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General 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 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. Consent is not valid for more than one year, unless the owner, lessee, or occupant specifically grants consent for a specified period of time.
  • Catch fish from the waters of this state which are dead or die as a result of angling, and not remove those fish and bury or burn them, except nothing will prevent anglers from returning fish remains 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.
  • 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 name, address, license 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.
  • Possess, consume or use any alcoholic beverage as defined in 37 O.S., Section 163.1 on any lands or waterways subject to the control of the Wildlife Department, except in designated parking or camping areas.
  • 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 Baron Fork Creek.
  • Tamper with the trotline, throwline, jugline or limbline of another person without permission from that person.
  • Stock fish in any public waters including streams and rivers without written consent from the Wildlife Department director.
  • Possess a gamefish, hybrid striped bass or flathead catfish that has been filleted or had its head or tail removed while actively engaging in fishing.

Method of Take Regulations

These methods are legal for taking game and nongame fish through­out the year, state­wide, unless re­strict­ed un­der “Special Area Regulations” in the Appendix.

Rod and Reel: A person may use up to seven rods while fishing unless restricted further under “Special Area Regulations.”

Trotline/Throwlines: Trotlines/ throwlines are restricted to no more than three lines and 100 hooks per person.

A legal trotline/throwline has:

  • no glass or metallic floating device on the line;
  • no metallic posts in water for attachment;
  • lines made of nonmetallic material only;
  • hooks at least 24 inches apart;
  • owner’s name and address attached to each line;
  • been attended at least once every 24 hours;
  • not been set within three feet of surface of water at any point beyond six feet from either point of attachment, except at Great Salt Plains and Fort Supply reservoirs where water is less than three feet deep.

Jugline: Juglines are restricted to no more than five hooks per line and 20 juglines per person. A legal jugline is a vertical line suspended from a nonmetallic or nonglass floating device, drifting free or anchored, and has:

  • owner’s name and address attached;
  • been attended at least once every 24 hours.

Limbline: Limblines are restricted to no more than two hooks per line and 20 limblines per person. A legal limbline is a line attached to a limb, branch, other natural object, or non-metallic manmade material and has:

  • the owner’s name and address attached;
  • been attended at least once every 24 hours.

Yo-Yo: Yo-yos are restricted to no more than 20 per person and shall:

  • have the owner’s name and address attached;
  • not be left unattended for more than six hours;
  • not be strung or suspended from any horizontal line across any channel or navigable waterway;
  • have no more than 10 yo-yos attached from any one line or support;
  • not have metallic material in lines used for attachment;
  • have lines no greater than 50 feet in length and must be placed or suspended without restricting or impeding boat traffic. Lines must be visible to boats at all times, day or night.

These methods are legal for taking nongame fish according to the following provisions unless restricted under “Special Area Regulations” in the Appendix.

Bow and Arrow: Bowfishing may be used to take nongame fish only, throughout the year in all waters unless restricted under “Special Area Regulations.” Legal bowfishing is restricted to:

  • any bow (including a crossbow);
  • devices that permit a bow to be held mechanically at full or partial draw are permitted.

Gig, Grabhook, Spear and Speargun: Gigs and spears are legal for taking nongame fish and white bass only. Grabhooks (handheld hook, handheld pole of natural or man-made material, or rope with a single hook attached used in the initial taking of a fish) are prohibited in all state waters. Note: Scuba divers in Delaware and Mayes counties are no longer exempt from the grabhook restriction. Spearguns used by Scuba divers are legal for taking nongame fish, blue and channel catfish.

Gigs, spears and spearguns shall:

  • not contain more than three points with no more than two barbs on each point;
  • be lawful in all rivers and streams from Dec. 1 through March 31, and year-round in all reservoirs, unless restricted under “Special Area Regulations;”
  • Gigs shall be lawful year-round in rivers and streams in Delaware and Mayes counties, unless restricted under “Special Area Regulations.”

Snagging: Snagging, the dragging of one single hook or one treble hook attached to a fishing line through the water to impale fish, shall be lawful in all waters year-round for nongame fish only unless restricted under “Special Area Regulations.” Only one rod or pole per angler is allowed while snagging.

Noodling: Noodling is the taking of nongame fish and catfish by use of hands only. Possession of hooks, gaff hooks, spears, poles with hooks attached or ropes with hooks attached while in the act of noodling shall be proof of violation of the “hands only” noodling law. Noodling shall be lawful year-round in all waters during daylight hours only unless restricted under “Special Area Regulations.”

Netting (Noncommercial): The use of gill nets, trammel nets, hoop nets, or haul seines is prohibited statewide.

Seines, Cast Nets, Trawls and Dip Nets (Noncommercial): Seining, cast netting, trawling and dip netting bait for personal use is lawful in all waters year-round except Lakes Taft, Lone Chimney, Overholser (including tailwaters and downstream to NW 10th Street bridge), Hefner, Draper, Close to Home Fishing Waters (see “Close to Home” Fishing), the Wichita Mountains NWR, and in Wildlife Department Fishing Areas (see Department Fishing Areas), however cast nets may be used to take bait for personal use at Lake Carl Etling and on the Illinois River from the south boundary of the MarVal trout camp downstream to the U.S. 64 Bridge. The use or possession of cast nets is prohibited on all Oklahoma Scenic Rivers.

Any person may seine, trap or transport nongame fish commonly used for personal bait, provided the seine does not exceed 20 feet in length and 1/2 inch mesh; unless seining for minnows, then the mesh shall not exceed 1/4 inch. Minnow traps shall have a mesh size no greater than 1/2 inch, shall not be longer than three feet, shall not exceed 18 inches in diameter on round traps or 18 inches on a side on square or rectangular traps. The trap entrance (throat) cannot exceed two inches across the opening. No person shall fish with more than three minnow traps. All minnow traps must have the owner’s name and address attached and the traps must be attended once every 24 hours. All game fish and nongame fish not commonly used for bait must be released immediately. No person may take or possess more than 25 nongame baitfish harvested from a river or stream. No person may possess with intent to transport or transport via land-based transportation more than 200 nongame fish, including shad, for personal use as bait (see Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) for special regulations). The sale, offer for sale, transport from Oklahoma with intent to sell or offer to sell shad taken from Oklahoma waters is prohibited. Minnow traps cannot be made with glass. Cast nets shall have a mesh size no greater than 3/8 inch square. Trawl nets pulled by motor-driven boats may not exceed three feet in diameter and 3/8 inch square mesh. Cast nets, trawls and handheld dip nets are lawful for taking nongame fish only as bait for personal use. A resident or nonresident fishing license is required of each person using these methods, unless exempt.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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