Fishing Regulations in Kentucky

Apart from the requirement of possessing a valid fishing license and permit, there are a number of other rules and regulations that you must be aware of when fishing in Kentucky. We compiled a concise list of the most significant ones, as outlined by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR).



Methods and gear

The use of more than two fishing trotlines, 50 jug lines, or 25 set lines is prohibited, and they must be clearly marked with permanent labels. You must bait and check your trotlines, jug lines, and set lines at least once every 24 hours, if not more frequently.

Snagging is an option for catching fish, but there is a statewide season for gigging and snagging that runs from February 1st to May 10th that you should be aware of. It is not permitted to practice jigging or snagging from a boat or platform, with the exception of when you are gigging on a 500-acre lake during daylight hours. The practices of jigging and snagging are strictly prohibited in several locations.

As long as you are not within 200 yards of a dam, you are permitted to go bow fishing anywhere in the state. During any season of the year, men and women can go bow fishing, and they can use any type of bow or crossbow they want, including compound and recurve bows, as well as devices that launch arrows pneumatically.

Spearfishing is permitted on lakes with a surface area of at least 1000 acres, with a catch limit of 15 fish per person per day. If you’re after catfish, you can only keep 5 of them in your daily limit if you’re fishing for them.

Gigging, snagging, bow fishing, and spearfishing are all acceptable methods of catching rough fish as long as you target them. These species are not included in the list of precise regulations because they are not endangered.

Culling is permitted in the state of Kentucky when an angler’s daily limit has been reached, but the rule does not apply to trout fishing.



When it comes to largemouth and smallmouth bass, the daily limit for black bass species is six, and the minimum size for harvested fish is 12 inches when it comes to largemouth bass. The same daily limit applies to walleye, sauger, and sauger-eye, with the exception of increased size limits for walleye and sauger-eye (walleye and saugeye must be 15 inches in length). The spotted bass and the Coosa bass have no size restrictions in the state of Georgia.

If you catch up to 15 rock bass and five white or hybrid striped bass, you can take them home with you, provided that no more than five of the white or hybrid striped bass are longer than 15 inches in length.

Other species mentioned by the Department of Natural Resources include chain pickerel and striped bass, both of which have a daily bag limit of five fish. The latter one must be at least 15 inches in length..

Redear fish fishing regulations have a generous daily limit of 20 fish with no size restriction, and there is no limit on the number of fish that can be caught. In addition, you are permitted to harvest up to 30 black or white crappies in a single day. Northern pike and yellow bass are the only two species for which there are no size or number limits under the regulations.

It is legal to catch one muskellunge per day, with a minimum size of 30 inches, but it is not legal to take a lake sturgeon home with you because the policy is catch-and-release throughout the entire state.


Trout fishing

General regulations allow fishermen to keep a total of eight rainbow or brown trout as a daily harvest in any combination, as long as they do not have more than three brown trout in their possession. Brown trout are also subject to a size restriction of 12 inches.

The catch and release policy for brook trout is in effect when fishing on the Cumberland River, but not when fishing on other rivers. There are minimum size and daily creel regulations in effect on this river, as well as four other locations.

The state has at least 40 streams that are used for stocking, and some of these streams have a catch and release season for rainbow and brown trout, while others do not. It typically lasts from the beginning of October until the end of March.