Since 9 nautical miles became Louisiana’s official state waters boundary in 2016, red snapper anglers fishing near that mythical line offshore always had cause for concern about the possibility of being ticketed by game wardens and having their catch taken away.
Now, a website linked through the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries removes doubts on which rigs in which blocks are legal — and illegal — during the state red snapper season that started last month and will continue until further notice.
The website identifies rigs across the coast, and shows each rig in state waters as a red dot, while rigs in green dots lie in federal waters beyond 9 nautical miles.
Grand Isle angler Tommy Vidrine said his friend Buckley Kessler found the resource online and showed him the little known site last year.
“He said, ‘Look at this. Check this out!’ And I saved it that day to my favorites,” Vidrine said. “That was the best thing I did.”
The site’s address begins with ldwf.maps, but it’s difficult to locate the map on the department’s official website. However, a member of the department confirmed to LouisianaSportsman.com that the information on the site was accurate.
“It gives you the security of knowing you’re fishing in the right block without a game warden pulling up and giving you a ticket or taking your fish,” Vidrine said. “And the confidence that you’re in the right location, so if a game warden does, you can challenge them instead of laying down and taking a ticket.”
When you click on a rig, a box appears showing the rig number and block ID — as well as if it is located in state or federal waters, so fishermen can verify if they’re at a legal location.
But Vidrine cautioned anglers heading out of Grand Isle toward Venice about crossing through federal waters on your return trip.
“If you’re in the 105s, those are legal toward Venice and they have some good fishing there,” he said. “But if you’re going back to Grand Isle, you could cut across federal waters, and if they catch you there with snapper, they’re going to take them. It is a shorter run, but you almost have to make an ‘L’ and go up and over if you want to get back to Grand Isle.”
Vidrine, who details the website in a Facebook video he posted earlier this week, said he wanted to make sure everyone knew about it so they could fish worry free.
“Now they can go out stress free and enjoy the resources the Lord has given us,” he said. “It’s only two snapper apiece, so if you’re going to spend all that money, catch your two and don’t worry about law enforcement.”
Offshore anglers are reminded that they must have a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to possess red snapper. You can obtain or renew the permit for free by clicking here.
Minors under 16 are not required to obtain a ROLP. Customers on a paid-for-hire charter trip also do not need a permit.