Everything You Need to Know About Red Snapper Season 2021

What Is a Red Snapper?

man holding giant red snapper

Red snapper is one of the most highly sought after game fish in the Gulf of Mexico, and for good reason - they’re a blast to catch and delicious to eat (and they look awesome in pictures). Red snapper can be found greater than 50 feet deep and you’ll find them in reefs and by offshore rigs in the Gulf - every guide has their own little honey holes that they mark as having countless snapper. Red Snapper can also reach pretty substantial sizes; they can be 40 inches long and up to 50 pounds - no joke to bring up from the depths!!

Red snapper are a pleasure to catch, but this lead to overfishing from the end of World War II to the mid 1990’s due to a combination of increased commercial action and better access to boats for recreational anglers. A fishery rebuilding plan was implemented in 2005 with the goal of building the red snapper population back up by 2032 (the plan is working, by the way). This includes catch limits and specific fishing seasons, and means the red snapper season is the most limited (and sought after) of the species in the gulf.

Read on below for more info on the upcoming season.

What Is the 2021 Red Snapper Season?

two old men holding up big red snapper

What Is the Difference Between State and Federal Waters?

State waters and federal waters differ in terms of regulations (which can mean different seasons, different bag limits, and different size limits), so it can be crucial to know where you stand. Across most of the U.S., state waters extend to 3 nautical miles (1 nautical mile is just slightly over a normal mile), but in the Gulf of Mexico state waters are extended a little further, to 9 nautical miles. This means that for Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Gulf Coast of Florida, a recreational angler can head out 9 nautical miles and still fall under state regulations.

As mentioned above these boundaries will impact what an angler can catch and when, but this difference also has a big impact on guides - federal guiding permits in the Gulf of Mexico can be particularly hard to obtain (and more expensive). New permits haven’t been issues since 2003, which means the total number of guides is capped and guides need to purchase these permits from other captains. Federal waters are better for fishing, but finding a guide who is able to take you out to federal waters can be tricky with the limits on permits.

group standing with tons of red snapper on the dock

Gulf of Mexico 2021 Federal Red Snapper Season

The federal red snapper season for 2021 has not been announced yet, but anglers can expect some news early in the summer. While there are no concrete dates yet, it is expected that the season will once again be fairly short and fairly limited. The 2020 federal red snapper season was 62 days long for chartered trips and 63 days for private trips.

Alabama State 2021 Red Snapper Season

While the 2021 Alabama red snapper season has not been announced yet, the 2020 Alabama red snapper season ran every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from May 22-July 3. We can expect the 2021 red snapper season to be similar.

Louisiana State 2021 Red Snapper Season

While the 2021 Alabama red snapper season has not been announced yet, the 2020 Louisiana red snapper season ran every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from May 22 until the recreational quota was met. We can expect the 2021 red snapper season to be similar.

Mississippi State 2021 Red Snapper Season

While the 2021 Alabama red snapper season has not been announced yet, the 2020 Mississippi red snapper season ran every day from May 22 until the recreational quota was met. We can expect the 2021 red snapper season to be similar.

Florida State 2021 Red Snapper Season

While the 2021 Alabama red snapper season has not been announced yet, the 2020 Florida red snapper season (on the Gulf side) ran from June 11-July 25, October 17-October 18, October 24-October 25, October 31-November 1. We can expect the 2021 red snapper season to be similar.

Texas State 2021 Red Snapper Season

The 2020 Texas red snapper season ran year-round. We can expect the 2021 red snapper season to be similar.

While state red snapper seasons are longer than the federal season, there are definitely limits. Here’s to hoping the 2021 and 2022 red snapper seasons are a little longer!

What Is the 2021 Red Snapper Limit?

Men holding up a big red snapper

Gulf of Mexico 2021 Federal Red Snapper Limit

The 2020 red snapper limit in federal waters for recreational anglers was 2 per person per day over 16 inches, for a total of 7,399,000 pounds of recreational fish over the season, split between for-hire and private trips. Once those limits are reached, the season ends. If quotas aren’t reached, there is always the chance the season is extended. We can expect the 2021 red snapper limit for federal water to be similar.

Alabama State 2021 Red Snapper Limit

The 2020 Alabama daily red snapper bag limit was 2 fish per angler (not including the guide or crew) at 16 inches minimum. We can expect the 2021 red snapper limit to be similar.

Louisiana State 2021 Red Snapper Limit

The 2020 Louisiana daily red snapper bag limit was 2 fish per angler (not including the guide or crew) at 16 inches minimum. We can expect the 2021 red snapper limit to be similar.

Mississippi State 2021 Red Snapper Limit

The 2020 Mississippi daily red snapper bag limit was 2 fish per angler (not including the guide or crew) at 16 inches minimum. We can expect the 2021 red snapper limit to be similar.

Florida State 2021 Red Snapper Limit

The 2020 Florida daily red snapper bag limit was 2 fish per angler (not including the guide or crew) at 16 inches minimum. We can expect the 2021 red snapper limit to be similar.

Texas State 2021 Red Snapper Limit

The 2020 Texas daily red snapper bag limit was 4 fish per angler (not including the guide or crew) at 15 inches minimum. We can expect the 2021 red snapper limit to be similar.

man holding large red snapper

Where Can I Catch Red Snapper Near Me And What Red Snapper Guide Should I Use?

Because of catch limits and the shortened season, red snapper fishing is hard to come by - there are only a few guides licensed to head out to federal waters, there are only a few days a year to head out, and the season can be further shortened if catch limits are reached early. This means if you want to go fishing for red snapper you need to book a guide further in advance than you normally might for another fishing trip.

Group of people fishing holding up red snappers

The Best Alabama 2021 Red Snapper Charters and Guides

Check out some of the top Captain Experiences red snapper charters in Alabama below, or search all red snapper trips in Alabama here.

The Best Louisiana 2021 Red Snapper Charters and Guides

Check out some of the top Captain Experiences red snapper charters in Louisiana below, or search all red snapper trips in Louisiana here.

The Best Mississippi 2021 Red Snapper Charters and Guides

Check out some of the top Captain Experiences red snapper charters in Mississippi below, or search all red snapper trips in Mississippi here.

The Best Florida 2021 Red Snapper Charters and Guides

Check out some of the top Captain Experiences red snapper charters in Florida below, or search all red snapper trips in Florida here.

The Best Texas 2021 Red Snapper Charters and Guides

Check out some of the top Captain Experiences red snapper charters in Texas below, or search all red snapper trips in Texas here.

man holding up red snapper on back of boat in gulf