From hunting and fishing to hiking and biking—Louisiana's Playground is your prime destination for outdoor adventure all year long! In the summer months, crabbing is a beloved pastime for outdoorsmen of all ages. Nothing compares to the delicious taste and thrill of catching fresh Louisiana Blue Crab. Southwest Louisiana is home to numerous hot spots, many of which are found along the Creole Nature Trail-All American Road.

Grab Your Gear

The best part about crabbing is its simplicity and affordability! Before embarking on your trip, visit Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point or the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center— free attractions with immersive exhibits highlighting the best parts of Southwest Louisiana. You'll also want to stop at a convenience store or fuel station to purchase your supplies.

Options are limited the further you travel along the Creole Nature Trail, so be sure to grab everything you need before setting up in your crabbing spot. If you plan to crab on the east side of the trail, visit Grab N' Geaux or Chesson's Grocery. If you've chosen a location on the west side of the trail, visit Brown's Grocery or Bayak's Country Store located closer to the Gulf. These locations offer delicious meals, snacks, drinks, and a great selection of the supplies.

Supplies You'll Need:

  • Thick cotton string or crab twine
  • Dip nets
  • Crab bait (raw turkey necks, chicken legs, cut fish, or meat chunks work best)
  • Bucket and Ice Chest
  • Louisiana Crabbing License
  • Scissors or a knife

If you're crabbing during the long, hot summer months you'll want to pack a few more items to make your trip pleasant. Mosquito repellant and sunscreen will keep you bite-free and help you avoid sunburn. Close-toed shoes will protect you from runaway crabs and rubber boots allow you to step into shallow water without wetting your socks.

Supplies You'll Want:

  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat-visor, ballcap, bucket hat
  • Closed-toe shoes (preferably rubber boots)
  • Snacks and water
  • Chairs
  • Latex gloves
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes
  • Plastic or metal tongs (for transferring crabs from bucket to ice chest)

Plan Your Trip

Crabbing in Southwest Louisiana requires an updated hook and line crabbing license or a saltwater fishing license. These can be purchased online and conveniently set to auto-renew for frequent fishermen! Once you've purchased your license you'll want to pick the perfect spot.

Crabs are usually active along the numerous small bridges that cross roadside canals. If you'd like to stay closer to the city, visit Prien Lake Park or the Lakefront Promenade. If you plan to embark on the Creole Nature Trail, then recreation areas like Blue Crab Recreation Area and Price Lake Road (Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge)are the best locations to safely pull off the road and set up camp.

Plan to drive out early in the morning for a full day or later in the evening for a sunset adventure. The best crabbing is done when the water is actively moving, but without an extreme current. To catch the largest crabs plan your trip on the days leading up to a full moon when they're sure to be well-fed!

Crabbing 101

Once you've found the canal, bayou, or waterway of your choice, park and unload your supplies. Be sure to grab everything you'll need to avoid multiple trips to your vehicle. Next, you'll want to tie your bait to your string or twine. Any kind of raw meat will do, but the bones in turkey necks or chicken thighs are easiest to attach to string.

Once you've secured your bait, grab your drop net and tie the bait to the net. If you're crabbing from a small bridge and only using string or twine, try to find a nail, post, or rock to tie your string around. Next, you'll gently lower your bait or dip net into the water until you reach the bottom.

Watch for gentle tugs and when you see movement grab your dip net— and extra help! Gently begin removing the bait from the water and use your net to grab any crabs that are hanging on. Remove the crabs from the net by grabbing them just beneath their claws. Toss them into the bucket and repeat until you've reached your limit of a dozen crabs per person.

Finishing Up

Once you've reached your limit of crabs, grab your tongs and transfer the crabs from the bucket to your ice chest. Once all the crabs are transferred, shut your ice chest completely so that they can't escape. Make sure that you've gathered all the materials you brought in and properly dispose of them in the nearest trash receptacle.

If you'd rather leave the catching to the professionals, you can still indulge in guaranteed fresh seafood from local favorites like Coconuts Cajun Grill in DeQuincy, LeBleu's Landing Seafood and Oyster Bar in Sulphur, or Mr. Bill's Seafood Express in Lake Charles. Don't forget to take plenty of pictures and capture the wonderful memories made in Louisiana's Playground. For more outdoor activity inspiration check out the crabbing page and other things to do on the Creole Nature Trail.