Besides being the owner of a fishing license and permit, there are several other regulations that you have to be aware of when you go fishing in Kentucky. We made a short summary of the most important ones, set out by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.
Methods and gear
You can’t use more than two fishing trotlines, 50 jug lines or 25 set lines and they must be permanently labeled. You must bait and check your trotlines, jug line or set line at least once every 24 hours.
You can use snagging to catch your fish, but there’s a statewide season for gigging and snagging that lasts from February the 1st through May the 10th. It’s not allowed to practice jigging or snagging from a boat or platform, except when you’re gigging on a 500 acres lake during daylight. There are several locations where jigging and snagging are strictly prohibited.
You can go bow fishing anywhere in the state as long as it’s not within 200 yards of a dam. Fishermen and women can bow fish any time of the year, and they can use a bow, crossbow, compound bow or recurve bow as well as devices that use pneumatic launching of the arrows.
Spearfishing is allowed on lakes that have a surface of at least 1000 acres, and there’s a limit of 15 fish. If you’re going after catfish, you can only include 5 of them in the daily limit.
Gigging, snagging, bow fishing and spearfishing are accepted as long as you target rough fish. These species are not included in the list of precise regulations.
Culling is allowed in the state of Kentucky when an angler is under their daily limit, but the rule doesn’t apply for trout fishing.
The daily limit for black bass species is 6, and the minimum size for harvested fish is 12 inches when it comes to largemouth and smallmouth bass. The same daily limit is valid for walleye, sauger, and saugeye, with an increase in size limits (walleye and saugeye must be 15 inches in length). There’s no size limit statewide for the spotted bass and the Coosa bass.
You can take home up to 15 rock bass as well as white and hybrid striped bass on the condition that no more than five white and hybrid striped bass are longer than 15 inches.
Other species that are mentioned by the Department are chain pickerel and striped bass, both with a daily bag limit of 5 fish. The later one has to be at least 15 inches.
Fishing regulations for redear fish have a generous limit of 20 fish per day, with no size limit. You are also allowed to harvest up to 30 black or white crappies in a day. The species for which the regulations have no size or number limits are northern pike and yellow bass.
It is allowed to fish one muskellunge a day, with a minimum size of 30 inches, but you can’t go home with a lake sturgeon, as the policy is catch-and-release all across the state.
General regulations allow fishermen to keep a number of 8 rainbow or brown trout as a daily harvest in any combination, as long as they don’t have more than three brown trout. There’s also a size limit of 12 inches for brown trout.
Brook trout, on the other hand, are subject to catch and release when you’re not fishing on the Cumberland River. On this river and at four other locations there is a minimum size and daily creel regulation.
There are at least 40 streams in the state that are used for stocking, and some have a catch and release season for rainbow and brown trout. It usually lasts from October until the end of March.