Louisiana Fishing License

Louisiana

Louisiana is considered one of the top fishing grounds in the country. Some might even say the world. Fresh and saltwater fishing is afforded in the state with its thousands of acres of waterways. There are bayous, lakes, rivers, estuaries, reservoirs for freshwater fishing. The long stretch of coast along the Gulf of Mexico is great for saltwater fishing.

Before hooking the first largemouth bass or bluegill in Bayou Segnett or Red River, a Louisiana license is required. Purchasing this online or by phone from the Department of Wildlife is quick and easy. An authorization number is then given after purchase. There is a fishing license age requirements in Louisiana and stipulations on slot limits and bag limits.

There fishing regulations and laws set by the state for the protection and conservation of its waterways and fish populations. There are specific fishing regulations for zones and named waterways that are subject to change based on current standing and assessment of fish populations.

Conservation and preservation of the fish populations in Louisiana is priority. Off shore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is best for catching grouper and snapper but one must learn the proper catch and release technique of these deep water fish so as not to hurt them. Note that deep water fish could suffer from decompression when brought to the surface. By using a descender or ventin too, the survival rates of deep water fish increases and their survival rates after release.


Fishing is one of the most loved outdoor activities, especially for Americans. And as anglers, there is no denying that Louisiana is one of the unique places where you can have the best time of your life in the water. But before reeling in largemouth bass on the Red River in Shreveport or catching a spotted seatrout at Bayou Segnette State Park, you need to secure a fishing license from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. 

The license you purchase, depending on the type and validity, will give you access to the beautiful and vibrant fishing site across Louisiana. Certain privileges may exempt some from getting a license, but to be sure, whether you are a resident or a tourist, procuring one before rowing your boat to the river is always a good idea.

How to purchase a fishing license in Louisiana, you may ask? Well, in this article, we will be discussing everything you need to know about fishing licenses and regulations so that you can start catching the trophy-sized rainbow trout of your dreams!

Who is required to possess a Louisiana Fishing License?

Generally, all anglers who are aged 16 and above are required to purchase a designated fishing license if they want to fish in the waters of Louisiana. A  Basic Fishing License is required from anglers, both resident and non-resident, to be allowed to use the following gear or possess fish which have been caught for recreational purposes in Louisiana waters:

  • Bow and arrow
  • A barbed or barbless spear
  • Frog gig/catcher
  • Scuba gear
  • Hook and line (trot line)
  • Cast net with a radius not to exceed 8 feet, 6 inches
  • Rod and reel

When fishing in Louisiana, it has to be understood that state laws have designated a  “saltwater line” across South Louisiana. This line was drawn to divide fresh and saltwater areas in the state. If you’re fishing north of the “saltwater line,” you need a Basic Fishing License. If you’re fishing south of the "saltwater line” for saltwater species, you must also have a Saltwater License in addition to your Basic Fishing License. As a rule of thumb, it is practical that if you are fishing anywhere in south Louisiana and plan to catch any saltwater species, you need to purchase a supplementary Saltwater License to ensure that you are legally fishing in an area.

It is also worthy to note that licenses are available at special rates for seniors, military, students, and people with disabilities. 

Who is exempted from acquiring a Louisiana Fishing License? 

The state of Louisiana has also taken into consideration several factors in requiring a fishing license from those who want to fish in its waters. Thus, several exemptions were imposed. Here are the criteria that the state follows whether to exempt someone from the license requirement or not: 

  • Residents and non-residents under age 16 (i.e., age 15 and under)
  • Residents born before June 1, 1940, who has lived in Louisiana for six months.

An important reminder for those who qualify for the exemption through the virtue of their age is to always bring proof of age (a picture ID or SSN, for example) whenever you fish. Furthermore, residents born before June 1, 1940, must have appropriate gear licenses when using any legal fishing gear.

How to purchase a Louisiana Fishing License? 

There are different ways of purchasing a Louisiana fishing license. One of the most straightforward ways of buying a license is through the license sales portal of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and pay online. All you need to do is to go to this website and procure a license online. Online payment options include Visa, MasterCard, and Discover; and these purchases include a small handling fee of $2.00.To use the purchased licenses from the online portal, you will receive an authorization number and a PDF file of your license, which you can print or save in any device you take with you as you fish. 

Another way of buying a fishing license in the state of Louisiana is by personally getting it from any LDWF offices (Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Lake Charles, Monroe, and Opelousas) and local retailers. It is also important to note that annual recreational fishing licenses go on sale June 1 each year and will remain valid until June 30 each year. 

Different Types of Fishing Licenses in Louisiana

There are various fishing licenses and permits that are required in the state of Louisiana, and the prices of each permit differ depending on whether you are a resident or non-resident. Here’s a summary of all the available licenses that you can purchase in the state of Louisiana: 

License/Permit Type

Resident

Non-Resident

Hook and Line (cane pole)

$2.50

Not Available

Basic Fishing

$9.50

$60

Saltwater (Basic Fishing License required)

$13

$30

Non-resident Basic Trip (1 day)

Not Available

$5

Non-resident Saltwater Trip (1 day)

Not Available

$17.50

Nonresident Saltwater Season
(Basic Fishing License required)

Not Available

$30

Senior Hunting/Fishing

$5

Not Available

Louisiana Sportsman’s Paradise

$100

Not Available

Charter Passenger (3 days)

$10

$10

Charter Skiff (3 days)

Not Available

$30

Cans/Buckets (limit 5) 

$10

$40

Crab Traps (limit 10) 

$15

$60

Crawfish Traps (limit 35)

$15

$60

Hoop Nets (limit 5)

$20

$80

Oyster Tong (per tong) 

$5

$20

Pipes/Drums (limit 5) 

$10

$40

Slat Traps (limit 5) 

$20

$80

Trawls – less than 16 feet 

$25

$100

Trawls – 16 feet up to 25 feet

$80

$320

Wire Nets (limit to 5)

$20

$80

Recreational Offshore Landing Permit

Free

As earlier mentioned, anglers who want to fish in the waters of Louisiana and are 16 years old and older are required to purchase a Basic Fishing License, which costs $9.50 (residents) and $60.00 (non-residents). For those who are fishing in saltwater should also purchase a Saltwater License (on top of the BFL) for $13 (residents) and $30.00 (non-residents).

Non-residents also have the option to purchase a one-day fishing license for only $5 for a basic trip and $17.50 for saltwater. A senior resident can also purchase a hunting/fishing license for a discounted rate of $5.

Military, students, and persons with disabilities also have different sets of rates for fishing licenses and permits. Please see the chart below for a summary.

License Type

Resident 

Non-resident 

Active Military Basic Fishing

$9.50

$9.50

Active Military Saltwater Fishing

$5.50

$5.50

Active Military Basic Hunting

$15

$15

Active Military Big Game

$14

$14

Active Military Bow 

$10.50

$10.50

Active Military Primitive Firearm 

$10.50

$10.50

Active Military Louisiana Duck 

$5.50

$5.50

Active Military Wild Turkey

$5.50

$5.50

Resident Louisiana National Guard Hunting/Fishing

$50

Not Available

Resident/Native Retired Military Hunting/Fishing

$5

$5

Resident Surviving Spouse Killed in Action Fishing or Hunting

$2.50

Not Available

Non-resident Student Basic Fishing

$9.50

Not Available

Non-resident Student Saltwater (Basic Fishing License required)

$5.50

Not Available

Non-resident Student Basic Hunting

$15

Not Available

Non-resident Student Big Game

$14

Not Available

Nonresident Student Bow

$10.50

Not Available

Non-resident Student Primitive Firearm

$10.50

Not Available

Nonresident Student Duck

$5.50

Not Available

Non-resident Student Wild Turkey

$5.50

Not Available

Resident Disabled Veterans Hunting and Fishing

Free

Not Available

Resident Disabled Sportsman

Free

Not Available

Resident Disabled Basic Recreational Fishing

$2.50

Not Available

Resident Disabled Saltwater Fishing

$2.50

Not Available

Resident Disabled Basic Hunting (excludes deer and turkey; includes WMA Hunting Permit)

$5

Not Available

Resident Disabled Big Game

$5

Not Available

Resident Disabled Bow

$5

Not Available

Resident Disabled Primitive Firearm

$5

Not Available

Developmentally Disabled Hunting/Fishing

Free

Not Available

Physically Challenged Hunter Permit

Free

Not Available

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the daily catch limit in Louisiana

The state of Louisiana has set different daily catch limits on each species and these limits depend on the fishing season. For more information, please visit the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries resources on fishing regulations by following this link.

Q: Is there a Lifetime Fishing License? 

Yes. Residents who renew their state driver’s license at the Office of Motor Vehicles will have the option to add a Lifetime Hunting, Lifetime Fishing, Lifetime Combination, Boater Education, and/or Hunter Education endorsement to your license for free. With this endorsement, you will be able to fish in the waters of Louisiana without needing to carry the applicable license or certification card with you. 

Q: What to do if I lost/damage my fishing 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 (e.g. 1-day non-resident trip licenses).