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Method of Take

Fishing Regulations Oklahoma Freshwater Fishing

Method of Take Regulations

These methods are legal for taking game and nongame fish through­out the year, state­wide, unless re­strict­ed un­der
“Public Fishing Waters” special regulations.

Rod and Reel: A person may use up to seven rods while fishing unless restricted further under “Public Fishing Waters” special 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 “Public Fishing Waters” special regulations.

Bow and Arrow: Bowfishing may be used to take nongame fish only, throughout the year in all waters unless restricted under Tailwaters in the “Public Fishing Waters” special 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 “Public Fishing Waters” special regulations;
  • Gigs shall be lawful year-round in rivers and streams in Delaware and Mayes counties, unless restricted under “Public Fishing Waters” special 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 “Public Fishing Waters” special regulations. Only one rod or pole per angler is allowed while snagging. Snagging prohibited from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the areas east of I-35 and north of I-40, except the Miami City Park from the south boat ramp to the 125 Highway bridge which shall remain open.

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 “Public Fishing Waters” special 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, the Wichita Mountains NWR, and in Wildlife 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 other 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. It is unlawful to take or possess more than 25 nongame bait fish in rivers or streams, except for shad, of which 200 may be taken or possessed. 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. 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.

What’s Legal When Noodling?


  • Using only the hands to take catfish and nongame fish, which includes buffalo and carp.
  • Using a stringer to secure a fish
    once it has been caught.

Not legal to use to help catch fish:

  • Any object other than your hands used to help you catch a fish.
  • It is unlawful to place into any lake or reservoir any container that will attract, entice or lure fish into an open cavity within that container. Containers include, but are not limited to, drums, cans, tubs, boxes and barrels. It is also illegal to noodle within such containers.

Not legal to possess when noodling:

  • Hooks, gaffs, spears, poles with hooks attached, ropes with hooks attached.

Season & Limits:

  • Noodling is lawful year-round in all waters only during daylight hours unless restricted under “Public Fishing Waters” special regulations. The daily limit for flathead catfish is five, no size restrictions. The daily limit for blue and/or channel catfish is 15 (combined), only one of which may be 30 inches or longer. There is no statewide daily limit or size restriction for buffalo (except black buffalo, which the daily limit is one) carp or any other nongame fish, unless noodling in a river or stream, which the daily limit for nongame fish is 25.