Snapper Season is HERE! What you need to know

Known as “Red Snapper capital of the World,” Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are the best place to find these remarkable fish. As the warm breeze of late spring heralds the arrival of summer, the coastal town of Gulf Shores, Alabama, comes alive with excitement and anticipation. This year, the 2024 Snapper Season kicked off on May 24th, 2024, drawing anglers from across the nation to experience the thrill of reeling in one of the Gulf’s most prized catches: the red snapper. With its emerald green waters, vibrant marine life, and welcoming community, Gulf Shores is the perfect destination for both seasoned fishermen and newcomers alike.

A Tradition of Excellence

The snapper season in Gulf Shores is more than just a fishing event; it’s a tradition steeped in the rich maritime heritage of the Gulf Coast. Known for its bountiful waters and ideal fishing conditions, Gulf Shores has long been a favorite spot for snapper fishing. Each year, the season brings together locals and visitors, creating a sense of camaraderie and shared excitement.

Key Dates and Regulations

The season will consist of four-day weekends, Friday through Monday, beginning Friday, May 24, and continue until the private angler quota is projected to be met. Additionally, the entire week that includes Independence Day (July 1-5) will be open for red snapper fishing. Here are the rules:

  • Bag Limits: Anglers are allowed to catch a maximum of two red snappers per day.
  • Size Limits: Each snapper must be at least 16 inches in length.
  • Permit Requirements: Anglers 16 years of age and older must have an Alabama saltwater fishing license (resident or non-resident, annual or trip), and any Alabama resident 65 or older or a lifetime saltwater license holder must have a current saltwater angler registration. The saltwater angler registration is free and available at
  • The owner or operator of each vessel landing red snapper in Alabama is required by law to complete one landing report per vessel trip of their harvested red snapper through Snapper Check prior to removing the fish from the boat or the boat with the fish being removed from the water. All landed red snapper are required to be reported prior to landing regardless of the jurisdiction in which the fish were caught. Greater amberjack and gray triggerfish are also required to be reported when the season is open and must be reported in Snapper Check.
  • Red snapper caught from non-powered vessels, piers and the shoreline are required to be reported through Snapper Check and require a Conservation ID number,
  • A landing report may be submitted through Snapper Check in the Outdoor AL app, which is available from Apple and Android stores or online at

Obtaining Your Fishing License

Before you can cast your line into the Gulf’s waters, it’s essential to have the proper fishing licenses. Here’s what you need and how to get it:

  1. Alabama Saltwater Fishing License: This license is required for all anglers fishing in Alabama’s saltwater territories. It ensures that the state can manage and conserve its marine resources effectively.
  2. Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement: In addition to the saltwater fishing license, you’ll need a Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement. This endorsement is specifically for fishing reef fish species, including red snapper.

How to Obtain Your License:

  • Online: The easiest way to get your fishing licenses is through the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website. Simply visit Outdoor Alabama, navigate to the fishing license section, and follow the prompts to purchase and print your license and endorsement.
  • In-Person: Licenses are also available at various authorized retailers, including local bait and tackle shops, sporting goods stores, and marinas in Gulf Shores. These vendors can provide both the saltwater fishing license and the Gulf Reef Fish Endorsement.
  • By Phone: You can purchase a license over the phone by calling the ADCNR at 1-888-848-6887. Operators will guide you through the process, and you can receive a temporary license number until your physical license arrives.

Preparing for the Season

As the season approaches, local bait and tackle shops, charter services, and marinas in Gulf Shores are gearing up to provide everything needed for a successful fishing trip. Here are some tips to make the most of your snapper fishing adventure:

  1. Book a Charter: For those new to snapper fishing or looking to enhance their experience, booking a charter is a great option. Experienced captains know the best spots and provide all necessary equipment, ensuring a productive day on the water.
  2. Gear Up: Make sure you have the right gear. Rods, reels, and tackle specifically designed for snapper fishing can make a significant difference. Local shops offer a range of options and expert advice.
  3. Know the Waters: Understanding the local waters and habitats of red snapper can improve your catch rate. These fish are often found near artificial reefs and structures on the seabed, so focusing your efforts in these areas is key.
  4. Stay Informed: Keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts and sea conditions. Safety is paramount, and being prepared for changes in the weather can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

The 2024 Snapper Season in Gulf Shores, Alabama, promises to be an unforgettable experience for all who participate. With its stunning coastal beauty, rich fishing heritage, and commitment to sustainable practices, Gulf Shores stands out as a premier destination for snapper fishing enthusiasts. So, dust off your fishing gear, gather your friends and family, and head to Gulf Shores for an adventure that celebrates the joy of fishing and the natural splendor of the Gulf Coast. Happy fishing!