Seasons and regulations may differ in federal waters off Louisiana ’s coast. Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site for federal seasons and regulations.
Size Limiting and Possession Limit Season 36 inches minimum fork length per person per dampen year-round in state waters Open year-round in state waters Recreational saltwater anglers may possess a two-day’s bag limit of red drum on land; however, no person may possess more than the daily bag limit of red drum in any one day or while fishing or while on the water, unless that recreational saltwater angler is aboard a trawler engaged in commercial fishing for a consecutive period longer than 25 hours.
Size Limiting and Possession Limit Season None100 pounds per person per dampen year-round in state waters Size Limiting and Possession Limit Season Notes12 inches minimum total length25 per person per day except in specified areas of Cameron and Calcasieu parishes where the limit is 15 per person per day with no more than two over 25 inches total length.
Reef Fish The captain and crew of a vessel under charter may not harvest red snapper, greater amber jack, or grouper of any species; their creel limit/bag limit is zero. Specialize Limiting and Possession Limit Season Gag 24 inches minimum total length gag per person per day within the four grouper aggregate; four grouper per person per day in aggregate.
Open year-round in state waters except February 1 through March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom (120 feet) boundary. Open year-round in state waters except February 1 through March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom (120 feet) boundary.
No more than two red grouper and two gags per person per day within the aggregate bag limit. Open year-round in state waters except February 1 through March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom (120 feet) boundary.
Open year-round in state watersVermilion snapper10 inches minimum total length 10 per person per day within the 20 reef fish aggregate; the 20 reef fish aggregate is vermilion and lane snapper, Almach jack, gray trigger fish, and tile fish. Size Limiting and Possession Limit Season None20 per person per day within the 20 reef fish aggregate; the 20 reef fish aggregate is vermilion and lane snapper, Almach jack, gray trigger fish, and tile fish.
No more than one gray trigger fish and 10 vermilion snapper per person per day within the aggregate bag limit. Size Limiting and Possession Limit Season 15 inches minimum fork lengthened per person per day within the 20 reef fish aggregate; the 20 reef fish aggregate is vermilion and lane snapper, Almach jack, gray trigger fish, and tile fish.
Size Limiting and Possession Limit Season None20 per person per day within the 20 reef fish aggregate; the 20 reef fish aggregate is vermilion and lane snapper, Almach jack, gray trigger fish, and tile fish. No more than one gray trigger fish and 10 vermilion snapper per person per day within the aggregate bag limit.
Specialize Limiting and Possession Limit Season Blue marlin99 inches minimum lower jaw fork lengthNoneOpen year-round in state waters White marlin66 inches minimum lower jaw fork lengthNoneOpen year-round in state waterside Limiting and Possession Limit Season Notes29 inches minimum carcass length or 33 pounds minimum dressed weight No more than five per vessel per trip Swordfish taken under a recreational bag limit shall not be sold, purchased, exchanged, bartered, or attempted to be sold, purchased, exchanged or bartered. Prior to fishing for or harvesting tuna, be aware of the most current federal regulations, including size and bag limits and seasons.
Specialize Limiting and Possession Limit Season NotesBluefin tuna73 inches minimum curved fork lengthened trophy per vessel per year if caught incidentally while targeting other species while the trophy season is open Opens January 1 each year and closes when the quota is met Currently closed April 16, 2020, through December 31, 2020, Check with NOAA Fisheries for more information. Directed or targeted recreational fishing of blue fin tuna is prohibited in the Gulf of Mexico.
*A person may fish for but not retain white shark with rod and reel only under a catch and release program, provided the person releases and returns such fish to the sea immediately with a minimum of injury. Size Limiting and Possession Limit Season Notes63 inches minimum lower jaw fork lengthNoneOpen year-round in state waterspout must report all recreational landings of sailfish to NOAA Fisheries within 24 hours of landing.
All whalesDolphin (mammal)Goliath grouper Gulf sturgeon (Dispenser oxyrinchus DeSoto)Large tooth sawfishNassau grouper Sea turtlesSmalltooth swishest Indian manatee Atlantic angel sharkskin sharkBigeye sand tiger sharkBigeye six gill sharkBigeye thresher sharkBignose shark Caribbean reef shark Caribbean sharp nose Sandusky shark Galapagos sharkLongfin make sharkNarrowtooth starlight shark Sand tiger sharkSevengill sharkSixgill sharkSmalltail shark Whale shark White shark Beginning with the 2020season, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will set seasons, bag and size limits, and other management measures for private recreational red snapper fishing in Louisiana ’s state and federal waters (out to 200 nautical miles) adjacent to our coast.
The 2020 recreational red snapper season began on Friday, May 22, in both state and federal waters. While these surveys are voluntary, we strongly urge your participation, as this will be the primary method for tracking harvest.
LDIF hopes that voluntary use of electronic reporting will provide the department with a larger sample size than standard dockside and telephone sampling, improving the quality of recreational landings data to make future management recommendations. At one time depleted, the Gulf of Mexico red snapper population has been recovering quickly.
In response to this issue, fishery managers have been working to find new solutions for responsibly managing the recreational red snapper fishery and increasing opportunities for recreational fishermen to harvest red snapper. Each Gulf state is allocated the portion of the private recreational red snapper quota; Louisiana ’s share is 19.12%.
While the current level of scientific sampling of reef fish off Louisiana provides adequate data to assess red snapper on a Gulf-wide basis, it is insufficient to provide enough data to perform a sound Louisiana -specific stock assessment for red snapper. Currently, NOAA Fisheries mostly samples outer natural banks and bottom breaks.
As part of the annual Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (Seaman), LDIF conducts vertical line surveys to gather data on red snapper at oil and gas platforms and artificial reefs off Louisiana and provides data from these surveys to NOAA Fisheries to use in their stock assessments for red snapper. However, the coverage of critical reef fish habitats needs to be improved to better understand the red snapper population off of Louisiana ’s coast.
While current stock assessments incorporate information from oil and gas platforms and artificial reefs, both through existing scientific sampling and recreational and commercial catch data, additional scientific sampling will increase the ability to observe changes in the age structure and biomass of reef fish on those habitats. LDIF has contracted with LGL Limited (an environmental research and consulting firm) to implement a robust research protocol and study design that will result in a scientifically defensible total abundance estimate of red snapper in Louisiana and adjacent federal waters.
Researchers will conduct hydro acoustic, video, mark/recapture, and biological surveys at 106 sampling sites in the Gulf off of Louisiana. In recent years, there has been a decrease in donations of oil and gas structures to the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program.
A moratorium on accepting structures as Special Artificial Reef Sites (SARS) may have contributed to this decline. However, in April 2017, the Artificial Reef Council revoked the SARS moratorium at LDIF’s request.
This action will allow LDIF greater flexibility to take advantage of unique opportunities to reef decommissioned oil and gas structures in-place, rather than moving them tens of miles into a planning area. In addition, LDIF will continue to urge oil and gas companies to use less lethal methods (e.g., cutting rather than explosives), where and when appropriate, to sever the legs of their structures below the mud line to reduce mortality of fish in the area.
The Gulf red snapper stock continues to increase; however, a healthy population requires an appropriate mix of fish of different ages. In response, Congress awarded Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant $10 million for a two-year project to independently estimate the abundance of red snapper in U.S. waters of the Gulf using state-of-the-art technology.
From 2017 to 2019, fisheries experts from the Gulf and beyond, including LDIF, participated in this project, dubbed the Great Red Snapper Count. According to preliminary findings from this study, there are more red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico than previously thought, possibly up to three times as many.
Preliminary abundance estimates produced by the study for natural and artificial structures, or high relief areas, are consistent with those of the 2018 Gulf red snapper stock assessment conducted by NOAA Fisheries. Using new, innovative technologies to count fish, this study better estimates the red snapper living in the low relief/bottom habitat, such as sand or mud.
The study suggests that most of the Gulf red snapper population is located in these low relief areas. Yes, federal stock assessments include both fisheries dependent (harvest by fishermen) and independent data (biological information gathered by scientists) collected from these structures.
Through LA Creel, LDIF closely monitors recreational landings of red snapper. The majority of red snapper landed in Louisiana are caught at platforms and other artificial structures.
Similarly, a portion of commercial landings come from oil and gas platforms as well as artificial reefs. Commercial landings are monitored through LDIF trip tickets and reporting to NOAA Fisheries.
Catching larger fish means that fishermen harvest their annual quota (measured in pounds) more quickly. The intention of the buffer was to decrease the chance of overfishing as it was not possible for NOAA Fisheries to predict what the actual harvest would be in advance of the season.
How is the total catch of Gulf red snapper allocated between the recreational and commercial fishing sectors? In 1990, Amendment 1 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan allocated the total catch of Gulf red snapper to the recreational and commercial fishing sectors at 49% and 51%, respectively, based on 1979-1987 Marine Recreational Fishery Statistics Survey and commercial landings' data.
The Council changed this allocation to 51.5% recreational and 48.5% commercial for the 2016 season, but the courts overturned that action. Gag grouper will close to recreational harvest in Gulf state and federal waters Jan. 1, 2021.
For gag grouper, state waters off Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson counties will reopen to harvest April 1 through June 30 and Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. In the Atlantic and state waters of Monroe County, the grouper closure ends April 30, and harvest will reopen May 1.
Rebecca Barry She is thrilled to be in the River City where she can catch the JU Dolphin's games and study the diverse weather patterns. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission announced the 2020 recreational red snapper season will begin on Friday, May 22 in both state and federal waters.
The season will run weekends only (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday including the Monday of Memorial Day and the Monday of Labor Day, July 4th falls on a Saturday and will be part of the season as designated) with a daily bag limit of two fish per person and a 16-inch total length minimum size limit. This is 19.1 percent of the gulf-wide red snapper private angling quota and adjusted for last year’s overage.
Must possess valid Louisiana Basic and Saltwater Recreational Fishing Licenses as well as a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (free of charge) to fish for or possess red snapper, as well as other offshore species. While these surveys are voluntary, we strongly urge your participation, as this will be the primary method for tracking harvest.
LDIF hopes that voluntary use of electronic reporting will provide the department with a larger sample size than standard dockside and telephone sampling, improving the quality of recreational landings data to make future management recommendations. Electronic reporting could also provide landings data even faster than LA Creel.
If you opt into voluntary electronic reporting, you may also be contacted to participate in LA Creel. For additional questions regarding the upcoming red snapper season, the Exempted Federal Fishing Permit, or voluntary electronic reporting, please reference our FAQs.
With an official weight of 106.3 pounds, the black grouper Thurman hauled in was 56 inches long. The catch of a lifetime happened Sept. 3 when Thurman and some friends launched out of Port Fourth with Down the Bayou Charters.
After a morning of catching fish left and right, Thurman said Bubble helped him get a Shaman Tiara 50 reel with 300-pound monofilament and a custom, 5-foot-5 extra-heavy action rod situated with live bait and lots of sinkers. “All of a sudden, that rod just doubles over, and I knew right from the moment I set the hook it was something huge,” Thurman said, adding he initially suspected the catch was a shark or amber jack.
Ian Bubble with Down the Bayou Charters lifting the giant grouper. Buzbee said the catch came in the middle of the trip. Thurman said during the fight, he had a rush of adrenaline, but he still almost gave the rod to someone else to finish the job until he looked down again.
“About 15 feet from the boat it rolled over, and I knew it was a grouper because of the large mouth and huge paddle tail. As soon as the grouper was brought aboard the boat, Thurman said Bubble radioed another captain and crew a few miles away and told them a state record had been broken.
Thurman said the entire experience proved to be memorable, including the trip to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries office in Borg to certify the catch. In the back of my truck I have this fish in a hundred-gallon tub and it’s covered in cardboard.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council would like to gain a better understanding of what’s happening on the water. All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation.
Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast. Gulf state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles.
Atlantic state waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles. Participation mandatory to fish for grouper in Florida waters.
Expand All | Collapse All 1 gag or black within the 3 grouper aggregate Note: In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require hooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.
Several species of Gulf grouper (red, black, scamp, yellow fin and yellow mouth) are closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom break. Recreational anglers are encouraged to use electronic charting equipment to plot the 20-fathom break by entering the established coordinates listed on the map below into a route.
Monroe County: Several species of Atlantic grouper (red, black, yellow fin, yellow mouth, scamp, rock hind, red hind, Coney and grays by) are closed Jan. 1 – April 30 in all state and federal waters of the Atlantic including all state waters off Monroe County (Atlantic and Gulf sides). During this closure, anglers can harvest grouper in open federal waters of the Gulf and return to port in Monroe County by traveling through closed state waters of the Atlantic as long as the vessel proceeds directly to port without stopping to fish.
A fishery may close when the quota or annual catch limit is projected to be reached, sign up for fishery bulletins and text messages. NOTE: Species not listed do not currently have federal seasonal closures or quotas but states may regulate vessels registered in that state and fishing in federal waters for species that do not have applicable federal regulations, or for which management has been delegated to the state.
(3) As of April 30, 2018, the recreational Greater Amber jack fishing year was modified to be August 1 through July 31 and the fixed closed season was modified to be November 1 through April 30 and June 1 through July 31. (4) This summary is intended to provide appropriate information to fishermen about fishing regulations in the Gulf of Mexico.
(5)This list will redirect to the Fish Rules app, web-based version. The FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) manages the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean differently, and it’s important to know what’s in season and what you can harvest from each shoreline.
The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities. The Gulf covers most of Florida’s west coast, from Pensacola in the Panhandle to the start of the Everglades at the tip of the peninsula.
This is important to keep in mind as there are different regulations for what’s in season and what you can harvest depending on if you’re in state or federal waters. For Gag Grouper fishing in the Gulf, it’s important to note what county you’re embarking from.
For counties of Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson (in the Panhandle area from Apalachicola to Steinhatchee) there is open season in state waters from April 1 to June 30, and again from September 1 to December 31. Black, Red, Scamp, Yellow fin and Yellow mouth Grouper all have similar regulations in the Gulf.
It’s open season in both state and federal waters for Rock Hind, Coney, Yellow edge and Snowy Groupers. You can ask your charter captain if the size you have is a keeper or not; or refer to the FCC regulations to make sure you’re staying compliant.
Now moving east to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean where there are excellent opportunities for grouper fishing. Keep in mind, the FCC considers the Everglades and Florida Keys as part of the Atlantic Ocean waters, and all fishing done in these areas must stay within Atlantic-specific regulations.
From the Florida Keys to Jacksonville, anglers have hundreds of cities to choose from to launch your grouper expedition. The real question is, what subspecies of grouper you’ll find at the end of your line.
East Coast anglers should mark your calendars for May 1, this is when Gag Grouper and Black Grouper season opens from the Keys to Duval County (Jacksonville area). Honestly, that’s why there are regulations in place, so that this incredible species is not overfished and the population stays healthy.