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Kentucky

Fishing

Fishing

FISHING REGULATIONS

STATEWIDE REGULATIONS

Some waterbodies have different size and daily creel limits, so please refer to the “Special Fishing Regulations” section bellow for more details. There are no size or daily creel limits for rough fish, unless statewide or special regulations apply.

For daily creel limit and fishing license purposes, one fishing day equals one calendar day. Except for trout, anglers may cull fish of a particular species until reaching the daily creel limit. Any additional fish caught in excess of the daily creel limit must be released immediately. Click here for size and creel limits.

NON-TRADITIONAL FISHING METHODS

SPORT FISHING TROTLINES, JUGGING and SET LINES (LIMB LINES)

(301 KAR 1:410; KRS 150.010)

A sport fishing trotline is a line with no more than 50 single or multi- barbed baited hooks that must be at least 18 inches apart. A sport fishing trotline must be set at least three feet below the water’s surface. Jugging is fishing with a single baited line attached to any float- ing object. A jug line may have no more than one single or multi-barbed hook. A set line is a line with one single or multibarbed hook. It may be attached to a tree limb, tree trunk, bank pole or other sta- tionary object on the bank of a stream or impoundment.

One person may use no more than two sport fishing trotlines or 50 jug lines or 25 set lines at any one time. Each boat may not use more than 50 jug lines, but each occupant may use two sportfish- ing trotlines or 25 set lines. Each sport fishing trotline, jug line or set line must be: 1) permanently labeled with the cus- tomer identification number provided on fishing licenses; 2) baited, checked and all fish removed at least once every 24 hours; 3) removed from water, bank or tree when fishing ceases.

Prohibited Areas: Sport fish- ing trotlines, jug lines or set lines may not be used within 200 yards below any dam. Sport fishing trotlines, jug lines or set lines are not allowed in Department owned/managed lakes having less than 500 surface acres, except those located on Ballard and Boatwright WMAs. No sport fishing trotlines are allowed within 700 yards below Kentucky Dam, the area between Barkley Dam and U.S. 62 bridge, or below the following Ohio River dams from the face of the dam to the end of the outer lock wall: Smith- land, Newburgh, Cannelton, Mark- land, Meldahl and Greenup; McAlpine downstream to the K&I railroad bridge; J.T. Meyers (Uniontown) to the end of the outer lock wall and that portion of the split channel around the southern part of Wabash Island from the fixed weir dam to the first dike.

TICKLING and NOODLING

(301 KAR 1:410; KRS 150.010)

The tickling and noodling (hand grabbing) season for rough fish is June 1 through August 31, during daylight hours only. Tickling and noodling means taking fish directly by hand, or with the aid of a handled hook. These methods are permitted in allwaters. The daily creel limit is 15 rough fish, no more than 5 of which can be catfish. Only one blue or channel catfish longer than 25 inches may be kept daily on Barren River Lake, Dewey Lake, Fishtrap Lake and Taylorsville Lake.

BOW FISHING

(301 KAR 1:410)

Rough fish (except alligator gar and lake sturgeon) may be taken year- round by long bow, crossbow, compound bow, recurvebow or pneumatic air arrow launching device. Sport fish may not be taken with this gear. Arrows must have a barbed or retractable style point that has a line attached for retrieval. Catfish have a daily creel limit of 5 (in aggregate) and paddlefish have a daily creel limit of 2. There is no limit on other rough fish. Bow fisherman may fish within 200 yards of a dam, except they cannot fish by boat in boat restricted areas. Bow fishing is prohibited on the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam down- stream to the Tennessee line, including Hatchery Creek and all tributaries for ½ mile upstream of their confluence with the Cumberland River.

Persons using a bow and arrow for fishing must have the appropriate fish- ing license and may take rough fish from bank or boat. Bow anglers cannot sell paddlefish or their roe taken by bow and arrow. Paddlefish and catfish taken by bow and arrow must be taken into immediate possession and cannot be culled. Fish taken by bow must not be discarded on the bank. Bank disposal is littering and subject to a fine.

SPEAR FISHING

(301 KAR 1:410)

Underwater spearing of rough fish with hand-held or mechanically pro- pelled spear is permitted year-round, but only in lakes having 1,000 surface acres or more. All participants in this sport must be completely submerged while spear fishing. Only rough fish may be taken and the appropriate fishing license is required. The daily creel limit is 15 fish of which only 5 may be catfish.

SPEAR FISHING

(301 KAR 1:410)

Underwater spearing of rough fish with hand-held or mechanically pro- pelled spear is permitted year-round, but only in lakes having 1,000 surface acres or more. All participants in this sport must be completely submerged while spear fishing. Only rough fish may be taken and the appropriate fishing license is required. The daily creel limit is 15 fish of which only 5 may be catfish.

GIGGING and SNAGGING FISH

STATEWIDE

Gigging means spearing or impal- ing fish on any pronged or barbed in- strument attached to the end of any rigid object. Snagging means taking fish or other aquatic animals by a rapid drawing motion (rather than enticement by bait) using a hand-held rod and attached line with one single or treble hook. A rod le- gal for snagging must be equipped with line, guides and a reel.

The statewide season for gigging and/or snagging rough fish is from February 1 through May 10. It is illegal to possess a gig on a stream or lake or in a boat from November 1 through January 31. A person may gig or snag fish from the bank of a stream during the day or night. Gigging and snagging is not legal from a platform or boat, ex- cept that gigging is legal from a boat on lakes 500 surface acres or larger and only during daylight hours.

There is a statewide daily creel limit of 2 paddlefish for either gigging or snagging. All gigged or snagged paddlefish must be taken into posses- sion and cannot be culled or released. Anglers must cease gigging or snagging once they attain the 2 paddlefish daily creel limit. It is illegal to sell paddlefish or their roe taken by sportfish snagging methods. No daily limits on any other rough fish except trophy catfish. Anglers must also cease snagging once a trophy catfish is snagged. Regardless of condi- tion, all sport fish as well as alligator gar and lake sturgeon taken by gigging and snagging must be immediately returned to the water. Persons may gig rough fish through the ice any time the surface is frozen thick enough to stand upon. The gigger must gig while supported by the ice. Disposal of gigged or snagged fish on the bank is considered littering and subject to a fine.

Statewide regulations apply unless other- wise mentioned below:

SPECIAL REGULATIONS FOR GREEN RIVER, ROLLING FORK RIVER AND THEIR TRIBUTARIES

  • Up to five single or five treble hooks may be used for snagging.

SPECIAL REGULATIONS FOR TENNESSEE RIVER (below Kentucky Lake)

  • Gigging is prohibited in the Tennessee River downstream of Kentucky Dam year round.
  • The area from Kentucky Dam to the new U.S. 62 bridge is open to snag- ging 24 hours per day from January 1 through May 31 and from sunset to sunrise from June 1 through December 31.
  • The area from the I-24 bridge down- stream to the Ohio River is open to snagging year round.
  • The area from the new U.S. 62 bridge to the I-24 bridge is closed to snag- ging year round.
  • Daily snagging creel limit of 8 fish in aggregate.
  • Anglers may snag sportfish, but must cease snagging if the daily creel limit of any sportfish with a daily limit less than 8 fish is reached.
  • Snagged shad, herring or invasive carp may be released, but all other species, including paddlefish and sportfish must be taken into possession and not be culled.

SPECIAL REGULATIONS FOR CUMBERLAND RIVER (below Lake Barkley)

  • Gigging and snagging only permitted downstream of U.S. 62 bridge.
  • Daily gigging and snagging creel limit of 8 fish, with harvest of sportfish pro- hibited.
  • Snagged shad, herring or invasive carp can be released, but all other species, including paddlefish mush be taken into possession and not beculled.

GIGGING AND SNAGGING ARE PROHIBITED IN THE FOLLOWING WATERS OR AREAS:

  • Cave Run Lake including all tributar- ies up to the first riffle (The location of the first riffle may change depending on water level).
  • Cumberland River, below Wolf Creek Dam downstream to the Tennessee line including all of Hatchery Creek and all tributaries for ½ mile upstream of their confluence with the Cumber- land River.
  • Within 200 yards of a dam, except be- low Kentucky Dam.
  • Cumberland River, below Barkley Dam downstream to the U.S. 62 bridge.
  • Tennessee River, below Kentucky Dam from the new U.S. 62 bridge to I-24 bridge.
  • Middle Fork of Kentucky River from Buckhorn Lake downstream to the Breathitt County line.
  • Rough River, below Rough River Dam to KY 54 bridge.
  • In the Tennessee River below Ken- tucky Dam, gigging prohibited year- round.

BORDERING WATERS

All resident Kentucky anglers who fish reciprocal waters must have a valid Kentucky fishing license.

OHIO RIVER FISHING

(KRS 150.170)

An angler with a Kentucky fishing license may fish the entire main stem of the Ohio River from a boat, or a bor- dering state’s bank without buying the other state’s license (bordering states in- clude Illinois, Indiana and Ohio).

This does not apply if fishing a bor- dering state’s embayments or tributaries, which begin at a straight line between opposite points where the tributary or embayment meets the main stem of the river.

Anglers fishing from a bordering state’s bank must follow the size and creel limits of the state where the an- gler is located. For example, a Kentucky licensed angler can stand on the Indi- ana bank and fish the main stem of the Ohio River without an Indiana fishing license, but must abide by Indiana’s size and creel limits. However, anglers fish- ing from a boat must follow the size and creel limits of the state in which the an- gler is licensed.

Reminder: snagging is not permit- ted for any fish species on the Indiana side or in any Indiana waters of the Ohio River. In Kentucky, a person may not snag within 200 yards below any dam on the Ohio River.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER

(KRS 150.170)

Anglers licensed in Kentucky may fish Missouri portions of the Mississippi River without buying a Missouri fishing license. Each state recognizes the sport fishing licenses and permits of the other state on the Mississippi River. The river is defined as the main channel and im- mediate side or secondary channels and chutes. It does not include oxbow or floodplain lakes or any tributary streams. A tributary is delineated by the straight line between opposite points where the tributary connects with the main body of the Mississippi River. Furthermore, the river does not include backwaters that extend onto the floodplain or tribu- taries when the river exceeds 33 feet at the gauging station at Cairo, Illinois.

Sport fishing license or permit holders may fish from, or attach any device or equipment to land along the river under the jurisdiction of the other state. Landowner permission is required to fish from the bank.

Sport fishing license holders shall abide by the regulations in the state in whose waters they are fishing and when fishing in waters they are not licensed to fish, shall comply with the most restric- tive regulation.

DALE HOLLOW LAKE

Anglers may use either a Tennes- see or a Kentucky sport fishing license while fishing in the Wolf River arm of Dale Hollow Lake. This includes the Il- lwill Creek embayment beginning at a line crossing the Wolf River at its mouth where it joins the Obey River and the main part of the lake.

Anglers must obey the regulations of the state in which they are licensed. Kentucky residents must have a Ken- tucky license.

KENTUCKY LAKE

On Kentucky Lake, anglers with either a valid Kentucky or Tennes- see sport fishing license may fish from Eggner’s Ferry Bridge (U.S. 68 and KY 80) in Kentucky south to the Governor Ned McWhorter Bridge (U.S. 79 and TN 76) in Tennessee. This includes all embayments and tributaries, except the Blood River embayment in Kentucky. Anglers must abide by the fishing and boating regulations of the state in which they are fishing.

    BIG SANDY and TUG FORK RIVERS

    Anglers with a valid Kentucky fishing license may fish the entire main stem of the Big Sandy and Tug Fork rivers from the confluence of the Ohio and Big Sandy Rivers upstream to the Virginia state line. Kentucky anglers can fish from a boat or on West Virginia’s bank without buying a West Virginia fishing license.

    This does not apply to fishing West Virginia’s tributaries or embayments, which begin at a straight line between opposite points where the tributary or embayment meets the main stem of the river.

    Kentucky anglers fishing from West Virginia’s bank must follow their size and creel limits. However, Kentucky anglers fishing the main stem from a boat must follow Kentucky’s size and creel limits.

    BIG SOUTH FORK OF THE CUMBERLAND RIVER

    Anglers may use either a Tennessee or a Kentucky sport fishing license while fishing that portion of the Big South Fork from the Leatherwood Ford bridge (TN 297) in Tennessee to the KY 92 bridge at Yamacraw, Kentucky.

    Anglers must obey the regulations of the state in which they are licensed. Kentucky residents must have a Kentucky license.

    OTHER BORDERING WATERS

    On all other bordering waters, boundaries are set by state lines. Obey the laws of the state in which you are fishing.

    DEFINITIONS

    (301 KAR 1:201, KRS 150.010)

    Fishing-related definitions not listed here are included in appropriate sections of this guide.

    Angling means taking or attempting to take fish by hook and line in hand, rod in hand, jugging, set line or sport fishing trotline.

    Artificial baits are lures or flies made of wood, metal, plastic, hair, feathers, pre- served pork rind or similar inert materi- als and having no organic baits includ- ing dough bait, putty or paste type baits designed to attract fish by taste or smell. Authorization number is the number assigned to a person in lieu of fishing or hunting license when the license is pur- chased over the phone or Internet.

    Black bass includes largemouth, small- mouth, Kentucky (spotted) and Coosa bass.

    Catfish: A catfish means a blue, chan- nel or flathead catfish. Bullheads are not included in this definition.

    Culling: Replacing a live fish in the daily creel limit with another fish of the same species.

    Daylight hours begin one-half hour before sunrise and end one-half hour after sunset.

    Daily creel limit is the maximum num- ber of a particular species or group of species a person may legally keep in a day or have in possession while fishing. Fishing is taking or attempting to take fish in any manner, whether or not fish are in possession.

    Lake means impounded waters, from the dam upstream to the first riffle on the main stem river and tributary streams or as specified in regulation.

    Length means the distance from the front tip of a fish’s lower jaw with mouth closed to the tip of its tail with the fish laid flat on a rule with its tail lobes squeezed together.

    Organic baits are insects, minnows, fish eggs, worms, corn, cheese, cut bait or similar substances used as a lure.

    Possession limit is the maximum num- ber of unprocessed fish a person may hold after two days or more of fishing. Regulation is an official rule of Ken- tucky law applying to particular activi- ties or circumstances.

    Release means return of the fish, in the best possible condition, immediately after removing the hook, to the water from which it was taken in a place where the fish’s immediate escape shall not be pre- vented.

    Resident is anyone who has established permanent and legal residence in Ken- tucky and residing here at least 30 days. Rough fish are those fish species not listed as sport fish in the regulation 301 KAR 1:060.

    Size limit is the legal length a fish must be if it is in possession. (Fish length is measured from the tip of the closed lower jaw to the tip of the tail with fish laid flat on rule and tail lobes squeezed together.)

    Slot limit means fish within a speci- fied minimum and maximum size range must be released.

    Single hook is a hook with only one point.

    Tenant is any resident sharecropper or lessee who lives and works on farmland owned by his/her landlord.

    Trophy catfish is a blue or flathead cat- fish 35 inches or longer or a channel cat- fish 28 inches or longer.

    KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES

    DEPARTMENT HISTORY

    The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is a state agency within the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet. The de- partment was originally established in 1912 as the Kentucky Game and Fish Commission to protect the state’s dwindling fish and game populations. Today, Kentucky has more deer and bald eagles than during Daniel Boone’sday.

    DEPARTMENT FUNDING

    During the height of the Great Depression, hunters asked Congress to impose a tax on their sporting equipment and ammunition to help pay for conservation. Following World War II, anglers supported similar excise taxes on fishing equip- ment and boat fuel.

    Today, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife relies on these federal funding sources to complement its own revenue raised through the sale ofhunting and fishing licenses to support the department and its programs.

    DEPARTMENT’S ROLE IN CONSERVATION

    Kentucky Fish and Wildlife does much more than just restore species once decimated from the state’s landscape. The department is a research-intensive agency staffed with professional biologists who help guide decisions that benefit all fish and wildlife species. The department’s outreach programs help educate youth about conservation. Employees work to improve hunter and angler opportunities through boat ramp construction, public landacquisi- tion, stream restoration and more. Conservation officers enforce laws and help protect the public.

    A nine-member citizen board appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate receives input from the public, biologists and other interested parties to recommend regulations governing fish and wildlife. Regulations proposed by theKentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission must be approved by the Kentucky General Assembly.

    Go online to fw.ky.gov for meeting dates and agendas.

    GENERAL INFORMATION

    FISHING TOURNAMENTS

    As a voluntary program, fishing event organizers are strongly urged to use the Tournament website at fw.ky.gov to register and report on their events. Tournament planners can avoid space conflicts with other previously regis- tered events by adjusting the date, time, specific launch areas or weigh-in site for their activities.

    Other recreational anglers and boaters can check the website to see when and where fishing events are scheduled. This will assist them in plan-ning their activities and also help avoid potential space conflicts. Additional per- mits may be required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S.Forest Ser- vice or Kentucky State Parks.

    If the launch site for your tourna- ment involves using a marina ramp, please contact the marina operator be- fore scheduling your tournament.

    Check the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov for more information on tournaments and keep- ing your bass alive.

    HABITAT

    The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife regularly creates and main- tains fish attractors and habitat structures in lakes across Kentucky. Thefish habitat/ attractors are made in a variety of shapes and sizes and include material from trees, rocks, logs, wooden pallets, and even com- mercially made plastic structures. These structures are typically dense in nature with tree limbs and shade producing cover. Rock piles and gravel beds create spawn- ing grounds for many species and brush piles provide much needed shelter for provide stable substrates for the attach- ment of aquatic plants that provide the basis of the food chain in lakes. In general, more habitat just means more fish.

    Kentucky Fish and Wildlife also collects trees for habitat with our annual Christmas tree drive. Every year after the holiday season, we collect and recycle thousands of discarded natural trees into brush piles for habitat.

    All of the habitat sites created are published and made available to the public via Google Maps. They can be ac- cessed by using the Find a Place to Fish feature or on the Lakes with Fish At- tractors page at fw.ky.gov.

    The Lakes with Fish Attractors page also has downloadable GPX files for importing in to the depth finder of your boat. Most brands of depth finder will allow for download of GPX files, but you may have to consult your owners manual. YouTube is also a good source for instructional videos on how to im- port and convert these files.

    Once you know where the sites are, fishing them can be rewarding. Lake habitat sites will vary in depth and may include areasin the backs of creeks, large flats, small pockets, and even main lake points. Many of these sites are located away from the bank in deeper water, so depth finders will help in identifying these offshore locations.

    FISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORIES

    The Kentucky Departments for Environmental Protection, Health Services and Fish and Wildlife Resources jointly issue a fish consumption advisory to the public when fish are found contaminated. Trace contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), mercury and chlordane are found in some fish in Kentucky. An advisory cautions people about potential health problems that may result from eating fish caught from a particular area. An advisory does not ban eating fish; it is a guide to reduce your risk. This guide provides informa- tion on howoften fish may be safely eat- en. Most fish are healthy to eat and are an excellent source of low-fat protein.

    CONSUMPTION GUIDELINES

    Consumption rates for specific fish have been developed based on a meal of ½ pound of fish (before cooking) eaten by a 150-pound individual. Following these guidelines and spacing your meals of those fish species will limit your health risks by reducing your total expo- sure. See table on the next page.

    STATEWIDE

    All waters are under advisory for mercury. Women of childbearing age and children 6 years of age or younger should eat no more than six meals per year of predatory fish. They should eat no more than one meal per month of panfish, bot- tom feeder fish and no more than onemeal per week of fish in the “other fish” category. The general population should eat no more than one meal per month of predatory fish andno more than one meal per week of panfish and bottom feeder fish. There is no advisory for the general population for fish in the “other fish”cate- gory. However, brown trout over 17 inches are more predatory and have the potential to build up higher contaminant levels when compared to smaller brown trout.

    Fish consumption advisories now delineate between predatory fish, bot- tom feeder fish, panfish and other fish species including Asian carp,trout, min- nows, etc. Predatory fish include black bass (smallmouth, largemouth and spot- ted), white bass, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, sauger, saugeye, walleye, muskellunge, flathead and blue catfish, yellow bass, chain pickerel and all gars.

    Panfish include bluegill, crap- pie, rock bass as well as green, longear and redear sunfish. Bottom feeder fish include the bullheads, buffalo species, channel catfish, common carp, redhorse species, shovelnose sturgeon, drum, creek chub as well as carpsuckers and white, spotted and northern hog suckers.

    Organic mercury occurs naturally in the environment and does not affect swimmers, skiers or boaters. Fish accumu- late low levels ofmercury by eating plank- ton and other small aquatic creatures.

    For the most up-to-date consumption advisory information, please visit fw.ky.gov.

    FISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORIES

    NUMBER OF MEALS PER SPECIES

    General Population

    Sensitive Population

    STATEWIDE

    Predatory fish (mercury)

    1/month

    6/year

    Bottom feeders and panfish

    (mercury)

    1/week

    1/month

    Other fish (mercury)

    No advisory

    1/week

    DRAKES CREEK (from dam on W. Fork at Franklin, KY

    downstream to confluence with Barren River)

    All species (PCB)

    No consumption

    FISH LAKE, Ballard Co.

    (from lake headwaters to outflow of Shawnee Creek)

    Bottom feeders (mercury)

    1/month

    6/year

    FISHTRAP LAKE, Pike Co. (from VA/KY state line to Fishtrap Lake dam)

    Bottom feeders and hybrid striped bass (PCB)

    1/month

    6/year

    GREEN RIVER LAKE (from lake headwaters to dam)

    Bottom feeders (PCB and mercury)

    1/month

    6/year

    KNOX CREEK, Pike Co.

    (from VA/KY state line to Tug Fork River)

    Flathead catfish (PCB and mercury)

    No consumption

    Bottom feeders (PCB)

    6/year

    No consumption

    Predatory fish (PCB) andpanfish (PCB and mercury)

    1/month

    6/year

    LITTLE BAYOU CREEK, McCracken Co.

    All species (PCB)

    No consumption

    METROPOLIS LAKE, McCracken Co.

    All species (PCB and mercury)

    No consumption

    MUD RIVER, Logan Co.

    (from headwaters to Wolf Lick Creek)

    Bottom feeders (PCB)

    No consumption

    Predatory fish and panfish

    (PCB)

    1/month

    6/year

    MUD RIVER, Butler and Muhlenberg cos.

    (from Wolf Lick Creek to Green River)

    Bottom feeders (PCB)

    1/month

    6/year

    Panfish (PCB)

    1/week

    1/month

    TOWN BRANCH, Logan Co.

    All species (PCB)

    No consumption

    The Ohio River has different advisories than other Kentucky waters.

    Any fish species not listed in the table below falls under a 1 meal per week advisory for mercury.

    OHIO RIVER, UPPER and MIDDLE REACH

    (Mouth of the Big Sandy River to J.T. Meyers L&D)

    Common carp (PCB)

    1/month

    1/month

    Channel catfish under 18 inches long (PCB)

    1/month

    1/month

    Channel catfish 18 inches and longer (PCB)

    6/year

    6/year

    Flathead catfish (PCB)

    1/month

    1/month

    Striped and hybrid striped bass (PCB)

    6/year

    6/year

    White bass (PCB)

    1/month

    1/month

    All suckers (PCB)

    1/month

    1/month

    Freshwater drum (PCB)

    1/month

    1/month

    Black bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted) (mercury)

    1/month

    1/month

    OHIO RIVER, LOWER REACH

    (J.T. Meyers L&D to mouth of Ohio River)

    Common carp 22 inches and longer (PCB)

    1/month

    1/month

    Blue catfish 20 inches and longer (PCB)

    1/month

    1/month

    Channel catfish 18 inches and longer (PCB)

    1/month

    1/month

    Flathead catfish (PCB and mercury)

    1/month

    1/month

    Striped and hybrid striped bass (PCB and mercury)

    1/month

    1/month

    White bass (mercury)

    1/month

    1/month

    Freshwater drum 14 inches and longer (mercury)

    1/month

    1/month

    Black bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted) (mercury)

    1/month

    1/month

    Sauger (mercury)

    1/month

    1/month

    AQUATIC NUISANCE SPECIES

    INVASIVE CARP

    Four species of invasive carps (big- head, silver, black and grass) are repro- ducing and threaten Kentucky’s aquatic ecology. These fish may outcompete native fishes for forage and their popula- tions in some areas are expanding at an alarming rate. These carp species can produce over 1 million eggs per large adult each year. In areas where conditions are suitable for reproduction, their numbers cannot be controlled without support from commercial fishing. See the invasive carp page at fw.ky.gov.

    ECONOMIC IMPACTS

    Economic impacts can include increased costs to businesses and indi- viduals due to interference with normal operations or infrastructure.In addition, tourism dollars are lost when recreation- al experiences such as hunting, hiking, fishing, swimming, and boating are no longer possible or pleasant. For exam- ple, invasive zebra mussels clog pipes, cover shoreline access, and encrust boat hulls and motors. Their impacts alone have cost the

    U.S. billions of dollars in damage control. Most recently, zebra mussels were found in a popular aquari- um and home décor product known as a moss ball. The threat of new introductions into U.S. waters was so great that all sales and distribution of moss balls was effectively shut down and products were removed from shelves.

    ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS

    Aquatic nuisance species ecologi- cal impacts include the degradation of native habitats and ecosystem function, reduced abundance of native species, and the loss of biodiversity (the community of unique organisms within specific habitats). Consider the invasive aquatic weed hydrilla. Hydrilla is a submerged plant that spreads rapidly while chok- ing out native vegetation and altering the physical and chemical composition of the lakes and ponds where it is intro- duced. This can lead to reduced forag- ing habitat, alter the flow and mixing of the water column, and disrupt access for boating, fishing, swimming, and even block the withdraw of water for agricul- tural irrigation or power generation in many waterbodies.

    AESTHETIC IMPACTS

    Aesthetic impacts can result in the inability for Kentuckians to enjoy our natural heritage and pass along our fa- vorite fishing, hunting and recreational areas to future generations. For example, invasive carp can quickly colonize rivers, which creates imbalances in the ecosys- tem, can increase the opportunity for disease, and creates hazards to boaters and anglers.

    WHAT YOU CAN DO

    Anglers and Water Recreationists

    • Clean your boat, anchor, and other items that may have been submerged in water. This is best done by rins- ing your transportation sources and equipment thoroughly with a hard spray or HOT (120° F) water, like that found at a do-it-yourself carwash.
    • Drain equipment that may retain water before leaving a water access or shoreline property and allow equip- ment to dry thoroughly before using in another waterbody.
    • Use proper bait bucket practices.

    Do not dump leftover bait! Dispose of unwanted bait, including min- nows, leeches, and worms, in the trash. Dumping of bait is a major pathway that allows nuisance species to spread between waterways.

    • If your dog goes swimming, wash your dog with clean water and brush its coat.

    Aquarium and Water Garden Owners

    DO NOT release fish and aquatic plants into the wild. Release or escape of fish and plants from aquariums and wa- ter gardens can harm Kentucky waters and native species. Aquarium fish can carry diseases that can kill native fish and invasive plants can clog waterways and snag boat propellers.

    Some alternatives to release in- clude:

    • Give/trade with another aquarist, pond owner, or water gardener
    • Donate to a local aquarium society, school, or aquatic business
    • Seal aquatic plants in plastic bags and dispose in the trash
    • Contact a veterinarian or pet retailer for guidance on humane disposal of animals

    REPORT AQUATIC NUISANCE SPECIES

    If you think you have found an Aquatic Nuisance Species, contact the KDFWR Fisheries Division at 1-800- 858-1549 or email [email protected] ky.gov. Information provided should include the date of observation, specific location, multiple pictures, detailed de- scriptions, and your contact information. Please save the specimen if possible (re- frigeration is preferable).

    TROUT WATERS

    TROUT STOCKING

    The following tailwaters receive rainbow and brown trout. Stocking begins in spring and continues into the late fall; monthly totals will vary. Monthly schedules are available through Kentucky Fish and Wildlife by call- ing 1-800-858-1549 or logging on to fw.ky.gov.

    TAILWATERS

    Total Rainbows

    Total Browns

    Months

    Buckhorn

    5,000

    0

    4,5,6,10,11

    Carr Creek

    4,000

    0

    4,5,10,11

    Cave Run

    6,000

    0

    4,5,6,10,11

    Cumberland*

    192,400

    42,000

    3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12

    Dewey

    4,000

    0

    4,5,10,11

    Fishtrap

    10,000

    0

    4,5,6,10,11

    Grayson

    5,000

    0

    4,5,6,10,11

    Herrington

    4,500

    300

    3,5,6,7,8,11

    Laurel River

    500

    250

    3,4,5,6,10

    Martins Fork

    3,750

    0

    4,5,6,10,11

    Nolin River

    8,000

    250

    3,4,5,6,7,9,10,11

    Paintsville

    14,000

    300

    4,5,6,7,9,10,11

    Taylorsville

    3,000

    0

    4,5,6,11

    Yatesville

    3,000

    0

    4,5,10,11

    STREAMS

    pages are stocked with rainbow trout by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during the months indicated. Brown trout are stocked once each year in some streams for a put-grow-take fishery. All trout are produced at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery. Visit fw.ky.gov for a list of monthly trout stockings.

    CATCH and RELEASE STREAMS

    Some streams indicated in the table have a catch and release sea- son (no harvest) from Oct. 1 through March 31, except in Swift Camp Creek where the catch and release season is Oct. 1 through May 31. During the catch and release season, only artificial baits shall be used and all trout caught must be immediately released.

    STATEWIDE STREAMSCountyTotal RainbowsMonthsTotal BrownsCatch and Release (No Harvest) Season
    Bark Camp Creek*Whitley3,7503,4,5,6,10500Oct. 1 - Mar. 31; 3.9 miles
    Oct. 1 - Mar. 31; Hwy 90 bridge upstream to Hwy 200 bridge –
    Beaver CreekWayne1,5004,5,102.8 miles
    Big Bone CreekBoone1,6003,4,10,12Oct. 1 - Mar. 31; inside the Big Bone Lick State Park – 2.1 miles
    Big Caney CreekElliott2,5004,5,10250
    Cane Creek*Laurel3,7503,4,5,6,10Oct. 1 - Mar. 31; 6.6 miles
    Casey CreekTrigg8,0002,4,5,6,7,8,9,10Oct. 1 - Mar. 31; 3.6 miles
    Chimney Top Creek*Wolfe45010
    Clear CreekBell1,2004,10Oct. 1 - Mar. 31; Hwy 190 bridge down stream to mouth – 4.5 miles
    Craney Creek*Rowan1,00010
    East Fork, Indian Creek*Menifee4,0003,4,5,10400Oct. 1 - Mar. 31; 5.3 miles
    East Fork, Little Sandy RiverBoyd2,4003,4,10
    Elk Spring CreekWayne1,6004,5,6,10Oct. 1 - Mar. 31; 2.8 miles
    Floyds ForkJefferson12,0002,3,4,10,11,12Oct. 1 - Mar. 31; US 60
    downstream to US 150 – 20 miles
    Fort CampbellChristian2,4002,43,250
    Greasy CreekLeslie9004,11
    Gunpowder CreekBoone1,6003,4,10,12Oct. 1 - March 31; 1.5 miles
    Hatchery Creek (upper)Russell32,100monthly
    Jennings CreekWarren7,0003,5,6,7,8,9,10500
    Laurel CreekElliott2,7504,5,10250
    Looney CreekHarlan1,5004,5,10700
    Lynn Camp CreekHart2,5004,5,6,7,10
    Middle Fork, Red River*Powell/Wolfe2,7003,4,5,10
    North Fork, Triplett Creek*Rowan1,0503,4,5
    Otter Creek, Fort Knox Otter Creek ORA7,5003,4,6,7,8,9,10500Oct. 1 - Mar. 31; Ft. Knox Military Reservation and Otter Creek ORA – 9.7 miles
    Meade7,2502,3,4,5,11,12(fort only)
    Right Fork, Beaver CreekFloyd2,0004,5,10,11
    Right Fork, Buffalo CreekOwsley5004,5
    3,4,5,6,9,10,Oct. 1 - Mar. 31; Tennessee border downstream to Bell Farm bridge – 9.8 miles
    Rock Creek*McCreary15,12511,12
    Round Stone CreekHart2,8003,5,6,7,8,9,10200
    Royal SpringsScott1,2005,6,7
    Russell ForkPike2,2504,5,10
    Sinking CreekBreckinridge1,2004,5,11
    Station Camp CreekEstill7504
    Sturgeon CreekLee4004
    Sulphur Spring CreekSimpson3,0003,5,6,7,8,9,10200
    Swift Camp Creek*Wolfe1,0003,10Oct. 1 - May 31; within Clifty Wilderness Area – 8.0 miles
    Trammel CreekAllen7,0003,5,6,7,8,9,10600Oct. 1 - Mar. 31 – 4.4 miles
    Triplett CreekRowan1,2003,4,5
    War Fork*Jackson2,5003,4,5,6,10
    West Hickman Creek (Veteran’s Park)Fayette1,0002,10
    Wolf CreekMartin2,0004,11

    LAKES

    The lakes below are stocked with rainbow trout in the months indicated. January- March stockings are scheduled based on weather and road conditions.

    LAKES

    Acres

    Total Trout

    Months

    Bert Combs Lake

    36

    4,000

    1,4,5,10

    Beulah Lake

    87

    4,000

    1,4,5,10

    Boulder Pond, Parklands

    1

    800

    3,10

    Cannon Creek Lake

    243

    9,000*

    2,3,10

    Cranks Creek Lake

    219

    5,000

    1,4,5,10

    Eagle Lake

    19

    2,000

    2,3,10,11

    Fagen Branch Lake

    126

    2,500*

    3,11

    Fishpond Lake

    32

    4,000

    1,4,5,10

    Grant’s Branch Lake

    22

    4,500

    1,3,11

    Greenbo Lake

    181

    13,000*

    2,10

    Highsplint Lake

    6

    2,750

    1,10

    Ky. River WMA Boone Tract, Six Acre Lake

    6

    2,000

    2,10

    Martin Co. (Milo) Lake

    5

    3,750

    2,11

    Metcalfe Co. Lake

    22

    500

    3

    Mill Creek Lake

    41

    6,000

    1,3,5,10

    Morton’s Lake, Higginson/Henry WMA

    1

    500

    2

    Paintsville Lake

    1,139

    20,000

    2,3

    Panbowl Lake

    75

    6,000

    3,10

    Peabody WMA, Access Pond

    1

    2,250

    1,11

    Peabody WMA, Flycatcher Pond

    1

    1,500

    1,11

    Peabody WMA, Rob’s Pond

    11

    1,500

    1,11

    Pikeville City Lake

    24

    2,500

    3,11

    Sandy Watkins Park Lake

    3

    1,000

    2,10

    Wood Creek Lake

    672

    8,000

    2,10

    OTHER AREAS

    FORT CAMPBELL and FORT KNOX

    Little West Fork and Fletchers Fork on Fort Campbell (Tennessee portion) and Otter Creek on Fort Knox (Bullitt, Meade and Hardin counties) military reservations are stocked with rainbow or brown trout. Special fish- ing regulations apply and a post fish- ing permit is required in addition to a valid Kentucky fishing license and trout permit. Contact Community Recre- ation Division, Hunting and Fishing Unit, Fort Campbell, KY 42223-5000; phone: (270) 798-2175 or Hunt Con- trol Office, Fort Knox, KY; phone: (502) 624-2712.

    CATCH and RELEASE BROOK TROUT STREAMS

    Four streams are catch and release only year-round and only artificial flies and lures with a single hook may be used on these streams:

    • Dog Fork – Wolfe County*
    • Parched Corn Creek – Wolfe County*
    • Poor Fork – Letcher County, from the headwaters to Hwy. 932
    • Shillalah Creek – Bell County, out- side the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park

    * Parched Corn Creek is stocked annually with brook trout as part of a restoration project.

    BOATING

    BOATING REGULATIONS

    INTRODUCTION

    This publication for most boaters and an- swers the most commonly asked ques- tions. However, it is not all inclusive. For further information, please con- tact the Division of Law Enforcement, #1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601 or call 1-800-858-1549.

    For emergencies, officers may be contacted by dialing 1-800-252-5378, or local law enforcement agency or through the nearest Kentucky State Police post. One may use marine channel 16 to con- tact a local marina.

    REGISTRATION

    (301 KAR 6:001, 6:010)

    All mechanically powered vessels used primarily in this state must have a Kentucky registration. Boats are regis- tered at the county clerk’s office. Persons may register in the county of their resi- dence or the county of principal use. Boat registrations expire April 30 eachyear.

    Boats registered in other states may be used for up to 60 consecutive days in Kentucky without registering here.

    All boats operated in Kentucky must have the registration certificate on board. Boats that are rented from a marina or boat livery must have a lease agreement on board.

    DISPLAY OF NUMBER and DECAL

    Once boats are assigned a registra- tion number and decals, they must be displayed correctly. The number assigned, and no other, shall be displayed on the bow, or forward half, of each side of the vessel, read from left to right, and in a position to be distinctly visible. The let- ters and numbers must be of a plain block design, at least three (3) inches in height, and of a color that will provide maximumcontrast to the background (light num- bers on a dark hull or vice versa).

    There must be a letter size space between letter and number groups:

    Correct: KY 1234 AA

    Incorrect: KY1234AA

    Registration decals are to be placed within six inches behind (aft) and in line with the registration number. Upon renewal every year, old registration decals are to be removed and the current ones applied.

    PROPER DISPLAY OF NUMBERS AND DECALS

    TRANSFER, DESTRUCTION OR ABANDONMENT

    When ownership of a currently registered boat changes, it is the responsibility of the purchaser to take the en- dorsed title to the county clerk and have the boat transferred into the name of the new owner. Thisprocedure must be done upon completion of the transaction.

    Whenever a vessel is transferred, the seller shall, within 15 days, give the county clerk notice of the transfer of his interest in the vessel.

    Whenever a vessel is destroyed or abandoned, the owner shall, within 15 days, give notice to the county clerk to terminate the registration. The owner shall remove the numbers and decals from the vessel

    BOAT REGISTRATION FEES

    Class A Vessels (less than 16’ in length)

    $21.00

    Class 1 Vessels (16’ to less than 26’ in length)

    $40.00

    Class 2 Vessels (26’ to less than 40’ in length)

    $50.00

    Class 3 Vessels (over 40’ in length)

    $65.00

    Inboard boats (regardless of size)

    $43.00

    Boats propelled by an electric (trolling) motor only

    $10.00

    The above costs do not include property taxes, clerks fees, titling fees or any otherapplicable charges. (301 KAR 6:005)

    BOAT, MOTOR and LAKE USAGE

    (301 KAR 1:012, 1:015)

    Maximum horsepower limits and other boat motor and lake usage regula- tions apply on many small public fish- ing lakes.

    MOTOR SIZE RESTRICTIONS:

    Operation of electric or internal combustion motors prohibited: Lake Chumley, Dennie Gooch Lake and Kingdom Come Lake.

    Operation of internal combustion motors prohibited: Bert T. Combs Lake, Briggs Lake, Carpenter and Kingfisher lakes, Carter Caves State Park Lake (a.k.a. Smoky Valley Lake),Lebanon City Lake (a.k.a. Fagan Branch Lake), Fishpond Lake, all Kentucky River WMA Boone Tract lakes (except Benjy Kinman Lake), Lincoln Homestead State Park Lake, McNeely Lake, Marion County Lake, Martin County Lake, Metcalfe County Lake, Mauzy Lake, Mill Creek Lake, Lake Reba, Spurlington Lake, Washburn Lake, Pikeville City Lake.

    Motors larger than 10 HP must operate at idle speed at all times on Beaver Lake, Boltz Lake, Bullock Pen Lake, Corinth Lake, Cranks Creek (Herb Smith) Lake, Elmer Davis Lake, Kincaid Lake, Martins Fork Lake and Shanty Hollow Lake.

    Idle Speed Only: Ballard WMA lakes, Benjy Kinman Lake, Boatwright WMA lakes, Beulah Lake, Carnico Lake, Greenbo Lake, Pan Bowl Lake,Wilgreen Lake and all Peabody WMA lakes in- cluding Goose, Island and South lakes.

    WATER-SKIING

    While this section is titled water- skiing, it applies to persons being towed on any device such as knee boards, inner tubes, etc. Water-skiing is only allowed between sunrise and sunset. Addition- ally, it is illegal to manipulate skis, surf- boards, etc. while intoxicated or under the influence ofany other substance that impairs one’s operating ability.

    Both the operator and skier should be alert to the areas of a lake or river marked as “no ski.” Persons shall not ski within 100 feet of acommercial boat dock, a moorage harbor or a swimming area or within 2,000 feet of a lock or dam. Skiers who ski too close to other boats, docks and obstructions are show- ing poor judgement. Many of the com- plaints officers receive while patrolling the water are those about skiers skiing too close.

    Persons being towed on any device must wear a Type I, II or III PFD. Boats (including personal watercraft) towing skiers must have, in addition to the op- erator of the boat, an observer 12 years of age or older or a wide angle rearview mirror mounted so that the operator can check on the skier but still give full at- tention to traffic ahead. There must be adequate seating for all riders.

    Boats towing kites and similar airborne devices must:

    • Have, in addition to the operator, an observer 12 years or older (mirror will not suffice),
    • Stay 500 feet from commercial docks and ramps
    • Limit the tow rope to 150 feet or less,
    • Have no more than two persons being towed.

    PERSONAL WATERCRAFT

    A “personal watercraft” (PWC) means a vessel which uses an internal combustion engine to power a jet pump for its primary source of propulsion and is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing or kneeling on the ves- sel rather than by a person sitting orstanding inside the vessel. In addition to being governed by the same laws that apply to all boats, the following laws ap- ply to personal watercraft:

    • Personal watercraft can only be oper- ated between sunrise and sunset.
    • Personal watercraft without self-cir- cling capability must have a lanyard- type engine kill switch attached to the operator when the craft is underway.
    • Operators and passengers must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD.)

    Because of their small size and low profile, operators of PWCs should ex- ercise defensive driving. These craft are highly responsive and capable of quick turns. In fact, this is part of the fun of their operation. However, this kind of operation is reckless if done incongested areas of boat traffic.

    SKIN and SCUBA DIVING

    (301 KAR 1:410, 6:030)

    Skin or SCUBA diving is prohibited in all lakes owned or managed by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, except during emergencies, on Greenbo Lake and during salvage operations when the diver has written permission from the regional director or local wildlife and boating law enforcement officer assigned to the specific body of water in which the diving is to take place.

    Persons diving or submerging with the aid of a mechanical breathing apparatus in an area where boats might be are required by law to displaythe diver’s flag.

    This flag should be put on a buoy, boat or other floating platform so boat- ers will readily see it. Approaching boats must stay outside of a 100-foot radius of the flag. Divers must surface within a 50- foot radius unless there is an emergency.

    Divers shall not dive in established traffic lanes nor interfere with anyone fishing unless emergency operations are in progress.

    DIVERS DOWN FLAGS

    Boaters should exercise caution

    DIVERS DOWN FLAGS

    Alpha Flag (left): Blue with a silver stripe, displayed on vessel with restricted mobility because of diving operation. Diver’s Flag (right): Red flag at least 12” x 12” with diagonal stripe at least three inches wide, displayed where diver is submerged.

    SWIMMING

    Swimming in any lake owned or managed by the KDFWR is prohibited except in areas specifically set aside for swimming at which a qualified lifeguard is on duty. Kentucky law specifically prohibits swimming at any boat launching ramp. Swim in marked and super- vised areas. If you are a nonswimmer or a poor swimmer, wear a PFD. Remember, PFDs are not just forboaters.

    Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages when swimming. Alcohol greatly reduces a person’s reflexes and strength when in the water. For persons who have had alcoholic beverages a PFD is the difference between life and death. Persons who wish to swim a long distance should swim parallel to the shore instead of across a river or lake. Boaters don’t normally expect to see swimmers in the middle of a lake or river and may run over them.

    INFLATABLES

    Air mattresses, inner tubes and oth- er similar devices are generally used as recreational items by persons swimming or sunbathing. Useof these items should be restricted to designated or generally recognized swimming areas and not be used in areas of boat traffic. Nonswim- mers or poor swimmers should not de- pend on these devices to save their life. These items can be punctured and lose their buoyancy – wear a PFD!

    LITTERING

    (KRS 433.757)

    The operator of any motorboat or vessel is responsible for any litter thrown into the water. Litter is not only un- sightly, but can be dangerous to humans and animals. For example, fishing line discarded into the water can be hazard- ous to wildlife and to a boat’s lower unit. Animals can be ensnared in the line and die. Fishing line caught on a prop shaft can cause seal leaks and lower unit fail- ure. Trot lines and limb lines can snare animals and other anglers in boats.

    BOAT OPERATION

    RECKLESS OPERATION

    The operator of a watercraft is re- sponsible for damage caused by negli- gent operation. The following actions are consideredreckless operation and are therefore against the law:

    • weaving through traffic;
    • following watercraft too closely that is towing an individual on waterskis, a surfboard or any water sport device;
    • jumping the wake of another craft in a way that endangers human life, physical safety or property;
    • cutting between a boat and the individual(s) being towed by the boat;
    • crossing the path of another boat when visibility is obstructed;
    • steering toward an object or individual in the water and turning sharply at close range.

    Persons shall not operate a motor- boat or personal watercraft within 50 feet of a commercial vessel and its tow that is in operation on a waterway, ex- cept if the operator of the commercial vessel has given consent.

    When operating in a busy area, reduce speed and allow plenty of room for avoidance maneuvers. Even in areas that are not marked as idle speed, excessive wake can still be dangerous. Operators of larger craft should be aware of the wake their vessels are throwing.

    IDLE SPEED

    Kentucky law defines idle speed as the “slowest speed possible to maintain maneuverability” of a boat. Generally speaking for a properly adjusted boat, this is the speed when a boat is put into gear without advancing the throttle. Wakes can capsize small boats or cause damage to boats moored at marinas and docks. It is extremely important that boat operators be aware of their speed and the resulting wake. Operators are liable for any injuries or damage caused by their boat’s wake.

    Boaters may see buoys or signs that say “No Wake.” This means that boats must be at idle speed.

    LOCKS AND DAMS

    Boaters in Kentucky may encoun- ter lock and dam systems. Generally, these will be on the Green, Ohio and Kentucky Rivers (for the first four locks upstream to Frankfort, KY), but a few impoundments have a lock and dam. Locks are a relatively simple method of raising or lowering boats from one wa- ter level to another. If lockage is desired, boaters should signal the lock operator by using the pull chain on each end of the lock or call on marine channel 13. If the lock is not immediately available, boaters should position their vessels a safe distance from the approach channel to avoid personal injury or dam- age to their boat from wakes caused by commercial tows entering or leaving the locks. Never moor a vessel in the lock approach channels.

    Dams associated with the locks can be very dangerous. Below all locks and dams, boat occupants must wear a personal floatation device (lifejacket) upstream of danger signs and open-di- amond buoys or within 150 feet of the downstream lock and dam wall.

    Anglers should never fish from or stand on lock and dam structures.

    Boaters should be alert for these structures. Dams are either conventional or “low head” type. Conventional dams are easily recognizable with their spill- ways and power installations.

    RESTRICTED ZONES

    (KAR 6:030)

    Kentucky law prohibits boats from operating within restricted areas as posted above or below navigation, power generating or flood control dams.

    No fish is worth risking your life. Be aware of trespassing and danger zones. Wear a PFD when entering any area above or below a dam.

    OPERATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

    (KRS 235.240)

    BLOOD ALCOHOL CONTENT CHART

    Body Weight (in pounds)

    Number of Drinks in a Two Hour Period

    12 oz. beer = 5 oz. wine = 1 oz. 80 proof liquor

    100

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9

    120

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9

    140

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9

    160

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9

    180

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9

    200

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9

    220

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9

    240

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9

    BAC to .05% - Be careful. Loss of judgement and coordination.

    BAC .05% to .07% - Abilities impaired. Chance of accident increased.

    BAC .08% and over - Do not operate a boat. High risk of accident, subject to arrest.

    It is against the law to operate a boat or vessel including personal watercraft, manipulate water skis, surfboard or other similar device while intoxicated or under the influence of any other substance that impairs one’s driving ability. Any person who operates a vessel on Kentucky waters is considered to have given consent to a test or tests to deter- mine his alcohol concentration or the presence of other drugs. The tests shall be administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that the operator is in- toxicated. An operator refusing the test shall be in violation of the law and sub- ject to the same penalties.

    Anyone who operates a boat, PWC, skis, surfboard or similar device while intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher or while under the influ- ence of any substance that impairs the operator’s driving ability may be subject to fines andpossible jail time if convicted.

    DRINKING IN PUBLIC and PUBLIC INTOXICATION

    (KRS 222.202)

    Kentucky law specifically prohibits the drinking of alcoholic beverages in public places (this excludes establish- ments licensed to sell such beverages) and the waterways of this state are con- sidered public places.

    Further, in a public place, persons who are manifestly under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that they may unreasonably annoy or endan- ger themselves or others shall be subject to arrest.

    PROHIBITED RIDING

    Approximately half of boat related fatalities result from falls overboard. When operating a motorboat above idle speed the operator or passengers shall not ride on an enclosed bow, outside protec- tive railing of a pontoon or houseboat, on a seat which extends six inches above the plane of the gunwales, nor shall they ride on the sides, back, engine cover, back of seat, or any other obviously dangerous position which could lead to falling overboard.

    RULES OF THE ROAD

    On the water there are no painted lines to mark where boats must go. In order to provide an orderly flow of traffic, there are “rules of the road” that boaters should learn and practice.

    Boaters on the water encounter three situations: meeting, crossing and overtaking. The following diagrams should give a clear explanation of who has the right of way (stand-on vessel) and who must give way (give-way vessel). However, in an emergency, all vessels must give way to avoid a collision. At night, a boat’s navigation lights give an indication of right of way (see page 36).

    The above rules cover most traffic situations, but a few other situations exist. Sailboats under sail have the right of way except when they are the overtaking vessel. Rowboats and paddle powered boats have the right of way over motorboats. All recreational craft should yield the right of way to large commercial craft (towboats, barges). Such vessels have large blind spots and will be unable to see smaller crafts in front of them.

    On small or narrow bodies of water, all traffic should stay to the right of mid-channel and not “cut corners”.

    BUOYS

    Buoys are the most common types of navigational aid, and they serve the same purpose as traffic signs on the highway. Failure to obey buoys can result in enforcement action, or worse, a loss of property or lives. When boating in unfamiliar waters, slow down and look for any regulatory or channel-marking buoys. Remember that it is possible for these buoys to drift out of position. Kentucky law prohibits from tying up to any buoy except designated mooring buoys.

    REQUIRED EQUIPMENT

    (301 KAR 6:020 Sect. 4); KRS 235.203

    For each person onboard a vessel, federal as well as state law requires a Type I, II, or III personal flotation device (PFD) on all boats. Boats 16 feet and over, except canoes and kayaks, must also carry one Type IV throwable PFD. Operators and passengers of personal watercraft must wear a PFD. Persons under 12 years of age must wear a PFD while in the open part of a boat that is under way.

    PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES

    Kentucky Fish and Wildlife strongly recommends wearing PFDs while boating, especially by children and nonswimmers. In order for PFDs to be legal, the following requirements must be met:

    • Coast Guard approved: A label with an approval number will be on the PFD. Check the label on inflatable types of PFDs. Some older models meet Coast Guard approval only when worn.
    • Serviceability: All straps, buckles, zippers, stitching, must be intact and the fabric should not be rotted. Some PFDs contain airtight bags filled with a fibrous material. Squeeze the bags. If air escapes, destroy the PFD and replace it with a new one.
    • Size: PFDs must fit properly. Read the label to determine size and weight restrictions.
    • Accessibility: PFDs must be readily available for immediate use by all occupants of a vessel. It is advisable for each person to try on their PFD before departing so that they are familiar with the fastening devices and to assure it is adjusted to the person. PFDs shouldn’t be stored in the plastic bags in which they were sold. This limits access and can promote rotting.

    TYPES OF PFDs

    Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) will now have a new style of label on the inside. Going forward, these devices will be referred to as either “throwable” or “wearable” and have a performance category indicated by an icon instead of the Type I, II, III, IV and V used previously. It will take many years for the older style of labels to be completely phased out and both styles will be in stores, on boats and in use for many years to come. Any PFD will the old label that is still serviceable will continue to be legal for use.

    TYPE I and TYPE II

    TYPE I (above) and TYPE II (right)

    These devices are designed, when worn properly, to turn a person who is unconscious and face down in the water to a vertical or slightly backward face up position.

    TYPE III

    TYPE III

    These are special purpose devices that include ski vests, fishing vests and float coats. They are not designed to turn a person’s face out of the water, but they do have the same buoyancy as the type I and II PFDs and are more comfortable to wear.

    TYPE IV

    TYPE IV

    These PFDs are designed to be thrown to persons in the water who can hold on to them until help arrives. They are not designed to be worn, and could cause drowning if worn on the back.

    TYPE V

    TYPE V

    These special use devices are to be worn for specific activities that will be described on the PFD’s label. To be effective, Type V PFDs must be used according to these specifications, and many must be worn at all times in order to qualify as a PFD.

    FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

    Kentucky law requires that all boats equipped with a petroleum product (gasoline, kerosene, propane, etc.) consuming device (engines, lanterns, stoves, etc.) shall have a hand portable fire extinguisher in serviceable condition and located for immediate use. Disposable (non-rechargeable) dry chemical fire extinguishers must be removed 12 years after the date of manufacture. These fire extinguishers generally have their year of manufacture stamped on the bottom or next to its UL label. A rechargeable extinguisher does not need removal from service after 12 years, but must be maintained annually by a technician. The best fire protection is well maintained equipment and proper safety habits.

    FIRE EXTINGUISHER TYPES

    MINIMUM NUMBER OF B-1 FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

    Vessel/ size

    No Fixed Fire Extinguisher System

    Fixed Fire Extinguisher SystemInstalled

    Class A

    1

    0

    Class 1

    1

    0

    Class 2

    2

    1

    Class 3

    3

    2

    MARINE FIRE EXTINGUISHER CLASSIFICATION

    Coast Guard Classes

    UL Listing

    Foam (gals.)

    CO2 (lbs.)

    Dry Chemical (lbs.)

    B-I

    5B

    1.25

    4

    2

    B-II

    6B*

    2.5

    15

    10

    10B

    none

    10

    2.5

    20B

    2.5

    50

    4.5 - 6

    BACKFIRE FLAME ARRESTERS

    Internal combustion engines may backfire. To safeguard against fire, all motorboats with enclosed engines and engines originally equipped with a flame arrester, (except outboards and diesels) must have an approved carburetor backfire flame arrester system on each carburetor.

    VENTILATION

    Most fires on a boat are due to ignition of fuel vapors. Gasoline is heavier than air. It can collect in the bilge or engine compartment and any spark can ignite it. Therefore, Kentucky law requires boats to have adequate ventilation of areas where flammable vapors can accumulate.

    Most boats are equipped with adequate ventilation systems when they come from the factory. Usually, this is a combination of active and passive systems. Active systems use electrical blowers to exhaust flammable vapors from the bilge and other areas. Passive systems are ducts and cowls that ventilate areas when the boat is moving. Almost all inboards will have an electrical blower installed in the engine compartment. Operators should run the blower for several minutes before starting the engine. If the blower is inoperable it should be repaired or replaced immediately. Many boat fires take place after refueling, so care should be taken to avoid spilling fuel in the vessel.

    NAVIGATION LIGHTS

    DISPLAY OF NAVIGATION LIGHTS

    All vessels when underway between sunset and sunrise must display proper navigation lights. Navigation lights on boats are restricted to the colors of red, green and white. From sunset to sunrise in an area where other boats navigate, all vessels at anchor shall display a steady white light visible 360 degrees at all times. Manually propelled vessels shall carry a white light to display in sufficient time to avoid a collision.

    The purpose of the red and green navigation lights at night is to show if your boat is in a meeting, crossing or overtaking situation. The red and green lights must be displayed from sunset to sunrise whenever a boat is underway. They will give some indication of the size and speed of vessels. The red and green bow lights are especially helpful in determining right of way in crossing situations. In the diagram below, boat B sees the green bow light of boat A, and has the right of way to continue on course. Boat A sees the red bow light of boat B and must stop or pass astern of boat B. In special circumstances, such as towing, refer to 33 CFR 83 (Inland Navigation Rules).

    SIGNALING DEVICES

    SIGNALING DEVICES

    Kentucky law states that all boats 16 feet in length or longer must have a hand-, mouth- or power-operated signaling device capable of producing a blast for two seconds or more and audible for one-half mile for class 1 vessels, one mile for class two vessels and one and one-half miles for class three vessels. This does not exempt vessels from any other signaling device as may be required by federal law when operating on navigable waters of this state.

    Navigation law also requires the following maneuvering and warning signals:

    • One long blast: Warning signal (coming out of slip)
    • One short blast: Pass on my port side (left)
    • Two short blasts: Pass on my starboard (right)
    • Three short blasts: Engines in reverse • Five or more blasts: Danger signal

    MUFFLING DEVICES

    Kentucky law requires all boats to be equipped with effective exhaust muffling devices. Usually, boats and motors that come direct from the manufacturer are adequately muffled. However, there may be instances of high performance boats that have been modified by the owners that are not in compliance with the law. Additionally, there may be federal and/or local regulations restricting boats with an over-the-transom exhaust system.

    MARINE SANITATION DEVICES

    (KRS 235:420)

    Motorboats with marine toilets are not allowed on public waters unless the toilet is equipped with a Type I, II or III marine sanitation device (MSD.) Type I and II MSDs chemically treat sewage. Type III MSDs are holding tanks for raw sewage.

    Raw sewage shall not be discharged in any public waters. Treated sewage may be discharged from a marine toilet into legal “discharge” waters. Those waters are Barkley and Kentucky lakes, Lake Cumberland and any of the major river systems. Type I and II MSDs must be sealed or locked while the vessel is on “no discharge” waters.

    ACCIDENTS

    (301 KAR 6:030, KRS 235.250)

    REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

    If any of the following conditions occur as the result of a boating accident, collision, etc., a Boating Accident Report must be made:

    • death or disappearance of a person;
    • injury to a person which requires medical attention or incapacitates that person for 24 hours or more;
    • loss or damage to property (including the vessel) in an amount of $500 or more.

    The operator of a vessel is required to complete the report. If the operator is not capable of filing the report and is not the owner of the vessel, then the owner shall be required to fill out a boating accident report.

    Note 1: Even if a Law Enforcement Officer fills out a boating accident report, this does not exempt the operator from filing a report.

    Note 2: The reports filed by operators of vessels are confidential and are not available as public record (KRS 235.250). However, reports made by officers are available for review.

    Accidents involving death or serious injury must be submitted to the Division of Law Enforcement within 48 hours. All others must be submitted within five days.

    Boating accident report forms are available from wildlife and boating law enforcement officers or by writing to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Division of Law Enforcement, #1 Sportsman’s Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601, calling 1-800- 858-1549, or online at fw.ky.gov.

    RENDERING AID

    An operator of a vessel involved in a boating accident shall render aid to other persons and vessels as long as it doesn’t endanger his crew, passengers or vessel. Also, the operator of any vessel involved in an accident shall give his name, address, and identification of his vessel, in writing, to any person that is injured or to the owner of any property that is damaged.

    FIRST AID

    This section includes suggestions that may save a life. First, boats should be equipped with a first aid kit. This kit should be able to provide treatment for burns, insect bites, cuts and abrasions.

    Second, boaters should take a first aid course so they know how to treat victims with sprains, broken bones and shock.

    Third, boaters should know how to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in case they encounter victims of near drowning, heart attack or trauma from boating accidents. In many cases, emergency medical help is further away on the water than on land. Interested persons should contact their local chapter of the American Red Cross for information on first aid and CPR training.

    HYPOTHERMIA

    Four elements cause hypothermia – cold, moisture, wind and exhaustion. Symptoms of hypothermia are uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, stumbling, blue skin, decreased heart and breathing rate, weak pulse and unconsciousness.

    All hypothermia symptoms demand immediate attention. As soon as possible, a victim of hypothermia should be brought out of the weather. Wet clothing should be replaced with dry clothing. If the victim shows mild symptoms, get them near a fire or other heat source or put them in a warm sleeping bag. For victims with advanced symptoms of hypothermia, seek immediate medical attention. Never give alcohol to the victim.

    The best cure for hypothermia is prevention. Monitor weather reports when you plan to be in the outdoors. Dress in layers and always have foul weather gear handy.

    FATIGUE

    Boaters should be aware of the factors that induce fatigue while on the water. The wind, sun, engine noise and constant motion of the boat can greatly reduce a person’s reaction time.