Is It Illegal to Fish at Night?

Is it illegal to fish at night in the USA? This is indeed a very simple question; however, the answer is quite complex. It is because the USA has various laws applicable in all its States. 

Is It Illegal to Fish at Night

It may be legal in one State but entirely illegal in the other State. Moreover, it also happens that a particular State does not have any regulations, but a few areas or water bodies do. For further details, I suggest you read out the following complete article. 

Illegal To Fish At Night

When it comes to the United States Of America, one can never be sure about the legalities. This is because there are different laws and regulations applicable in each State. So, if you really want to be sure whether or not it is legal to fish at night, you need to narrow your search down to a specific State or a list of States you want to explore. 

On the other hand, you could also broaden your search and study the fishing laws and regulations applicable in all States of America. Of course, it is a very time-consuming job, but you can make things easier by separating all those States that do not have any night fishing laws. This will narrow your choice down to the states that do have restrictions on night fishing. 

Illegal To Fish At Night

The good news is that you do not have to do the search on your own; I have performed all the research and narrowed down the choices for your convenience. In the following table, I have listed down all the names of the States that have some kind of laws or regulations relating to night fishing. 

In doing so, I have left out the names of the States that do not have any kind of laws or regulations for night fishing. So, if you can not find the name of a specific State in the following table, it is because that State doesn’t have any such laws. It also means that it is good news for you if you live in such States since you won’t have to worry about any laws before you decide to take a fishing trip at night!

US StatesNight Fishing Law
CaliforniaThere are different freshwater and saltwater rules
ColoradoAlways open to night fishing except a few areas
ConnecticutDate wise rules, generally legal
DelawareSpecie specific rules
GeorgiaNot allowed in public fishing areas
HawaiiAllowed, but not in all areas
IndianaLaws applicable only to the Ohio river
IowaSpecie and vessel specific rules
KansasAllowed in most public waters
KentuckyWaterbody specific rules
LouisianaOnly allowed during Experimental Nighttime Activity Season
MinnesotaNight fishing laws do exist
MissouriSpecie and style specific rules
MontanaOnly allowed during open season
NebraskaSpecie and style specific rules
New HampshireSpecie specific rules for freshwaterNo rules for recreational saltwater
New MexicoWater body specific rules
New YorkTackle and specie specific rules for freshwaterNo rules for recreational saltwater
North CarolinaLimited to park operating hours
North DakotaWaterbody specific rules
OhioWaterbody specific rules for sports fishing
OklahomaWaterbody and method specific regulations
OregonSpecie specific rules
TennesseeWaterbody specific rules
UtahWaterbody specific rules
VermontSpecie and specific rules
VirginiaWaterbody, technique, and specie specific rules
WashingtonFrom one hour before the sunrise to one hour before the sunset in most areas
West VirginiaMost waters open to night fishing
WisconsinWaterbody specific rules

USA State-Wise Night Fishing Regulations

If you were here solely to find out the names of the states that have night fishing laws, then the above table might have helped you immensely. However, if you want to delve deeper and study various States separately, then you must keep reading down below. 

USA State-Wise Night Fishing Regulations

1. Alabama

Alabama does not have any specific fishing regulations either for the day or for the night. It means that you can take a fishing trip in the Alabama waters whenever you feel like it. However, you must keep in mind that there are certain water safety laws applicable in this State. 

These safety measures include turning on both the front and rear view lights of the boat throughout the night. In addition to that, you must also use a one-inch gill or trammel net to catch the fish. Other than that, the buoys of floats should be fully visible on the waterline. 

2. Alaska

Alaska does not have any night fishing regulations because there are hardly any night hours in this State. In fact, most of the parts of Alaska do not go dark for weeks or even months at a time. Hence, this issue is not addressed in their by-laws. 


3. Arizona

Arizona State does not have such laws pertaining to night fishing either. However, people are advised to use proper lighting during the night while fishing. 

4. Arkansas

Arkansas does not have any laws relating to night fishing. However, they are very specific about the lighting system of the boat at night. 


5. California

Californian fishing laws are different for various fishing bodies and daylight hours. For instance, in freshwater bodies, you can catch any kind of fish during the day time, but certain limitations apply during the night. You can not catch a few kinds of fish, such as Trout and Salmon, at night. 

In Saltwater bodies, you can not catch invertebrate fish either during the day or at night. However, there are certain places where you can do it legally. 

6. Colorado

In Colorado, there are no night fishing rules applicable. However, there are certain restrictions on a few water bodies relating to timings and the type of fish allowed to get caught. 


7. Connecticut

Connecticut does not have any generic laws that apply to all areas of the State. In fact, this State has very specific laws that apply area-wise. So, you will have to perform a detailed analysis of the particular area you are interested in. 

8. Delaware 

In Delaware, you are not allowed to catch certain types of fish, including Hybrid species, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Brown Trout. Other than that, night fishing boat safety rules apply to all water bodies. 


9. Florida

In Florida, there are no hard and fast rules for night fishing. However, I would suggest that you check your water body to see if any laws apply to that particular body. 

10. Georgia

Georgia does not allow night fishing at all, plain and simple! However, you may check various water bodies by name to see if they would allow night fishing. 


11. Hawaii

Night fishing is not illegal in Hawaii entirely. In fact, there are few places that allow night fishing without any restrictions. However, you need to watch out for places that do have restrictions. 

12. Idaho

Idaho doesn’t have any specific or general night fishing laws or regulations. However, that does not mean that all the water bodies will be open for you. Some water bodies might be shut off to keep people from fishing there after dusk. 


13. Illinois

Illinois does not have any night fishing laws. In fact, this State does not have any fishing laws day or night whatsoever! It means that you can fish there freely. 

14. Indiana

Indiana does not have any specific night fishing laws or regulations. However, you can not catch Catfish at night. 


15. Iowa

In Iowa, there are very strict night fishing laws. In fact, you can not fish at night with or without permission/license. 


How do I know if night fishing is allowed in my area?

The easiest way to check if your area permits night fishing is by checking if the area is open for fishers at night. If the area is closed, it means that night fishing is not permitted. However, if it is open, then for further clarification, you must check the website to see if fishing is particularly disallowed in that area. 

The Bottom Line

So, it is safe to say that there are different night fishing laws in place in different States of the USA. In fact, you will find that within each State, there are certain rules depending upon the area and water body of your choice. You can never be sure whether night fishing is permitted or not. 

So, I would suggest that you check out the area on the website before you decide to take a trip at night. However, certain areas are closed off at night, so for those places, you don’t have to search the website. 

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