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Arkansas Fishing Regulations and Resources
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Arkansas Fishing Regulations

Arkansas fishing resources at Arkansas fishing resources


Fishing in Arkansas

 Game Fish Daily Limits
star Check your destination under Regulations for Arkansas Lakes or Regulations for Flowing Waters.  Some locations have a different length limit, daily limit or slot limit. 

Daily Limit

  Alligator Gar 2
star Bass, Black
Spotted, Smallmouth combined
  Bass Rock 10
star Bass, Striped  (including hybrid stripers) 6
  Bass Smallmouth See Zone Map 4
  Bass, White  25
  Bass Yellow No Limit
star Bream (bluegill, redear, longear, warmouth and other sunfishes combined) 50
  Bream (shorter than 4 inches) No Limit
star Catfish (channel, blue, flathead combined) 10
  Catfish, bullhead No Limit
star Crappie ( black, white/combined)  See Zone Map
  Muskie, Tiger  6
  Northern Pike 6
star Paddlefish 2
  Pickerel 6
  Sauger 6
star Saugeye 6
star Trout (rainbow, brown, cutthroat, brook combined) 5
  star Brook Trout (Minimum length limit 14 inch) 2
  star Brown Trout (Minimum length limit 16 inch) 2
  star Cutthroat Trout (Min. length limit 16 inch) 2
star Walleye 6
Daily Aggregate Limit (Maximum number of fish allowed to be taken from midnight to midnight) 75
Possession Limit 2X Daily Limit
Spearfishing Limit 1/2 Daily Limit
Snagging Limit 1/2 Daily Limit
Daily Limits and Size Restrictions reflect variations in species
productivity and fishing pressure. A daily limit includes the number of fish of one species (or group of species) allowed to be taken from midnight to the next midnight. Fishermen are allowed to have only one daily limit of fish while fishing or returning from a one day fishing trip.
Minimum Length Limit - The shortest length of a fish of a designated species (measured from the front of the lower jaw with the mouth closed to the tip of the tail with tail lobes pressed together)

that an angler may keep. Fish not meeting the minimum length requirement for a particular water or species must be released immediately into the water where caught. The purpose of a minimum length limit is to maintain a consistent breeding population of fish where natural reproduction does not keep up with fishing pressure.
Protected Slot Limit - A limit which prohibits anglers from keeping fish within a designated size range of a species and which requires those fish to be released immediately into the waters where caught. The purpose of establishing protected slot limits is to promote fish growth to larger sizes.
Fish Cleaning - While fishing in waters designated as having a length or slot limit on any kind of fish, you may not possess a fish that has been filleted or had its head or tail removed. Check your destination to see whether length or slot limits apply.
Using Live Fish for Bait - Using baitfish include bluntnose minnows, bullhead minnows, chubs, crayfish, dace, fatheads, common carp under six inches, small goldfish, shiners, stonerollers, logperch (also called sand pike or zebra minnows), shad, gar (other than alligator gar), drum, bowfin under six inches, skipjack herring, silversides (brook and inland), buffalo (bigmouth, smallmouth, and black), river carpsucker, sculpin (banded and Ozark) and bream under four inches long. Bream longer than four inches may be used as bait only if first taken by hook and line and are subject to daily limit restrictions.

With the exception of shad, baitfish may not be taken in the area within 100 yards below a dam.

During daylight hours, baitfish may be taken using

  • seines no larger than 50 feet long and four feet wide with ¼ inch mesh;

  • traps or lifts no larger than six feet by six feet by three feet with ½ inch mesh and with a throat size of two inches or smaller;

  • cast nets with a one inch (or smaller) mesh;

  • shad trawl nets with one inch (or smaller) mesh;

  • glass, plastic or wire mesh minnow traps no larger than one gallon with a 1½ inch (or smaller) throat;

  • hand-operated dip nets or lifts with one inch (or smaller ) square bar mesh for use while sportfishing. This method may be used day or night. All other species of fish should be immediately released.


A fishing license is required to take bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken from noon, April 15 through December 31. Legal methods to take bullfrogs are using hands, hand nets, hook and line, gig, spear, or bow and arrow. The limit is 18 per day, meaning from noon to noon.
The possession limit is 36. Bullfrogs may not be sold.  (Fish farmers may be exempted from these regulations).

Suckers include redhorse, hogsucker, white and spotted suckers. The daily limit is 20, the possession limit is 40. It is legal to take suckers by sportfishing or, within their respective seasons, hogging, snagging or gigging. See Fishing Methods and Regulations for Hogging season. Suckers may be snagged between sunrise and sunset, from April 1 to February 15. Gigging of suckers is allowed only between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight from September 15 to February 15.

 Alligator Snapping Turtles

Alligator snapping turtles (loggerheads) or their eggs may not be taken from the wild or imported into Arkansas. Contact the Fisheries Division (501-223-6371) for possession requirements.

Arkansas Trout Fishing Certain regulations are unique to trout waters. The following is not meant to represent all of the trout regulations. The table on page 22 of the 2003
Arkansas Fishing Regulations Guidebook shows daily and length limits. Check regulations on pages 63-71 for your destination.

Only one rod or pole may be used, and it must be attended at all times, on many trout streams. These include Beaver Lake tailwaters, Greers Ferry tailwaters, Norfork tailwaters, Bull Shoals tailwaters and Spavinaw Creek. No more than two rods or poles may be used on Spring River, Blanchard Springs and the Lake Greeson tailwaters. These must also be attended at all times.


A trout permit is required to keep trout from any state waters or to fish in the tailwaters below Beaver Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, Lake Norfork, Greers Ferry Lake or east of Highway 59 on Spavinaw Creek. Anglers under 16 or holders of the $1,000 Lifetime License don't need a trout permit.


Trout may not be driven, harassed or pursued with noise, objects, boats or by wading to concentrate them.


A guide may not give away his or her fish if it causes the recipient to exceed his or her daily limit.


In trout waters designated as catch-and-release, baits such as marshmallows, salmon eggs, and moldable substances (for example, POWER BAIT,® POWER EGGS® or Zeke's Gold®) are not allowed. Baits like these contribute to excessive mortality when the fish is unhooked.


In catch-and-release waters, only artificial lures with one, single barbless hooking point per pole may be used. (In the brown trout catch-and-release area in the Bull Shoals tailwaters, a treble hook may be used in season. See the White River section of Regulations for Flowing Waters.) Trout must be released immediately to the water. Check your destination in the Regulations for Flowing Waters, to see whether it is designated as a catch-and-release area or if any special regulations apply.


Chumming is not allowed in trout waters designated as catch and release. Chumming is defined as follows: "to dislodge or deposit any substance not attached to a hook which may attract fish."  Check your destination in the Regulations for Flowing Waters, to see whether it is designated as a catch-and-release area or if any special regulations apply.


Anglers may not cull rainbow trout. Once an angler has retained a rainbow trout on a stringer, in a livewell or in a fish basket, then the rainbow trout may not be subsequently released. The only exception is that a rainbow trout longer than 16 inches may be temporarily retained in a livewell for measuring, weighing and photographing before being released.

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