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Arkansas Fishing License and Regulations

Before you go Fishing in Arkansas, here’s what you need to know about licenses and regulations

Fishing licenses 

All Anglers 16 years and older must have a fishing licenses. Discount licenses are available for senior and disabled anglers, as well as disabled veterans.

A yearly resident license costs $10.50, and a three-day license costs $6.50. Nonresidents must pay $50 for an annual license. A three-day license costs $16, and a seven-day license costs $25.

Anglers fishing for trout must buy a trout stamp. The stamp costs residents $5 and nonresidents $12. To harvest alligator gar, anglers must obtain a free stamp.

There are several rivers in Arkansas that act as state boundaries, including the Mississippi and St. Francis. The state has reciprocal agreements with several neighboring states. Those agreements allow residents to fish in neighboring waters without a separate license.

General fishing regulations 

-Anglers may not waste any edible parts of a fish, unless for rough fish. Rough fish include gar- but not alligator gar – and carp.

-Use game fish or their parts for bait, except for bream. All bream used for bait must be caught by hook-and-line.

-When fishing for rainbow trout, anglers are not allowed to cull. Culling is keeping a fish but later releasing to keep a bigger fish within the daily bag limit.

-Anglers are not allowed to “herd” trout into confined areas by using noise or vehicles. Anglers also cannot chum for trout in designated catch-and-release waters.

-Anglers can’t have cleaned fish while fishing in waters that are catch-and-release only. This rule also applies to waters with length and slot limits. In these scenarios, kept fish must still contain their heads and tails.

-Baitfish may be caught and used in more waters. Here’s the full list of regulations.

-Anglers may snag fish. However, all snagged sport fish must be kept. Anglers who snag fish may only keep half the daily bag limit. A full limit of catfish and paddlefish may be kept.

Technique-specific regulations 

Arkansas has a strong tradition of non-typical fishing techniques. The state allows anglers to take fish in a variety of ways other than hook-and-line. This includes noodling (or grabbing a fish underwater), bowfishing, spearfishing, gigging and snagging. Anglers are also allowed to use floating jugs or noodles, trotline or limb lines and yo-yo devices. Each of these techniques has their own set of regulations. Here’s a breakdown.

Bowfishing, spearfishing, and gigging 

-Anglers may take rough fish while bowfishing. Rough fish include gar, bowfin, common carp, Asian carp, suckers, bullheads and drum.

-In order to bowfish for alligator gar, anglers must have a special permit. Alligator gar larger than 36 inches cannot be taken between May 1 and July 1.

-Anglers may take catfish through bowfishig between July 15 and May 1. The bowfishing limit is half of the daily bag limit.

-Spearfishing is limited to certain bodies of water and species. Here’s a full list of the rules.

-Gigging is allowed from 10 a.m. to midnight between Sept. 15 and Feb. 15. Gigging is limited to rough fish. Only one alligator gar may be taken by gigging per 24-hour period.

Noodling 

-Noodling is taking fish with their bare hands. Anglers may only noodle buffalo, catfish, carp and drum.

-Anglers may only keep half of the daily bag limit while noodling.

-For a full list of seasons and waters that allow noodling, click here.

Jug and noodle 

-Anglers may use up to 20-free floating devices with lines attached. The devices must be clearly marked and have the angler’s name, address and driver’s license number.

-Anglers may only leave the floats unattended from sunrise to sunset.

Trotlines, setlines and limb lines 

-Anglers are allowed to use setlines in most areas. Hooks must be separated 24 inches from each other. Lines must be checked every day.

-Anglers must mark their lines with their name, address and driver’s license information on the shore where lines are attached.

Yo-yo fishing 

-Anglers can fish with up to 30 yo-yo fishing devices, which are attached to trees and other objects.

-The devices may be unattended overnight. During the day, anglers must be within sight or sound of these devices. Only one device may be hung from a single line or tree.

-Anglers must write their name, address and driver’s license number on their device.

Daily limits 

Generally speaking, standard limits apply throughout the state. However, bag limits are different in some specific waters, as well as when using certain fishing techniques. The possession limit is twice the amount of the daily bag limit. Anglers cannot have more than the possession limit. However, fish that have been cleaned and stored at a person’s legal residence do not count toward that limit.

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