What Fishing Bait Is Illegal?

Before using fishing bait, a question comes to mind: What fishing bait is illegal? Live fishing bait is illegal in several states. It depends on the regulations of certain states. Although there are some general rules of thumb for fishing bait, it is important to know your state’s exact fishing bait regulations.

Some live fishing baits are restricted due to their negative impact on the environment and fish reproduction. This restriction may be different depending on the region and types of bait.

In this guide, I will talk about restricted fishing bait based on different fishing states of America. So, let’s move forward to know the details.

Which Types Of Fishing Bait Are Prohibited Regardless Of State?

Here I share some common fishing bait prohibited in almost all states.

Live non-native species:

Non-native live bait species are prohibited from catching fish. Non-native live bait may increase the invasive species later. That is why using non-native live bait is restricted in almost all states.

Toxic substances:

Using chemical and pesticide-like substances is prohibited in all areas of the United States. A chemical substance is harmful to both fish and the ecosystem.

Certain animal products:

Endangered species and protected animal parts are prohibited to use as bait. It can help to protect endangered species and prevent illegal wildlife.

Multiple hooks or gang hooks:

Using multiple hooks or gang hooks together is illegal in some states. The gang hook can often be life-threatening to the fish that run away from the catch. So, it is prohibited to prevent cruelty.

Fishing Bait Prohibition Based On The Specific States


Minnows, shads, and sucker fish can be used as live bait to catch fish in certain water of Alabama. Minnow baskets, dip nets, cast nets, and minnow jugs are good options for carrying live bait while fishing. Besides, bream fish is also legal to use as a live bait.


All types of live bait for freshwater are prohibited in Alaska but are allowed for saltwater. Good to know that you can use live bait for saltwater fish like Herring, whitefish, and other species. These types of fish do not have any seasonal harvesting time.


Using live bait is allowed in certain areas of Arizona. The golden shiner and goldfish are allowed to use as live bait in all legal fishing areas.


Live bait is legal in Arkansas. But the live bait should be collected from the similar water where you will cast. But you also can use firmed baitfish from a certified dealer.


Luckily, you can use varieties of native and non-native small fish as live bait in California. But this rule may change depending on the different districts.


Colorado allows fishing with live bait except for some areas and fish species. For example, bluegill, hybrid bluegill, gizzard shad carp, sunfish, yellow perch, and rainbow smelt can be used as live bait in Colorado.


Personal uses of live bait are legal in Connecticut states. Do note that creek chub, Common shiner, black nose dace, fallfish, fathead and bluntnose minnow, golden shiner and spot tail shiner are some common species you can use as live or dead bait in Connecticut.

Besides, the cut lip minnow, white sucker, chub sucker, killifish, longnose dace, tidewater silverside, frogs, pearl dace and Atlantic sand lance are allowed in Connecticut.


Using live minnows is allowed in Delaware to catch fish. Another species is not legal to use


Florida is partially illegal to catch fish with live bait. However, spotted sunfish, flier, warmouth, Whole pickerel or panfish, and bluegill are legal to use live bait here. Do note that black bass, peacock bass, or any part thereof are prohibited in Florida. Besides, you can’t use non-native live bait except variable platys and fathead minnows.


The Georgia fishing authority has allowed certain fish species to use as live bait. Gizzard shad Minnows, blueback herring and threadfin shad, are some allowed fish species used in Georgia.


The uses of live bait are legal in Hawaii state. But the anglers require to have a license for live bait.


Live bait is illegal in Idaho state. However, you can catch fish with nightcrawlers, worms, grubs, and wax. In that case, you must ensure that the baits are caught from the similar water you will fish from.


Shad, minnows, and crayfish are considered legal live bait in Illinois. Cast nets, shad scoops, and minnow seines easily catch this bait from water.


All types of legally caught fish are allowed to use as live bait in Indiana. In that case, the fishing anglers should have to carry the bag for specific species. Do note that moving carp, gizzard shad and Live baitfish from one water to another is not allowed.


Some certain species are used as live bait in Iowa. Orange-spotted sunfish, Minnows, crayfish, salamanders, green sunfish and mussels are some live baits you can use in Iowa. Also, note that Gizzard shad is allowed to use dead bait.


Baitfish are allowed in Kansas as live bait. Besides, some more species in Kansas are legal to use as live bait. The minnow or carp family, sucker family, top minnows or killifish family, and sunfish family are most commonly used as live bait in Kansas.


  • What is the most used fishing bait?

It is said that the old-fashioned worm is the most used fishing bait. Although worms are live bait, they are not banned. There are very few states where worms are banned. The fisherman uses redworms or nightcrawlers to catch panfish.

  • Can you use other fish as bait?

Yes, you can use other fish as bait. Live goldfish and carp are used a lot as live bait. Besides, some popular live bait fish are redear sunfish, pickerel or panfish bluegill, spotted sunfish, flier, and warmouth redbreast sunfish.

Final Words:

We hope you understand what fishing bait is illegal in which states. Not all bait is legal in all states. The regulation of using fishing bait may vary depending on the fishing locations and the fish species. However, there have some species that are banned in all states. The toxic, chemical and harmful fish species are banned in all states.

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