Louisiana is a premier fishing destination, offering outstanding opportunities to catch trophy largemouth bass, huge blue catfish, hard-fighting redfish, and more. Anglers visiting from out of state have a smorgasbord of productive fisheries to explore across Bayou Country. But before casting your first line, you’ll need to obtain a proper Louisiana fishing license to comply with state regulations.
This guide provides everything you need to know about purchasing an out-of-state fishing license in Louisiana. We’ll cover license types and durations, fees, requirements, exemptions, and more. Read on to learn the crucial information for legally and ethically fishing Louisiana’s abundant waters.
Overview of Louisiana Out-of-State Fishing Licenses
Louisiana offers both annual and temporary licenses for nonresidents:
- Annual License – Valid for 365 days from purchase date
- 10-Day License – Valid for 10 consecutive days from purchase date
- 5-Day License – Valid for 5 consecutive days from purchase date
- 3-Day License – Valid for 3 consecutive days from purchase date
In addition to a basic fishing license, those targeting recreational saltwater species (red drum, spotted seatrout, flounder etc.) will need to add a saltwater endorsement. You’ll also need additional permits to fish certain public lands like Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).
Out-of-state anglers have the option of purchasing any of these licenses online through the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LDWF) or through approved local vendors.
Below we break down the current cost and privileges of each license type valid for the 2023/2024 season.
Louisiana Nonresident Annual Fishing License Fees
|Annual Basic Fishing License
|Annual Basic + Saltwater Endorsement
- Valid 365 days from purchase date
- Covers freshwater and saltwater fishing
- Additional WMA permits required in certain areas
Louisiana Nonresident Temporary Fishing License Options
|10-Day Basic License
|10-Day Basic + Saltwater Endorsement
|5-Day Basic License
|5-Day Basic + Saltwater Endorsement
|3-Day Basic License
|3-Day Basic + Saltwater Endorsement
- Multiple durations for temporary visits
- Saltwater endorsement required for coastal waters
- WMA permits needed for some public lands
Who Needs a Louisiana Fishing License?
If you are 16 years of age or older and plan to fish Louisiana state waters, you will need an appropriate fishing license.
There are exceptions for anglers younger than 16, passengers on licensed charter boats, Louisiana residents who meet certain requirements, and those fishing on private property.
See the LDWF recreational fishing regulations for specifics on license exemptions.
Age and Applicability
- 16 years or older – Must have appropriate license to fish Louisiana public waters
- Under 16 – Exempt from basic recreational fishing license
- Under 16 – Must have saltwater endorsement when fishing coastal waters
In all cases, anyone keeping fish for harvest must have the required licenses. Catch and release fishing has more flexible rules.
Purchasing Your Louisiana Fishing License
Louisiana offers several convenient ways for nonresidents to purchase required fishing licenses:
The quickest and easiest option is to use the LDWF online license system. You can securely pay for and download annual or temporary licenses 24/7.
Online purchases require:
- Valid driver’s license if resident of U.S.
- Appropriate identification if resident of foreign country
You can also buy licenses from approved local vendors across Louisiana. Many bait and tackle shops, Walmart stores, marinas and other retailers sell licenses over the counter. Call ahead to check inventory of nonresident offerings.
When purchasing from a local agent, be sure to bring your:
- Valid U.S. driver’s license/ID if applicable
- Appropriate foreign country ID if not a U.S. resident
Cash and credit cards are accepted for in-person purchases.
No matter how you obtain your Louisiana fishing license, be sure to understand associated privileges, requirements and restrictions prior to casting your first line.
Understanding Louisiana Fishing Regulations
Before an out-of-state angler visits Louisiana, it’s essential to review the recreational fishing regulations. In addition to proper licensing, visiting anglers must adhere to rules on size limits, creel limits, gear restrictions, closed seasons and more.
Regulations vary by species and location. LDWF divides the state into distinct fishing zones with region-specific rules.
Size and Creel Limits
Most freshwater species like bass, crappie, bream and catfish have statewide regulations. But size and creel limits for popular inshore species often differ by zone.
For example, anglers in Zone 1 (far southeast LA) can keep 15 spotted seatrout per day with a minimum size of 12 inches. But in Zone 3 (southwest LA) the limit drops to 10 fish with a 14-inch minimum.
Certain fisheries have closed seasons to protect spawning and developing fish. Red snapper season, for instance, consists of weekends only during the summer months.
And some areas impose seasonal bans on harvesting shellfish due to water quality concerns. Always verify current openings and closures.
Louisiana specifies what types of gear and harvesting methods are legal. Trotlines, crab traps, bow fishing and cast nets all have certain specifications that must be followed.
Understanding gear regulations is crucial for avoiding citations.
Key Items to Know Before Fishing in Louisiana
Aside from carrying proper licenses and learning seasons and limits, out-of-state anglers should be aware of the following:
Public Access and WMA Permits
Nearly 1.9 million acres of public waters and lands are open to fishing in Louisiana. This includes state parks, wildlife refuges, reservoirs, rivers and bayous.
Many Wildlife Management Area (WMA) fisheries require additional WMA permits. Check regulations for the area you’ll be visiting.
Charter Fishing License Alternatives
When fishing Louisiana inshore waters, nonresidents can purchase individual licenses or hire a guide. Many opt for charters to access productive waters and benefit from local expertise.
If you join a paid charter trip, you are covered by the boat’s vessel license and captain’s charter license. No additional personal license is needed.
Of course you’ll still need appropriate licenses if fishing without a guide before or after your trip.
Any nonresident fishing public saltwaters – whether from shore, private boat or charter – must have an active saltwater endorsement. Louisiana sells endorsements in 365 day, 10 day, 5 day and 3 day durations.
A saltwater license addon allows harvest of popular inshore species like speckled trout, redfish, flounder and more.
Free Fishing Weekends
Louisiana offers two Free Fishing Weekends each year – one in June and one in September. During these weekends out-of-state visitors can fish public waters without a recreational license.
All other regulations like size limits, creel limits and gear restrictions remain in effect. Free Fishing Weekends are an excellent no-commitment way to experience Louisiana angling.
Top Species and Fishing Opportunities
From bayou trophy bass to hard-fighting Gulf game fish, Louisiana delivers outstanding fishing prospects for visiting anglers.
Inshore Saltwater Species
Louisiana’s fertile estuaries and marshes hold exceptional populations of inshore sport fish. Target these popular light tackle and fly rod species:
- Redfish – Bull redfish over 10 pounds cruise shallow flats
- Speckled Trout – Aggressive feeders that strike artificial lures with fury
- Flounder – Ambush predators caught from shorelines and tributaries
- Sheepshead – Excellent tablefare found around bridges and pilings
Further inland, Louisiana contains some of the South’s best lakes, rivers and reservoirs yielding trophy black bass plus monster catfish:
- Largemouth Bass – Multiple private lakes produce double digit bass
- Blue Catfish – Some of the biggest cats on the planet call Louisiana home
- Crappie – Can reach mammoth proportions in fertile waters like Toledo Bend
Deep Sea Fishing
Venturing offshore opens the door to battling big game species in the Gulf of Mexico:
- Yellowfin Tuna – Highly-prized for their fighting ability and table quality
- Mahi Mahi – Acrobatic, shimmering fish frequenting floats and rigs
- Blue Marlin – Massive open ocean predators
With this diversity of species and habitats, Louisiana offers something for every angling enthusiast.
Fishing Culture and Local Tradition
Beyond its fisheries abundance, Louisiana offers visiting anglers a chance to experience authentic local culture and tradition.
Many towns host annual festivals devoted to cherished seafood like crawfish, crabs and shrimp. Don’t miss these lively celebrations of Louisiana’s fishing heritage.
And be sure to indulge in local Creole and Cajun cuisine showcasing seasonal catches. Fried catfish, seafood gumbo and crawfish etouffee are just a sampling of iconic dishes to enjoy.
Immerse yourself in Louisiana’s singular blend of food, music, and joie de vivre through an epic fishing adventure.
With an out-of-state fishing license in hand, visiting anglers have access to Louisiana’s world-class freshwater and saltwater fisheries.
Choose between annual and 10, 5 or 3 day temporary licenses based on the duration of your trip. Add required saltwater endorsements to target inshore species along the coast.
Review regional fishing regulations to understand size and creel limits, gear rules, seasonal closures and other restrictions prior to arrival. Consider hiring a guide for your first foray into Louisiana’s productive waters.
Soon you’ll be hooked up with a bruising redfish battling the current, a hefty blue cat stretching your arms to the limit, or even an acrobatic tuna performing aerials offshore.
Just don’t forget the Cajun spices and fixin’s for the shore lunch feast after a successful day on the water!