Whether you’re looking to fly-Fish for trout or target a “reservoir hog” bass, Arizona has plenty of opportunities for anglers. Here’s all the rules you’ll need to know before hitting the water.
Anyone 10 years or older must have a valid Arizona Fishing license in order to legally fish. However, there are a few exceptions:
-Fishing on a free fishing day, as designated by the State.
-Fishing on a private pond
Complimentary licenses are available for residents 70 years and older. To qualify, a person must have lived in Arizona for 25 consecutive years or longer. Disabled veterans who’ve lived in Arizona for at least one year are also eligible for a free license.
Fishing licenses are valid for one year. A general fishing license, which allows you to fish for all species in any body of water, costs $37 for residents and $55 for non-residents. A daily license can be purchased for $15 for residents and $20 for nonresidents.
A cheaper license is available for anglers who only fish in ponds that are part of the state’s Community Fishing Program. This license costs $24 for both residents and nonresidents.
Active members of the military who are stationed in Arizona may apply for a resident license. This rule also applies to their spouse. Anglers must have a license in their possession while fishing.
For anglers wishing to fish in Utah’s portion of Lake Powell, they must purchase an $8 stamp must from a Utah license dealer.
–Anglers can fish with only two poles or lines at a time. Lines may not be left in the water unattended.
-Anglers are limited to using two hooks per line or two artificial flies per line. They’re also limited to one lure per line. The lure may have more than one hook.
-Anglers cannot snatch fish. The lure or hook must be presented in a way that a fish voluntarily takes it with their mouth.
-Some waters have special rules for lures and flies. Check here for a full list.
-Bow and spear fishing are allowed in certain instances. Check here for a full list of regulations.
-Live baitfish can only be used in certain waters that are approved for certain species. Baitfish can be caught with hook and lines, nets or traps.
While standard limits apply for most bodies of water, there are certain exceptions. In addition, most fish do not have a size limit. However, there are also a few exceptions.
Here’s a full list of the bag and size limits.
Anglers may not fish for a certain species once they’ve kept their bag limit. Culling is not allowed. Once a fish is caught and an angler decides not to release it, it counts toward the bag limit.
For fish with size limits, measure from the nose to the end of the pinched tail.
Anglers cannot possess more than twice the daily bag limit at any time, even at home.
Further, anglers cannot fish for a species while possessing twice the daily bag limit. Anglers must consume or give away all or part of their limit before fishing for that species.
Anglers cannot transport live fish. All fish must be killed or released before an angler can leave the body of water. When transporting fish, there must be a way to identify the species.
Anglers must either leave fish whole, or leave a portion of skin on the carcass or filet. If a length limit applies, the fish’s head and tail must remain in tact so a measurement can be taken.
Diseases and invasive species
The state has implemented special requirements to help stop the spread of diseases and aquatic invasive species. Whirling disease is one of the biggest threats. It infects and kills trout but poses no threat to humans. The disease is primarily spread through infected fish or fish parts. It can also spread through contaminated fishing gear.
Quagga mussels are the primary threat for invasive species. To stop the spread, the state requires boaters in certain waters to take measures to decontaminate their watercraft. Boaters who’ve used those bodies of water for five consecutive days or less must:
-Clean and remove all material that’s clinging to the boat.
-Remove the boat’s plugs and drain all water.
-Dry the boat.
Boaters who’ve used the bodies of water for longer must follow those steps, plus:
-Remove all mussels attached to the boat.
-Flush engine with hot pressurized water.
-Keep the boat out of water for 18 straight days between November through April. Between May and October, the boat must be kept out of the water for 7 consecutive days.
-Fill out an Aquatic Invasive Species Inspection Report with the state.
These requirements apply to boaters using the following bodies of lakes:
-The rules also apply to the Lower Colorado River, Lees Ferry and the Lower Salt/Verde rivers.
The state also recommends the following to help stop the spread of whirling disease:
-Do not transport live fish or fish parts from one body of water to another.
-Rinse all mud and debris from fishing gear.
-Allow gear to fully dry between fishing trips.
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