Fishing Rules And Regulations

What are the rules of fishingFishing is a sport that many can enjoy and get involved in, but in order to keep it that way it is super important to follow a few basic rules. The most important conceptual rule to remember when you go fishing, no matter where you are, is to be respectful of others' space. Fishing follows a first come first serve principle, so if you see someone else is already in the space you wanted, no worries, either ask if you can share or wait your turn by finding a new space until they have finished.

The other most important guideline to follow when fishing is to be respectful of where you are fishing, and to take care of your surroundings and the nature which allows the practice of fishing. Without mother nature we would not be able to enjoy the sport, so it is extremely important to give back by picking up any garbage left around for example.

Lastly, it is crucial to follow the catch and release guidelines, and to make sure you aren’t killing any fish outside of the location specific regulations.

Competition Guidelines

There are a few aspects of fishing competitions that everyone should be aware about before they enter. For the most part, unless otherwise stated, anyone who wants to participate in the competition is allowed to. That being said if you have your own boat that’s a plus, but you can always rent one for that particular event. Depending on the event, either motor reliant boats are allowed, or only man made power is allowed. For example in some fishing locations only kayaks, canoe, or row boats are allowed to be used in the water.

Because most fishing competitions either allow you to keep the fish you catch, or give it different amounts of money and prizes to the winners of the competition, there is typically a fee to enter the competition. The fees vary from competition to competitions, but typically a small fee is collected by each individual participant in order to cover costs for the set up of the competition as well as the gear or participation gift that is given out. 

Location Rules

One important factor when it comes to both the rules of fishing and the success of a fishing trip is the location. Location is everything in fishing because it will determine whether or not there are even fish available to be caught. It is crucial to respect other fisherman and property owners when you are looking for the perfect fishing spot. In order to respect all parties involved, you must begin by making sure you are not trespassing onto anyone’s property, and if you are going onto someone else’s property, then make sure it is okay with them and that you have permission to do so.

Fishing Etiquette

There are many key things to remember in order to fish respectfully. The first involves the sharing of high valued spots on the water. This means if someone is already fishing in a good spot or the spot you were hoping to fish, you have to follow the rules of “first come, first serve,” and therefore respect that if they want to share they can, but if not they get priority because they were there first. And if they do not want to share, or there is not enough space, then find a different spot, because you can always come back to it later.

Another concept to follow when fishing is in regard to respecting the environment. Make sure that you leave wherever you have been fishing just the way you found it, if not even cleaner than you did. This means do not leave any fishing tools, food, rappers, or any other trash behind, and if you see any trash that has been left behind, help out and pick it up yourself.

Equipment Requirements

As it is with any sport, there is a wide range of fishing equipment prices, quality, and pieces. The three most basic equipment requirements for anyone going fishing are a fishing rod, the reel attachment, and any type of bait. The equipment guidelines are totally dependent on each specific competition in which you are competing in, so in order to increase your likelihood of success, you want to make sure you’re buying equipment that fits you, and is eligible to be used in the event. This typically pertains to the water vessel in which you will be fishing from, because some locations require that you use a motorless boat.

Fishing With Bait

Fishing Bait

In fishing, the term bait is used to describe anything used to attract and tempt the fish to bite your hook. In competition this can include anything you have on hand from worms to hotdogs, but these are only the most basic forms of bait. Because money and other prizes are typically on the line to win at fishing competitions, the participants tend to get more serious with the types of bait they use. That being said, each competitor has their own preference as to what type of bait they like to use, or think will work best, and that is why there aren’t really any specific regulations regarding the type of bait allowed to be used. Different types of bait are used for different types of fish, so in order to cater to certain competitions, you can go to either a local tackle shop or any sporting goods store to purchase the more sophisticated fishing tools. Different types of bait can also be purchased online.

Getting Your Fishing License

Getting your fishing license is one of the most important tasks that should be completed before any fishing adventure. Not only is it super easy, but it’s not expensive. Nowadays, fishing licenses for each state can even be accessible online. Although it’s important to get a fishing license, because not only do rules and regulations differ depending on the state or season you have decided to go fishing in, but it is required for any fishing competition. So although it shows responsibility when it comes to following the proper guidelines and being respectful of the sport, if you want to participate and compete in any fishing competition, all participants need a valid fishing license for the location/state in which they will be competing.  

In addition, if you are caught without a fishing license above the age of 16, you will be charged with a fine much greater than the original cost of getting a license. Depending on the circumstance this legal infraction can lead to over one thousand dollars in fines and legal fees.

How to Catch a Fish Legally

Once you believe that the fish is hooked on, and you have secured it, it is best to bring the fish in using a net in order to contain it while it is lifted out of the water. If you do not have a net however, your hands will do the job. Now that you have taken the fish out of the water safely, enjoy your first catch!

If you do not plan on releasing the fish back into the water, it is mandatory that you check whether the size and type of fish is allowed to be caught and killed. Using location specified regulations and guidelines to wherever you have chosen to go fishing, you can navigate whether or not you are legally allowed to catch and keep the fish. If you are and it falls under the correct restrictions, then you must report your kill so the fish population can be tracked and managed.


Can you fish in the rain?

Yes, you can fish in the rain, however, this is very dependent on the specific weather conditions you are experiencing at the time of your fishing trip. Light rain is typically the only rain you want to fish in, because if it is any heavier or there is thunder and lighting it can become very dangerous to be in or near the water. Either the boat will fill with water or the lighting will spread throughout the water, and in addition to those worries, visibility will be very low, and therefore making it much harder to fish.

Can you fish alone?

Yes you can fish alone, however it is not recommended. This is especially true for younger fishers, but for safety reasons if you don’t have to go alone, it’s much safer to go with a partner or in a group. Because fishing requires you to be near, on, or in the water it is very important to be prepared for those conditions. If you are going to go fishing alone it is crucial that you wear a life jacket in order to keep you safe.

At what age are you required to get a fishing license?

The age requirements for getting a fishing license differ from state to state, but the average age is 15 years old. That being said, anyone younger can get away with fishing without one, but once you reach that age you should make sure to get one because it will save you from running into any legal issues. It is definitely better to get a fishing license for your kids if you are able to, because they are typically only a small fee, and there are normally children discounts.