refuge with several goals in mind, including providing access for recreation and educational opportunities, continuing to research the natural resources on the refuge, and restoring and protecting the species that live on the refuge as well as their habitat.

Follow these tips to help us meet our management goals by helping to reduce marine litter on Elmer's Island:

  • Do not leave any trash at the refuge—take out everything that you brought with you.
  • When fishing, take all nets, gear, and other materials back onshore.
  • If you smoke, take your butts with you, disposing of them in the trash.
  • When boating, stow and secure all trash on the vessel.
  • Participate in beach sweeps at Elmer’s Island and Grand Isle.


Activities and Amenities

Fishing: Elmer’s Island is a popular fishing area for surf and bank fishing (from the access road). Top species include blue crab, spotted and sand seatrout, sea catfish, red drum, and southern flounder.

Birding: The coastal islands are a popular destination for birding, especially during times of migration. You can view a variety of species at Elmer’s Island, including piping plovers, red knots, reddish egrets, marbled godwits, black skimmers and magnificent frigatebirds.

Research: Please contact Julia Lightner (; 504.286.4041) if you would like to conduct research at Elmer’s Island.

Free Shuttle Service: The beach shuttle at Elmer’s Island operates on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, throughout February, March, April, and May. Starting in June, the shuttle will operate every day, from open to close. Shuttles will run every day through Labor Day and then operate on weekends only (including Fridays) until the end of November.

The shuttle operator is not responsible for any other refuge operations.


  • February/March/April/May: open to close, Friday through Sunday
  • June/July/August: open to close, every day
  • September: after Labor Day, open to close on weekends (Friday through Sunday)
  • October/November: open to close, Friday through Sunday
  • December/January: no operations
Overnight camping is not allowed on Elmer’s Island—the refuge closes to the public 30 minutes after sunset.


Elmer's Island










You can access Elmer's Island Wildlife Refuge via the access road from LA Hwy 1. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the beach at Elmer’s Island. You can also access the island via boat, only from 30 minutes before sunrise through 30 minutes after sunset.


  • Use of the refuge will be permitted from 30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset. This includes any land access routes to the refuge. No person or vehicle shall remain on the refuge or any land access routes during the period from 30 minutes after official sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • No person shall possess any glass bottles, glass drink containers, or other glass products.
  • No person shall enter onto or be on the grounds of the refuge during a restricted access period; or alternatively shall do so only in accordance with restrictions set forth by the Secretary.
  • No person shall commercially fish, conduct any guiding service, hunt, pursue, kill, molest or intentionally disturb any type of wildlife on the refuge, except for the legal recreational harvest of living aquatic resources.
  • No person shall be in areas marked as restricted by signs posted by LDWF.
  • No motorized vehicles are permitted.
  • Anyone fishing recreationally will need a fishing license if over the age of 17.