If you haven’t already, it’s time to buy your resident basic fishing license for 2020-21.
With the Atchafalaya Basin settling to a fishable level within the next two weeks and the 67th annual Iberia Rod & Gun Club Saltwater Fishing Rodeo just around the corner starting July 3, Louisiana’s anglers can fish legally next month when and if they remember to get another license.
Renew your resident basic fishing license before July 1 and you’ll be good to go for the fiscal year. After June 30, though, that current resident basic fishing license you have in your wallet, boat glovebox or saved in your cell phone will be an expired license.
And if the past 2 ½ months are an indication, there will be beaucoup licenses sold before this month ends. Resident basic fishing license sales are going through the proverbial roof in the Sportsman’s Paradise.
More and more men and women bought licenses in March, April and May, starting March 23 when Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a stay-at-home order that included coronavirus pandemic restrictions on the number of people in a group and required social distancing of at least 6 feet. Plus, people working at home, suddenly without employment, and/or needed to just get away chose to get on the water and wet a line.
The spike began in March when 28,800 basic fishing licenses were sold compared to 20,550 in March 2019, according to a news releases May 21 from the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Also in March, LDWF sold 15,162 saltwater licenses compared to 12,995 last March.
April was unbelievable, too, considering purchases of basic fishing licenses and saltwater fishing licenses far exceeded sales for the previous three Aprils. In April, residents paid for 39,702 basic fishing licenses compared to 18,901 in April 2019, a 53-percent increase! Also in April, 21,000 saltwater licenses were sold compared to 13,771 in April 2019.
LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said in a prepared statement at the time, “This is fantastic that our residents decided that Louisiana’s Sportsman’s Paradise is where they wanted to spend some time during the pandemic. It’s no secret that fishing is in our blood, but we have been pulled away due to so many competing activities. The stay-at-home order showed that when given the time, Louisianans will choose to fish.”
Montoucet was hopeful the trend would continue in the coming months and it did in May, without a doubt and with an exclamation point to boot. A spokesman for the state agency followed through on a request from a local outdoors writer and updated the numbers Friday afternoon for May.
They were just as or more eye-opening than March and April. There were 29,512 basic fishing licenses and 22,027 saltwater fishing licenses sold in May for a total of 51,539 compared to 18,537 and 19,729 for a total of 38,266 in May 2019.
And here we are in late June, the last month licenses are valid for 2019-20.
There are a few different ways people can purchase or renew their resident fishing license.
One of the most popular is to go to https://la-web.s3licensing.com/Home. Buying the permit that way allows you to have a copy of your license emailed to you, which means you can save a digital copy on your mobile device with no need to carry a printed copy. Acceptable methods of payments online are with Visa, Master Card and Discover.
Licenses also can be purchased at a one of many designated local vendors and at the LDWF office in Baton Rouge.
If you need assistance with your online purchase, call the 24-hour help desk at 888-362-5393. If you have other licensing questions, call the license office at 225-765-2887 or 225-765-2897 between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.