With billions of dollars contributing to the economy each year and millions of anglers throughout North America, recreational fishing may very well be the most popular pasttime on the continent. None of this would be possible, however, if there weren’t strict rules in place that ensured the future of this great sport. Below you’ll find links to fishing regulations for all the states, provinces, and territories in The United States and Canada. Be sure to always check the fishing regulations for your area before heading out to fish!
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Why Do We Have Fishing Regulations?
It’s quite simple – without rules for fishing, the quality and quantity of fish will fall dramatically. Fishing used to be about eating what you catch, but with so many anglers out there, coupled with advancement in technology, it’s an unsustainable resource.
Can you imagine if you went to fish one day and all the fish were gone?
Even without regulations, recreational fishing does not pose as large a threat to fish populations as commercial fishing, but it still contributes. For this reason, the mindset has changed – anglers tend to be among the most conservation-oriented of all citizens, and the desire to keep the sport of fishing alive and well for generations to come is a major priority. Catch-and-release fishing has skyrocketed in popularity, and limiting what anglers can harvest means fish populations are much easier to keep in check.
How Do I Find Out The Fishing Regulations Where I Plan To Fish?
One of the first things that you should always do when you plan to fish in a new area is learn about what types of regulations are in place. Those who are going to be fishing on Lake Erie, for example, will want to know the Lake Erie fishing regulations. This is because there may be different national, state or local laws that need to be followed. There are often specific protections that can affect when we fish. You may need to know if there are particular seasons when a certain type of fishing is or is not allowed. You may need to find out if there are particular rules governing what sort of equipment is allowed.
In general, always check the regulations first. Check out the links above for fishing regulations in your state or province. Every place is different, so don’t assume that because you’re allowed to do something in your home state you’re free to do it in another state.
Do Fishing Regulations Apply For Every Kind Of Fish?
Generally speaking, yes, there will be different regulations which affect different types of fish, so it is crucial to get to know these for the area that you plan to fish. Remember, start by getting the regulations for your specific area and then check into the particular fish species.
Trout fishing regulations are going to be a little bit different than salmon fishing regulations, even though both of these fish are commonly found in North American rivers. Many times, salmon will be limited in the number you can catch, like certain species of trout, but since salmon are an ocean going fish species they are often more carefully regulated.
When it comes to freshwater fishing regulations, obviously there will be protections made for certain types of fish that are a primary source of revenue for certain local economies. Bass fishing regulations are a standard part of prime fishing lakes in the southern US and many other top bass fishing locations. These sportfishing regulations are crucial to conserving the local bass populations, which often serve as key parts of the local economy during tourist seasons and also for tournament purposes.
What Happens if We Violate Fishing Regulations?
The penalty for being caught violating a fishing law can vary and it is dependent upon the nature of the crime. Sometimes a small fine is charged, but other times one may be stripped of their right to fish or have their equipment – and even boat – confiscated and may have to pay a hefty fine. There are certain fishing crimes that can involve court hearings and potential sentences for community service or even jail time. Severe felonies are definitely possible for those violating the Endangered Species Act and similar laws, as well.
Please take fishing regulations seriously to help us all preserve this sport we love.
Do Fishing Regulations Ever Change?
Yes, they do. Fishing regulations can change from one year to the next, and in the case of saltwater fisheries like red snapper in the Gulf, can change several times over the course of a season. Never assume, always verify.