Most states require that you have an angling license before you can fish. You can usually purchase a license at your local bait and tackle shop or online through your state's Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) website. Once you have your license, make sure to read the fine print. The regulations may be listed on your license. Otherwise, you'll need to look them via your state's DFW website.
Pay attention to the fishing season. In many states, the fishing season is closed for certain fish during specific times of the year. This is to protect the fish population and allow them to spawn. If you fish during the closed season, you could be subject to a fine.
Size and Bag Limits
Size and catch limits are also important to pay attention to. Each state has different limits on the size and number of fish that you can keep. Some species may also have an allocation as to the total number of fish that may be removed from the species population. Regulation officials estimate these numbers by stopping people at the boat ramp, and when this number is reached, they shut fishing down for the given species. These limits are in place to protect the fish population. If you keep more fish than the allocated bag limit, you could be fined.
Location Specific Regulations
Many bodies of water also have their own special regulations. These regulations are usually in place to protect a certain species of fish that is known to live in that body of water and may be endangered.
Some bodies of water also have specific requirements such as requiring barbless hooks or using specific baits.
Pay attention to these regulations so that you don't accidentally catch a fish that is protected or by using the wrong gear!
Time Of Day
In some areas, fishing may not be allowed after dusk. In Oregon, fishing for trout, steelhead, salmon, shad, sturgeon, and whitefish must be done during daylight hours and is defined as one hour before, and one hours after dark.
Learning your local fishing regulations is important for both the fish population and for your wallet. Make sure to get a fishing license and look for designated seasons, size and catch limits, bait and tackle requirements, and times of day. Also, be aware of any special regulations that are in place for certain bodies of water. By following the regulations, you can help to protect the fish population and avoid costly fines.