Senate Passes Bill to Make Catfish Noodling Legal in Louisiana
Okay, hold on just a minute. Like my Uncle Gary has always told me, "Don't get your wagon ahead of the mule."
I know exactly what you are thinking. What do you mean, "making catfish noodling legal in Louisiana?" Isn't it already legal?
Actually, it is one of those Catch-22 issues. While noodling, or catching catfish by hand, isn't listed as "illegal" in Louisiana, it's not listed as a "legal" means of taking catfish either.
According to eregulations.com, these are the "legal" means for taking freshwater fish in Louisiana.
- Hook and Line
- Bow and Arrow
- Yo-yos or Trigger Devices
- Recreational Slat Traps
- Recreational Crawfish Traps (must be marked with a waterproof tag, provided by the fisherman, with the name and recreational gear license number of the fisherman legibly printed on the tag, and must have a minimum mesh size of a hexagon of 3/4 by 11/16 of 1 inch from wire to wire not including any coating on the wire)
- Standard Spearing Equipment (used by recreational skin divers submerged in water when sport fishing)
- Barbed Gig (allowed in saltwater for taking flounder ONLY)
- Recreational Hoop Nets*
- Recreational Wire Nets*
* Allowed only in the geographical areas of the state designated as Freshwater (see map and definition on General Information).
See, it's not listed as "legal" to grab catfish by hand, even though we all know scores of people who do it. Well, it's Louisiana Representative Jack McFarland's mission to change that, and it appears he only has one more hurdle to jump before it's law in the Bayou State.
House Bill 419 Making Noodling Legal Passed The Senate Unanimously
In a story from thecenterquare.com, we see that the Louisiana Senate has just unanimously approved House Bill 419, to allow for hand-grabbing catfish and the taking of bream in minnow traps.
Acknowledging that taking catfish by hand was already practiced, though not declared legal, in Louisiana, McFarland gave other Senators a little insight into the practice, saying "There are many people who go to not only sunken logs, or people will sink barrels, anything a catfish will bed up in, broken concrete up in the levies, any of that."
The Senator Said Something Most All Of Us Were Already Thinking
Senator Sharon Hewitt of Slidell, jokingly replied something most all of us can relate to regarding the practice, "But then you got to stick your hand … you don’t know where your hand is going exactly, right? I’m not sure I’m quite brave enough to do that now, just thinking through it all."
The bill passed without amendments and now awaits the Governor's signature to become law.
I have to thank a friend of mine for his take on the issue. He told me that by making this a "legal" form of fishing, they can now require those who catch fish by hand to have a valid Louisiana fishing license. You know, he might be on to something.
If you've never seen how "noodling" is done, just watch as Hannah Barron shows all you need to know.