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Recreational Freshwater Finfish and Crawfish

Freshwater Finfish

Licenses and Permits

If you’re age 16 or older, you must have a Basic Fishing License to fish recreationally in freshwater in Louisiana. 

A Basic Fishing License is also required to use the following gear:

  • Bow and arrow
  • Barbed or barbless spear
  • Frog gig/catcher
  • Scuba gear
  • Hook and line
  • Cast net (radius no longer than 8 feet, 6 inches).

Recreational fishermen age 16 and over using certain recreational fishing gear must purchase applicable gear licenses, in addition to their Basic Fishing License.

Prohibited Species

You may not possess any of the following threatened, endangered, or prohibited species:

  • Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi)
  • Pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus)
  • Shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus)

You may not possess, sell, or transport into Louisiana the following species without written permission from LDWF:

  • All species of tilapia
  • Carp (except koi, common carp, and goldfish)*
  • Freshwater electric eel
  • Rudd
  • Asian swamp eels
  • Snakeheads
  • Walking catfishes
  • Pencil catfishes
  • Piranha
  • Rio Grande cichlid**

*If you catch any exotic species of Asian carp (silver, bighead, black, and grass) from state waters, you may not return it to the water or possess it alive.
**If you catch a Rio Grande cichlid, you may not return it to the water or possess it alive.

Gear Restrictions

See the latest recreational fishing regulations for gear restrictions, which may vary by species and location. 

Size and Bag/Possession Limits

Recreational fishermen may not exceed the daily bag limit for any species while on the water. Recreational fishermen may not have more than twice the daily bag limit of any species in their possession at any time. Exception: below U.S. Highway 90 in coastal Louisiana, recreational fishermen may have up to three times the daily bag limit of black bass in their possession. In Toledo Bend Reservoir, recreational fishermen may have up to 100 crappie in their possession.

Gamefish

Species Location Size Limit Bag Limit
Black bass (largemouth and spotted) All state waters except the below None 10 per day
  Eagle Lake 16 inches minimum total length 10 per day
  Poverty Point Reservoir 15-inch to 19-inch protected slot limit* Eight per day, with no more than one over 19 inches total length
  False River (Point Coupee Parish) 14 inches minimum total length Five per day
  John K. Kelly – Grand Bayou Reservoir (Red River Parish) 14-inch to 17-inch protected slot limit* Eight per day; no more than four over 17 inches total length
  Caddo Lake 14-inch to 18-inch protected slot limit for largemouth bass; no size limit for spotted bass** Eight per day; no more than four largemouth bass over 18 inches total length
  Toledo Bend Reservoir and the Sabine River above Toledo Bend to the point at which the entire river enters Texas 14 inches minimum total length for largemouth bass; no size limit for spotted bass** Eight per day in aggregate
  Sabine River (from Toledo Bend Dam to I-10):  12 inches minimum total length for largemouth bass; no size limit for spotted bass** Eight per day in aggregate
  Sabine River south of I-10 (Louisiana waters only) Statewide regulations apply 10 per day
Striped and hybrid striped bass All state waters None Five per day, with no more than two over 30 inches total length
White bass All state waters except the below None 50 per day
  Caddo Lake, Sabine River, and Toledo Bend Reservoir None 25 per day
Crappie (black and white) All state waters except the below None 50 per day; 100 fish possession limit
  Poverty Point, Caddo Lake, and Sabine River None 25 per day; 50 fish possession limit
  Toledo Bend Reservoir None 25 per day; 100 fish possession limit
  Eagle Lake 11 inches minimum length 30 per day; 30 fish possession limit
Yellow bass All state waters except the below None 50 per day
  Caddo Lake, Sabine River, and Toledo Bend Reservoir None None

*Fish falling within a protected slot limit must be immediately released.
**A spotted bass is defined as a black bass with a tooth patch on the tongue.

Nongame Fish 

Species Location Size Limit Bag Limit
Bowfin (choupique) All state waters 16 inches minimum length None
Buffalofish (or their hybrids) All state waters 16 inches minimum length 25 per day
Catfish (blue, channel, and flathead) All state waters except the below
  • Blue: 12 inches minimum length
  • Channel: 11 inches minimum length
  • Flathead: 14 inches minimum length
100 per day in aggregate. A fisherman may possess up to 25 undersized catfish of the three species combined.
  Caddo Lake, Sabine River, and Toledo Bend Reservoir
  • Blue and channel: None
  • Flathead: 18 inches minimum length
  • Blue and channel: 50 per day in aggregate; no more than five over 30 inches total length
  • Flathead: 10 per day
Freshwater drum (gaspergou) All state waters 12 inches minimum length 25 per day
Paddlefish All state waters except the below 30 inches maximum lower jaw fork length Two per day; fish must not be alive and must not be harvested by snagging
  Boundary waters with Texas or below the saltwater line Harvest or possession is prohibited Harvest or possession is prohibited
Shad All state waters

None

50 pounds per day
Sturgeon All state waters Harvest or possession is prohibited Harvest or possession is prohibited
Other freshwater fish (all species of bream and garfish) All state waters

None

None

 

Crawfish

Harvesting crawfish is a popular pastime for Louisianans, especially when environmental conditions are favorable and provide an abundant supply.

Licenses and Permits

You must have the following licenses to harvest crawfish recreationally:

However, you do not need Basic Fishing or gear licenses to harvest crawfish recreationally with crawfish nets, dip nets, hand lines, or bait seines, unless you’re on an LDWF WMA or refuge (in which case you either need a Basic Fishing License or a Wild Louisiana Stamp).

Gear Restrictions

  • Legal gear: crawfish traps, crawfish nets, hoop nets, wire nets, handlines, bushlines, bait seines, dip nets, and cast nets (no longer than 8.5 feet in radius)
  • Crawfish traps:
    • May be prohibited on certain WMAs and refuges. See the latest recreational fishing regulations.
    • Must have a minimum mesh size of a hexagon of ¾ by 11/16 inches from wire to wire, not including any coating on the wire
    • Must be marked with a waterproof tag with the fisherman’s name and recreational gear license number
    • No more than 35 traps per person while fishing recreationally for crawfish.

Seasons and Times

Size and Bag Limits

Location Size Limit Bag Limit
All state waters None 150 pounds per day