General Fishing Regulations

Game Fish

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass; black and white crappie; rainbow and brown trout; sauger, saugeye and walleye; white and striped bass; blue and channel catfish. Species not listed are nongame fish.

It is unlawful to:

  • Fish without carrying a license (mobile app or hardcopy) or written evidence that you are exempt.
  • Fish upon the land of another without consent of the owner, lessee or occupant of that land. Anglers must obtain permission to enter any posted or occupied land or land primarily devoted to farming, ranching or forestry purposes. Nothing in this guide shall be interpreted as permitting fishing or allowing access into any area, public or private, without permission from the owners or custodian as required by law, this includes lands with rivers and/or creeks flowing through them. Consent is not valid for more than one year, unless the owner, lessee, or occupant grants consent for a specified period of time.
  • Catch fish that are dead or die as a result of angling from any waters of the state, and not remove those fish and bury or burn them, except nothing will prevent anglers from returning fish remains, meaning any fish that has been filleted or has had the entrails removed, to lakes and reservoirs (any fish that does not meet length requirements must be returned to the water immediately). No person may bury or burn any dead fish where it will become exposed through erosion or where that land is at any time subject to overflow.
  • Dispose of dead fish, fish remains, or fish carcasses into waters of this state within 100 yards of a boat ramp, or designated swimming area except where an official fish cleaning station has been provided or where fish cleaning is specifically authorized.
  • Sell, barter or trade fish, frogs or turtles, except with a commercial license.
  • Enter, swim, wade, operate a boat or a float or floating device in any safety zone (the water area below any dam for a distance of 50 yards from base of the dam).
  • Use, operate or park vehicles not registered for use on public roadways under Vehicle Code 47 O.S. 1971, 15-101 through 15-114, on lands owned or managed by the Wildlife Department.
  • Possess fish, or parts thereof, taken by another person without written information which includes the taker’s customer ID number, date taken, and number and kind of fish, plus name and address of person receiving those fish.
  • Use and/or place into lakes and reservoirs of this state any container, including but not limited to drums, cans, tubs, boxes or barrels which attract, entice or lure fish into an open cavity within the container.
  • Use or possess any controlled and/or dangerous substance as defined in 63 O.S., Section 2-101 on any lands or waterways subject to the control of the Wildlife Department.
  • Use Jet Skis, jet boats and other similar nonpropeller-driven watercraft in the upper Illinois River above the confluence with Barren Fork Creek.
  • Tamper with the trotline, throwline, jugline or limbline of another person without permission from that person.
  • Stock aquatic organisms in any public waters including streams and rivers without written consent from the Wildlife Department director.
  • Possess a fish subject to size limits that has had its head, tail, or skin/scales removed while actively engaged in fishing.
  • Use at any time in the waters of this state for taking, catching, capturing or killing any game or nongame fish with any of the following: any rotenone or other poison, dynamite or other explosive, or any electrical device used for shocking purpose.
  • No resident or nonresident shall have in their possession, in the field, more than one (1) daily bag limit listed in 800:10-1-5 and 800:10-1-6. Nonresidents shall not have more than two (2) daily bag limits in their possession at any time other than in the field.

Largemouth and/or Smallmouth Bass rule changes do not go into effect until September 11, 2022. Click HERE for additional information.

Regulation Changes

The following are brief descriptions of regulation changes. This summary of regulation changes is intended to be used as a reference only. You are required to be familiar with all the changes to regulations that apply to each of these items.

In addition to general housekeeping changes and reorganization of Title 800, fishing regulation changes for 2022-2023 include the following:

  • The key change to fishing regulations involves a modification of the statewide size and bag limits for largemouth and smallmouth basses. Specifically, the statewide limit for largemouth and smallmouth basses (in aggregate) is six (6) fish per day, only one (1) of which may exceed sixteen (16) inches in length (See page 12). Public fishing waters with special area regulations may differ from the statewide limits, therefore, see pages 24-27 for special area regulations. When an individual angler possesses a tournament exemption authorized by the Department, daily bag and size limits may deviate from those listed here. Instructions for the tournament exemption application process are provided on the Department website here.
  • The catfish (blue and/or channel catfish, in aggregate) daily limit is six (6) in the Fourche Maline River within Robbers Cave State Park (from Carlton Lake Dam downstream to the state park boundary.
  • Trout bag limits and harvest areas in the lower Mountain Fork River trout area have been changed (see page 18). The trophy harvest area downstream of the State Park Dam has been restored, and is now subject to a daily bag limit of up to one (1) rainbow trout which must be greater than twenty-five (25) inches and up to one (1) brown trout which must be greater than thirty (30) inches.
  • Other changes: Any fish subject to size limits must remain intact (head, tail, and skin/ scales not removed) while the angler is actively engaged in fishing. Unattended fishing equipment (e.g. stringers, creels, baskets, containers) used to store live fish in the field (both caught fish and fish used as bait) must be labeled with the angler's customer ID number and attended at least once every 24 hours. The boundaries have been expanded for collecting bait with cast nets in the lower Illinois River (see page 25). Vann's Lake Refuge is open to fishing and non-hunting use February 1 - October 14. Marbled Crayfish has been added to the list of restricted aquatic species.