Louisiana is well-known for its crabs, especially blue crabs. They may be caught using dip or cast nets, legal crab traps, trotline, hoop net, trawl, bushline, crab dropnet or handline. Some areas may have restrictions to certain methods, so it's important to check with the area Wildlife and Fisheries Office. It's also a good idea to consult knowledgeable people in a specific area before crabbing.
The state of Louisiana requires crabbers to possess a license for fresh and saltwater fishing. Additionally, if you plan to go crabbing with a crab trap, you will need to get a crab trap gear license. While the daily limit is 12 dozen, or 144 crabs per person, there is no size limit on blue crabs. However, it is a violation to catch a female crab in "berry state," that is, carrying eggs or with young crabs attached to her abdomen. These females must be returned to the water immediately.
Bonnet Carre Spillway
The Bonnet Carre Spillway, west of New Orleans off Highway 61, is an excellent area for canoe crabbing. Commercial crabbers do not enter this particular area, and consequently, the point at which the spillway and the lake meet is usually teeming with crabs.
Creole Nature Trail
The Creole Nature Trail affords the crabber an opportunity to capture the fabled Louisiana blue crab. Famous for their taste, blue crabs are usually easy to catch and make for an enjoyable family outing. The best time of the year to catch the blue crabs is May to September. Along the Creole Nature Trail, any one of the many bridges can prove to be a prime crabbing spot. Generally, people tie crab bait -- chunks of meat, turkey, chicken or fish -- to a line and drop it into the water. When the crab takes it, slowly pull the line up with a net ready to catch the crab.
Grand Isle, a barrier island between Caminada Pass and Barataria Pass, attracts crabbers to its beach, especially in hotter months. One popular crabbing technique is to drive two stakes into the sea bottom about 20 feet apart. Stretched between the stakes is a length of heavy string with drop lines about 2 feet long spaced every three feet. Bait is attached to the bottom of each drop line. After five to 20 minutes, each line is carefully withdrawn from the water, and a net is at the ready to catch the crab. The captured crabs are dumped into a cooler of ice.
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