Louisiana Fishing License Guide | How to Get Your Fishing License in Louisiana

Louisiana Fishing License Guide | How to Get Your Fishing License in Louisiana

Fishing is a beloved pastime in Louisiana, known as the “Sportsman’s Paradise” for its abundant lakes, bayous, and coastal waters teeming with diverse fish species. Whether you’re a resident or visitor, a current fishing license is required before you can legally fish in Louisiana’s fresh and saltwater areas. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about obtaining your Louisiana fishing license in 2024.

Why You Need a Louisiana Fishing License

Louisiana fishing license is more than just a legal requirement – it’s an investment in preserving the state’s vibrant fisheries and aquatic habitats. Your license fees directly support the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) efforts in fisheries management, research, habitat enhancement, boat ramps, and fishing education programs. By purchasing a fishing license, you’re helping to ensure sustainable fishing opportunities for generations to come.

Fishing without a valid license can result in fines and legal penalties. The cost of a citation far exceeds the price of a fishing license. Plus, a fishing license grants you access to Louisiana’s incredible angling experiences like reeling in bull redfish, speckled trout, largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and more across the state’s nearly 8,000 miles of shoreline.

Who Needs a Louisiana Fishing License?

Louisiana fishing license requirements apply to both residents and non-residents. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Residents: If you’ve lived in Louisiana for at least six months prior to purchasing a license, you qualify for resident fishing licenses. Louisiana residents aged 18 through 59 must have a valid fishing license to fish in state waters.
  • Non-Residents: Visitors to Louisiana, including students enrolled in Louisiana colleges, must purchase a non-resident fishing license unless an exemption applies.
  • Exemptions: Some anglers are exempt from needing a Louisiana fishing license:
    • Louisiana residents born before June 1, 1940 who have lived in-state for 6 months
    • Children under 16
    • Residents and non-residents fishing on a licensed charter boat or at a licensed fishing pier that charges a fee
    • Senior residents of Texas and Louisiana with a valid Texas fishing license fishing in border waters under the reciprocal agreement

Types of Louisiana Fishing Licenses

Louisiana offers a variety of fishing license options to fit every angler’s needs, from annual licenses to short-term trip permits. Below are the most common types of Louisiana recreational fishing licenses for residents and non-residents:

Resident Fishing Licenses

  • Basic Fishing License: Covers all legal freshwater fishing methods and gear including hoop nets, crawfish traps, and more. Cost: $17.00
  • Saltwater Fishing License: Requires a Basic Fishing License. Covers saltwater fishing with all legal gear including crab traps, trawls, and oyster tongs. Cost: $15.00
  • Hook and Line License: Allows fishing with cane pole, hook and line without a reel. Cost: $5.00
  • Charter Passenger License: For 3 consecutive days of saltwater fishing on a licensed charter vessel. Cost: $20.00

Non-Resident Fishing Licenses

  • Basic Fishing License: Includes all legal freshwater fishing methods and gear. Cost: $68.00
  • Saltwater Fishing License: Requires a Basic Fishing License. Covers saltwater fishing with all legal gear. Cost: $60.00
  • Charter Passenger License: For 3 consecutive days of saltwater fishing on a licensed charter vessel. Cost: $20.00
  • Hook and Line License: Allows fishing with cane pole, hook and line without a reel. Cost: $5.00

Other license options include the Senior Fishing License for residents aged 60+, Disabled Fishing License, and Sportsman’s Paradise License which combines hunting and fishing privileges. For the full list of license types and fees, check the LDWF recreational fishing licenses page.

How to Get a Louisiana Fishing License

You have several convenient options for purchasing your Louisiana fishing license:

  1. Online: Visit the LDWF online license website to buy or renew your fishing license 24/7. You can print out your license or save it to the LA Wallet mobile app. Payment accepted via major credit cards.
  2. Phone: Call 888-765-2602 toll-free to purchase a license over the phone Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM.
  3. In-Person: Buy a license in-person at sporting goods stores, bait shops, and other LDWF license vendors throughout Louisiana. Use the LDWF license vendor locator to find a location near you.
  4. Mail: Download an application form from the LDWF website. Mail the completed application and payment to: LDWF License Section, PO Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898.

When purchasing a Louisiana fishing license, you’ll need to provide:

  • Personal information (name, address, SSN, email)
  • Proof of residency if seeking a resident license
  • Payment for license fees

Your Louisiana fishing license is valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. You can choose to auto-renew your license each year for uninterrupted fishing privileges.

Louisiana Fishing Regulations

A fishing license is just the beginning – it’s equally important to follow Louisiana’s fishing regulations to avoid penalties and help sustain healthy fish populations. Here are some key regulations to know before you go:

Freshwater Fishing

  • Bag Limits: Be aware of daily catch limits for popular freshwater species. For example, the statewide daily limit is 10 black bass, 50 crappie, and 100 catfish.
  • Size Limits: Some species like black bass and crappie have minimum length requirements that vary by location. Consult the LDWF freshwater fishing regulations for waterbody-specific size restrictions.

Saltwater Fishing

  • Seasons: Certain saltwater species can only be caught during open seasons. Familiarize yourself with the current seasons for red snapper, gag grouper, gray triggerfish and other federally-managed species.
  • Bag & Size Limits: Daily catch and size limits apply to popular saltwater fish like speckled trout, redfish, and flounder. Check the LDWF saltwater fishing regulations for the latest limits.
  • Reef Fish Permit: To target or harvest popular reef fish species like red snapper, amberjack, grouper, tilefish and more, anglers must have a Louisiana Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (ROLP) in addition to a saltwater fishing license. Apply for an ROLP online for free.

Other important Louisiana fishing rules to follow:

  • Respect size and bag limits for the waterbody you’re fishing
  • Use circle hooks when fishing with natural baits for reef fish
  • Be aware of fish consumption advisories for mercury and other contaminants
  • Don’t transport live aquatic species between waterbodies
  • Dispose of fishing line and tackle properly to avoid wildlife entanglements

By adhering to Louisiana’s fishing regulations, you’re doing your part as a responsible angler to preserve the state’s world-class fisheries.

Louisiana Fishing License FAQs

What happens if I fish without a license in Louisiana?

Fishing without a valid license is a Class Two violation punishable by fines up to $350 and 60 days in jail. Always carry your fishing license and present it to wildlife agents when asked.

Do I need a fishing license to fish in Louisiana state parks?

Yes, you need a valid Louisiana fishing license to fish in state parks and wildlife management areas (WMAs). You also need a Wild Louisiana Stamp or WMA Access Permit to use state WMAs for any purpose including fishing, hiking, birdwatching, and more.

Can I fish in Louisiana with an out-of-state fishing license?

No, you must have a Louisiana non-resident fishing license to legally fish in Louisiana waters. The only exception is for Texas residents aged 65+ with a valid Texas fishing license fishing the border waters between Louisiana and Texas.

Do I need a fishing license to fish on a charter boat in Louisiana?

When fishing with a licensed Louisiana charter operator, you can purchase a Charter Passenger License for $20 which allows 3 consecutive days of saltwater fishing on that charter. Otherwise, you’ll need a regular Louisiana Basic Fishing License and Saltwater License to fish aboard a charter boat.

Get Your 2024 Louisiana Fishing License Today!

We hope this Louisiana fishing license guide has provided all the information you need to obtain your fishing license and hit the water with confidence. Remember, your license dollars help conserve Louisiana’s incredible fishing for present and future anglers. Tight lines!

To get started, visit the LDWF licensing website and select the fishing license that’s right for you. With a valid Louisiana fishing license in hand, you’re ready to explore the Sportsman’s Paradise and create unforgettable fishing memories.

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