It is almost time to fill your coolers with red snapper! The 2021 season begins on May 28 in both state and federal waters and will remain open until landings approach or reach Louisiana’s annual private recreational allocation of 832,493 pounds.
Fishing is limited Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, plus two Mondays, Memorial Day (May 31) and Labor Day (Sept. 6). The daily creel limit is two fish per person, and there is a 16-inch total length minimum size limit.
Red snapper is an important resource for residents of Louisiana, who love the thrill of the catch and the taste of good fish, to say nothing of the many families who depend on the influx of recreational fishermen to earn a living.
Because snapper is such an important part of what makes Louisiana the Sportsman’s Paradise, federal and state regulations are often the source of much grumbling when they are released annually. In particular, the two fish creel limit remains controversial.
“I wish I could get the person responsible for (quotas) out of their office and onto my boat and show them the amount of snapper and fish that we have down here; it’s incredible,” said one fishermen, who requested anonymity.
Time to book a trip
Despite unhappiness with the bag limit, most fishermen are ready to welcome the opportunities that snapper season brings.
“June and July are normally booked solid for snapper trips,” said Katie Duplass of Pelican Charters in Venice. “Even when tuna is tough, you can always count on big snappers to come in.”
Duplass is one of many fishermen happy with the length of the 2021 season.
“At least we get two months to fish them this year,” she said. “I remember a couple of years ago, we only got a week or two.”
Below are the 2021 red snapper regulations.
Resident and Non-Resident Recreational Anglers:
- 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. Anglers can obtain a ROLP via the ROLP website or smartphone application (Google Play or iTunes). Once you have registered, save an electronic copy on your mobile device, or print a copy of your ROLP indicating your valid ROLP and carry it on your person along with applicable licenses while fishing offshore.
State For-Hire Charter Vessels:
- State for-hire charter captains (those who do not have a federal Gulf of Mexico charter/headboat permit for reef fish) are not allowed to fish in federal waters.
- May only fish for red snapper in state waters (within the 9 nautical mile state water boundary), when the Louisiana recreational red snapper season is open.
Federal For-Hire Charter Vessels:
- Vessels with federal reef fish for-hire permits will remain under federal regulations and may only fish during federally established seasons.
- May only fish in federal waters during the 63-day federal for-hire season from June 1 through August 3, 2021
- If a federal for-hire charter captain also holds a Louisiana charter license, he/she may also fish state waters only when the federal for-hire charter season overlaps with the Louisiana season.
The 2021 Red Snapper regulations are posted in their entirety on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website, www.wlf.la.gov.