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General Information

Notice of inspection law: It is the duty of every person participating in the privileges of taking or possessing wildlife to permit agency officers to ascertain whether the requirements of this title are being faithfully complied with, including the possession of a proper license. It is a violation of law to refuse such inspection or to interfere with an officer attempting such inspection.
TCA 70-6-101(b)(1)

Basic Laws and Definitions

  • Stocking of any fish into public waters is strictly prohibited.
  • Explosives, chemicals and electrical shocking devices are strictly forbidden, and their use carries heavy penalties.
  • Shooting in the water with any type of firearm to injure or take fish or turtles is prohibited.
  • All boaters and passengers must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket within the area designated and appropriately marked as a hazardous area below any dam and/or lock.
  • It is illegal to take any fish or turtle that is listed as endangered, threatened or in-need-of-management.
  • It is illegal to sell or offer to sell fish or turtles without a commercial fishing license.

Bait: Any living or dead organism, or prepared substance designed to attract fish by taste or odor. For the purpose of this proclamation bait includes, but is not limited to, fish, fish eggs, crayfish, worms, grubs, crickets, corn, cheese, bread, pork rinds, putty or paste-type products, and flavors or scents applied to or impregnated into artificial lures.

Culling: The act of removing a fish from your possession or creel and replacing it with another more desirable fish.

Gigging: The taking of fish by means of a hand-held pole or spear with a tip consisting of a single, sharpened point or one or more sharpened barbed points. This includes, but is not limited to gear known as the Hawaiian sling.


Single hook: A hook with only one point.

Spear gun: Any device designed to propel a spear through water and is drawn or held by a mechanical device.

Umbrella rig restriction: Umbrella rigs are defined as an array of more than 3 artificial lures or baits (with or without hooks) used by a single rod and reel combination. If the hook size is 6 or larger, then only one lure or bait may have a hook and that hook must be a single hook.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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Conservation Partner Advertisements: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency allows appropriate advertising in its annual regulation guides in print and online, in order to defray or eliminate expenses to the state, and support enhanced communications with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Constituents. Through a unique partnership with J.F.Griffin Publishing, LLC &, ‘Conservation Partners’ have been established that pay for advertising in support of the regulations both in print and online. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency neither endorses products or services listed or claims made; nor accepts any liability arising from the use of products or services listed. Advertisers interested in the Conservation Partners program should contact J.F.Griffin/ directly at 413-884-1001,
This is not the full law. Consult the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for further details. All persons are reminded that the statutes, code and regulations are the legal authorities.
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