For the purposes of regulating certain fisheries the legislature recognized the historic division of the state into saltwater and freshwater areas based on the variations of flora and fauna found within these two divisions. The legislature further recognized that the exact line of demarcation cannot be precisely located due to constant changes in water salinity caused by winds, tides, and rains. The legislature therefore legally defined the freshwater and saltwater areas by describing a line from the Texas state line, easterly to the Mississippi state line. The areas south of the described line, plus a number of saltwater lakes and waterways, were designated as saltwater areas and all other areas north of the described line were designated as freshwater areas.
Louisiana Saltwater Line Definition
Title 56, Section 322-The Intracoastal waterway from the Texas- Louisiana boundary to its junction with Louisiana Highway 27 at Gibbstown, and then south to Louisiana Highway 82 and then east to its junction with the Intracoastal Waterway at Forked Island, the Intracoastal Waterway from Forked Island to Bayou Barataria to the Harvey Canal, the Harvey Canal to the Mississippi River, the Mississippi River to the Industrial Canal, the Industrial Canal to the Intracoastal Waterway, the Intracoastal Waterway to the Rigolets in Orleans Parish to the Louisville & Nashville Railroad bridge, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad right-of-way from the Orleans Parish line to the Mississippi state line.
The areas south of the above described line, plus the saltwater lakes known as Lake Maurepas, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake St. Catherine, Chef Menteur Pass (except that seven- tenths of a mile section from Bayou Sauvage south to the Intracoastal Waterway), the Rigolets, Unknown Pass, Pass Manchac, Intracoastal, and that portion of the Calcasieu Ship Channel from the Intracoastal Waterway south to the Gulf of Mexico, shall be designated as saltwater areas.
Persons fishing and/or possessing saltwater fish in these areas are required to have in addition to the basic fishing license a saltwater fishing license.
Federal Waters (EEZ)
A very easy way to tell if you are in state or federal waters is to pull up to the nearest platform. If the platform is in state waters it will have a placard with a State Lease Number. If the platform is in federal waters it will be designated with an OCS number. By utilizing a block map you can alsoestimate your position. The platform will be designated with an area and block number. For instance if you see ST-128 X, OCS 00498 you will be in federal waters at South Timbalier 128 platform X.