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Recreational Fishing Licenses and Permits

If you’re age 18 or older, you must have a Basic Fishing License to fish recreationally in Louisiana waters. This license includes all legal means/gear for catching freshwater species.

If you’re fishing south of the saltwater line*, you must also have a Saltwater License (unless you are fishing south of the saltwater line and targeting and possessing freshwater fish only, then you only need to possess a Basic Fishing License). This license includes all legal means/gear for catching saltwater species.

Please note that if you’re fishing with a pole or hook and line without a reel and without artificial bait or any of the following: dip nets, landing nets, minnow traps, crab nets, or crab lines, you just need a Hook and Line License; no other license is required. Learn more about crabbing license requirements.

*State law has designated a saltwater line across south Louisiana; this line divides fresh and saltwater areas of the state. 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.

You also need licenses or permits for certain activities.

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

You are not required to have Basic or Saltwater Fishing licenses if you are:

  • A resident or nonresident under age 18 (i.e. age 17 and under)
  • A resident born before June 1, 1940, who has lived in Louisiana for 6 months.

If you meet one of the above criteria, you must still have proof of age in your possession whenever fishing.


Annual recreational fishing licenses are valid from the date of purchase and one year (365 days) from the date of purchase. If you purchase your license online, you can select an option to have your license renewed automatically every year.


License and Permit Types and Fees

License/Permit Type Resident, Military, and Student Fee Nonresident Fee Nonresident Native 10-Day Nonresident 5-Day
Basic Fishing (includes all legal recreational freshwater gear) $17

$68 $17 $30
Saltwater (Basic Fishing License required; includes all legal recreational saltwater gear) $15

$60 $15 $30
Hook and Line (cane pole)1 $5 $5
Senior Hunting/Fishing2 $5
Louisiana Sportsman's Paradise3 $100 $400 $100 $120
Charter Passenger Saltwater4  (3-day) $20 $20
Charter Passenger Freshwater (3-day) $10 $10    

1Allows licenseholder to fish using a pole or hook and line without a reel and without artificial bait or any of the following: dip nets, landing nets, minnow traps, crab nets, or crab lines. No other license is required.
2Any resident age 60 or older must obtain a Senior Hunting/Fishing License to hunt or fish. This license is in lieu of Basic and Saltwater Fishing Licenses; Basic, Deer, Waterfowl, and Turkey Hunting Licenses; and WMA Access Permit. It also includes all legal gear privileges. This license is free for residents born before June 1, 1940.
3Louisiana Sportsman’s Paradise License includes Basic and Saltwater Fishing Licenses; Basic, Deer, Waterfowl, and Turkey Hunting Licenses; WMA Access Permit; and all legal gear privileges except for trawls longer than 25 feet.
4Valid to fish from a charter vessel in saltwater areas of the state, with a licensed guide on board at all times.

Recreational Saltwater Bowfishing Permit
A recreational saltwater bowfishing permit for the recreational fishery's private and charter sectors is required beginning January 1, 2024. The permit is free of charge and will be valid for one year from the date issued. Individuals 18 years of age and older taking or attempting to take saltwater recreational fish with bowfishing gear. Any person on a charter bowfishing trip, who pays a fee for that trip, is not required to have this permit, but the permit is required for the captain of that charter vessel. Charter guides must use charter license number and obtain a CHARTER bowfishing permit.


Offshore and Federal Permits

Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (ROLP)
Private recreational anglers are required to have a valid Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (ROLP) to possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, groupers, snappers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish in Louisiana waters. This permit is free of charge. Minors (under age 18) are not required to have an ROLP. Only register for an ROLP if you're planning to go on a private, recreational offshore trip. You do not need an ROLP if you do not fish offshore, if you only go offshore on charter boats as a client (as you’re covered by the captain’s Charter ROLP), or if you do not fish for or land those species. So, if you're fishing for speckled trout offshore, you do not need an ROLP. But if you land red snapper, you do.  

Highly Migratory Species Angling Permit
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 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, via the HMS Catch Reporting app, or by calling 800.894.5528.

How do I purchase a recreational fishing license?

You can purchase a recreational fishing license*:

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

Online payment options include Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express; these purchases include a small handling fee.

If you purchase your license online (via 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.

Louisiana citizens with a Louisiana driver’s license or ID card can also now use the LA Wallet app to display their purchased LDWF licenses on their smartphone. 

How do I qualify for resident 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.

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.