Hook-and-Line Regulations

Definition of a Hook:

  • A single-, double- or treble-pointed hook counts as one hook.
  • All hooks attached to an artificial bait or lure are counted as one hook.

Ponds, Lakes, or Reservoirs:

  • Anglers are limited to two lines with a maximum of two hooks on each line.
  • This rule applies to all lakes, ponds, or reservoirs, including inlets, outlets, and canals within one-half mile of these bodies of water.

Ice-Fishing:

  • Five lines with two hooks on each line are permitted.
  • Each line must be under direct supervision and within unaided observation of the angler.
  • Holes made for ice-fishing may not exceed 10 inches in diameter.
  • A special $5 permit is required for a permanent shelter on state recreation areas and wildlife management area lakes.

Rivers or Streams:

  • A total of 15 hooks are allowed, distributed among the lines as follows:
    • 15 lines each with a single hook attached, or
    • Three lines with a maximum of five hooks attached each.
  • Anglers must be one-half mile from any lake, pond, or reservoir associated with the river or stream.

Bank Lines, Limb Lines, and Setlines:

  • These are allowed in rivers, streams, or canals and must be attached to a fixed object.
  • Jug lines are illegal and are defined as a free-floating line that contains fishing hooks entirely supported by flotation.
  • All bank lines, limb lines, and setlines must contain the angler’s name, address, and fishing-permit number or driver’s license number.
  • Bank lines, limb lines, and setlines must be checked every 24 hours.

Snagging

Snagging of paddlefish and nongame fish is permitted only in the Missouri River under season dates and limits specified in the Paddlefish snagging section. All other state waters are closed to snagging for all species at all times. All fish snagged accidentally or otherwise foul-hooked, must be returned to the water immediately.

BAG, POSSESSION AND LENGTH LIMITS

Bag and possession limits may vary between “inland waters” and “waters of the Missouri River.” For this purpose only:

  • “inland waters” include all waters of the state except the waters of the Missouri River
  • “waters of the Missouri River” include all of the river along Nebraska’s border and all reservoirs, oxbows, sloughs, chutes, backwaters and marshes thathave annual surface water connection to the river and the first 300 yards upstream from the mouth of all tributary streams
  • “statewide” includes all inland waters of the state and waters of the Missouri River

Culling – Culling and high-grading are not allowed. Any fish that is not to be counted in the daily bag limit must be returned immediately to the water with as littleinjury as possible. Any fish placed on a stringer or in a container, or not returned to the water must be counted in the bag.

Daily Bag Limit – The number of fish harvested from midnight to the following midnight taken by all legal methods combined. No person may possess more thanone day’s bag limit of fish while on the water.

Restricted Species – It is unlawful to possess or transport any live white perch, black carp, silver carp, bighead carp or yellow bass.

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

BLACK BASS (LARGEMOUTH, SMALLMOUTH, SPOTTED)

Location

Species

Length Limit

Bag

Possession

Inland Waters, and DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Snyder Bend and Lake Yankton

Black Bass

15-inch minimum; One 21 inches or longer

5

in aggregate

10

in aggregate

EXCEPTIONS:

Selected areas listed in PublicFishing Areas section and onprivate waters leased in Open Fields and Waters and PATHFishing programs

Black Bass

21-inch minimum

1

10

Missouri River between Nebraska and Iowa/Missouri

Black Bass

12-inch minimum; One21 inches or longer

5

10

Missouri River between Nebraska and South Dakota

Black Bass

No minimum; One 21 inches or longer

5

10

Nebraska Public Power District Canal from Sutherland Reservoir outlet to confluence with South Platte River, including Lake Maloney

Smallmouth Bass

No minimum; One 15 inches or longer

5 a

10 b

Big Elk Lake, Portal Lake

Smallmouth Bass

12-inch maximum

2 a

10 b

a still included in aggregate black bass bag limit (5 fish)

b still included in aggregate black bass possession limit (10 fish)

Possession Limit – The total number of fish that a person may possess in portable coolers, home freezers, registered in their name in a commercial coldstorage locker, or in any way under their control. Fish or aquatic animals placed in public storage or transferred must be labeled with the owner’s name, address,phone number, date of birth, signature, date taken, species and numbers, and the name of recipient, if transferred.

How to Measure a Fish – Lay the fish on its side with its mouth closed and the tail lobes pressed together. With a yardstick or tape measure under the fish, measure thelength from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail. Do not follow the contour of the fish.

Minimum Length Limit – A fish must be equal to or longer than the defined length to be legally harvested.

Maximum Length Limit – A fish must be shorter than the defined length to be legally harvested.

Protected Slot Limit – A range of lengths of a particular species that may not be harvested legally. For instance, a 20- to 28-inch protected slot limit on walleyemeans that only walleye less than 20 inches in length or greater than 28 inches may be harvested.

One-Over Length Bag Limits – For some species, the number of large fish that may be harvested may be limited on some or all waters. For example, while it may belegal to harvest four black bass more than 15 inches from a given lake, statewide regulations prohibit an angler from harvesting more than one black bass 21 inches orlonger each day from any waters. Therefore, for lakes with a 21-inch minimum length limit on black bass, the daily bag limit becomes one fish.

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

Walleye, Sauger, Saugeye

Location

Length Limit

Bag

Possession

Inland Waters

15-inch minimum;

One 22 inches or longer

4

8

EXCEPTIONS:

Branched Oak Lake

22-inch minimum

1

8

Elwood Reservoir, Harlan County Lake (including Republican River upstream toHwy. 89 bridge west of Orleans), Merritt Reservoir

One from 15 to 18 inches and threelonger than 18 inches OR four longer than 18 inches;

No more than one 22 inches or longer

4

8

Calamus Reservoir

Two from 15 to 18inches; Two over 18inches;

No more than one 22 inches or longer

4

8

Sherman Reservoir

20- to 28-inch protected slot (noharvest); Two between 15 inches andnot greater than 20 inches;

One longer than 28 inches

3

8

Missouri River waters – upstreamof Gavins Point Dam (Lewis andClark Lake and portion of riverupstream to Neb./S.D. border);DeSoto Bend NWR

15-inch minimum

4

8

Missouri River waters – downstream of Gavins Point Dam

No minimum

4

8

 

IT IS UNLAWFUL TO ...

  • borrow or use the permit of another or lend your permit to another
  • leave dead fish or any part of one on the banks or in the water of any stream, lake or other body of water
  • fish on any private land without landowner permission
  • release into public waters of the state any fish that did not originate from that body of water, including the dumping of bait buckets.
  • seine sport fish of any size
  • leave fish in a trap for more than 24 hours
  • attempt to snag fish, except in designated seasons
  • use limb lines or set lines in any pond, lake or reservoir
  • catch fish by hand
  • buy or attempt to buy a permit while under license suspension or revocation in any state
  • keep an externally foul-hooked fish, except those legally snagged
  • leave a water body with lake or river water present in a boat or container
  • transport any fish or baitfish in water from any stream, river, pond or lake
Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations


CATFISH (BLUE, CHANNEL AND FLATHEAD)

Location

Length Limit

Bag

Possession

Blue Catfish

Statewide

No minimum

1

2

EXCEPTION:

Fort Kearny SRA No. 2, Two Rivers SRA Nos.3 and 4, Wildwood Lake, Windmill SRA No. 3

Catch and release

0

0

Channel Catfish

Standing Water (reservoirs, lakes, ponds and pits)

No minimum

5

20

Flowing Water (rivers, streams and canals), includingthe Republican River upstream of Hwy. 89 bridge westof Orleans, North Platte River west of Hwy. 26 bridge,and Jeffrey Reservoir, Lake Babcock, Lake North, Midway Canyon Reservoir, Plum Creek Canyon Reservoir, Gallagher Canyon Reservoir, JohnsonLake, Lake Maloney, Lewis and Clark Lake, Phillips Canyon Reservoir, Sutherland Reservoir

No minimum

10

20

Merritt Reservoir, Calamus Reservoir, Box Butte Reservoir

No minimum;

One 30 inches orlonger

5

20

Fort Kearny SRA No. 2, Two Rivers SRA Nos.3 and 4, Wildwood Lake, Windmill SRA No. 3

Catch and release

0

0

Flathead Catfish

Statewide

No minimum;

One 30 inches orlonger

5

10

EXCEPTION:

Branched Oak Lake

Catch and release

0

0

Catch-and-Release for All Species

  • West Brady
  • East Hershey
  • Kea West
  • Jenny Newman Pond
  • Baright Lake

LENGTH LIMITS AND CLEANING OF FISH

Where length and bag limits apply, fish may not be filleted until fishing is completed for the day and anglers are off the water. Fish subject to bag and possession limits not length limits, may be processed before transport if the fillets are kept in one piece until cooked, so the bag and possession limits can be determined. Fish species subject to a length limit may not be possessed with more than the gills, viscera and scales removed while on the water, wading or engaged in fishing. Any fish in possession while on the water will be subject to length and bag limits that apply to that water body. Once off the water, the fish may be filleted for transportation and storage.

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

MUSKELLUNGE, TIGER MUSKIE AND NORTHERN PIKE

Location

Length Limit

Bag

Possession

Muskellunge and Tiger Muskie

Statewide

40-inch minimum

1

2

EXCEPTIONS:

Merritt Reservoir

50-inch minimum

1

2

Pelican Lake NWR

No minimum;

One 34 inches or longer

3

3

Northern Pike

Statewide

No minimum;

One 34 inches or longer

3

10

EXCEPTIONS:

Alda DOT, Grove Lake, Cottonmill Lake, Red Willow Reservoir, Sherman Reservoir

34-inch minimum

1

10

Box Butte Reservoir

No minimum;

Only three can be over 22 inchesand only one of those can be over34 inches

10

10

Lake Minatare

No minimum;

One 34 inches or longer

10

10

Lake Wanahoo Flanagan Lake

Catch and release

0

0

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

Trout (Brown, Brook, Cutthroat, Rainbow, Tiger)

Location

Length Limit

Bag

Possession

Brook and Cutthroat Trout

Statewide

No minimum;

One 12 inches or longer

2

4

Brown Trout

Statewide

No minimum;

One 16 inches or longer

5

10

Rainbow and Tiger Trout

Statewide

No minimum;

One 16 inches or longer

5

12

EXCEPTION:

Sutherland Supply Canal

No minimum

5

12

Two Rivers SRA Trout Lake

No minimum

4 per tag; up to 3 tags per day

12

Soldier Creek Wilderness Area, Wood Reserve ponds, Soldier Creek middle and south forks

No minimum

2

See above for statewide limits by species

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

Striped Bass, White Bass, Striped Bass Hybrid (Wiper)

Location

Length Limit

Bag

Possession

Inland Waters

No minimum;

One 16 inches or longer

15

30

Missouri River Waters

No minimum

15

30

EXCEPTIONS:

Elwood Reservoir, Willow Creek Reservoir

No minimum;

One 16 inches or longer

3

30

Branched Oak, Zorinsky Lake

Catch and release

0

0

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

Panfish (Sunfish and their hybrids: Green Sunfish, Bluegill, Hybrid Bluegill x GreenSunfish, Pumpkinseed, Orangespotted Sunfish, Redear Sunfish, Black Crappie, Rock Bass, Yellow Perch andWhite Crappie)

Location

Species

Length Limits

Bag

Possession

Statewide

Panfish

No minimum

15 in aggregate

30 in aggregate

EXCEPTIONS:

Pelican Lake

Bluegill

No minimum;

1 10 inches or longer

5 a

30 b

Flanagan Lake

Bluegill, Redear Sunfish

8-inch maximum

15 a

30 b

Crappie

10-inch maximum

15 a

30 b

Branched Oak Lake, Czechland Lake, Sherman Reservoir

Crappie

10-inch minimum

15 a

30 b

Rat and Beaver Lake

Yellow Perch

12-inch minimum

15 a

30 b

Big Elk Lake, Portal Lake

Yellow Perch

No minimum

5 a

30 b

Missouri River border waters of Nebraska and South Dakota, including Lewis and Clark Lake and Lake Yankton

Crappie

No minimum

15 c

30 b

Yellow Perch

No minimum

15 c

Rock Bass

No minimum

15 c

Sunfish

No minimum

15 c

a still included in aggregte panfish bag limit (15 fish)

b still included in aggregate panfish possession limit (30 fish)

c only 30 fish in total allowed between the four species groups to abide by statewide possession limit of 30 total panfish in aggregate

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

Other Fish Species (Pallid Sturgeon, Paddlefish, Shovelnose Sturgeon, Bowfin, Lake Sturgeon and American Eel)

Location

Length Limit

Bag

Possession

Shovelnose Sturgeon

Statewide

No minimum

10

20

EXCEPTION:

No harvest allowed on Missouri River upstream from mouth of Big Sioux River

0

0

Paddlefish

Missouri River from Gavins Point Dam downstream to mouth of Big Sioux River at mile marker 734

See pages 21-22 for special archery and snagging information

2 (special tags required)

2 (special tags required)

Pallid Sturgeon, Lake Sturgeon, Bowfin, American Eel (Species of Concern)

Statewide, no harvest allowed

0

0

All other game fish and nongame fish not listed in tables

Statewide

No minimum

No limit

No limit

 

Archery and Surface Spearfishing Regulations

Archery Fishing:

  • Timeframe: Game fish may be taken by archery statewide from July 1 through Dec. 31, between sunrise and sunset.
  • Compliance: Game fish must adhere to length limit requirements and daily bag and possession limits specific to the water body.
  • Prohibition: Game fish cannot be taken with surface spears.
  • Nongame Fish: Nongame fish can be taken by archery or surface spear statewide, 24 hours a day, year-round.
  • Special Note: The area below Gavins Point Dam is closed during the archery paddlefish season.
  • Crossbow Usage: Crossbows are prohibited in the area from Gavins Point Dam downstream to the U.S. Hwy. 81 bridge. They are only allowed downstream of the bridge.
  • Lighting: Use of artificial lights is permitted.

Equipment Regulations:

  • Allowed Equipment: Only hand-drawn longbows (including compound bows) and crossbows designed to be shoulder-fired are legal.
  • Arrow Requirements: Arrows may have only one point, which must be barbed, and must be attached by a line to the bow at the time of release.
  • Surface Spearfishing: Only hand spears are legal for surface spearing.

Year-Round Closures:

  • Closed Waters: Platte River State Park, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, and other park areas as posted.

Underwater Spearfishing Regulations

Permitted Equipment:

  • Authorized Spear Guns: Lawful spear guns include hand spears, rubber band-powered spear guns, compressed air spear guns, and spring-loaded spear guns.
  • Attachment Requirement: All spears used on powered spear guns must be attached to a shooting line no longer than 20 feet.

Restrictions:

  • Prohibited Areas: Underwater spearfishing is not permitted within 100 yards of any designated swimming or water-ski jump area, boat dock, boat ramp, or spillway.

Seasons and Limits:

  • Game Fish Season: July 1 through Dec. 31, except for *Box Butte Reservoir and private waters, which starts June 1.
    • Bag, possession, and length limits align with hook and line regulations.
    • Hours of operation: sunrise to sunset.
  • Nongame Fish Season: Year-round in designated waters.
    • No size, bag, or possession limits for nongame fish species.
    • Hours of operation: sunrise to sunset.

Designated Waters:

  • Open to All Species: All privately-owned lakes with owner permission, along with specific public waters like Lake McConaughy, Lake Ogallala, etc.
  • Open to Nongame Fish Species Only: Designated areas in counties such as Buffalo, Dawson, and Hall.

Diver's Flag Requirements:

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

  • Mandatory Display: A diver's flag must be displayed on the water on a float or buoy during diving or underwater spearfishing activities.
  • Distance Limit: Divers and spearfishers must remain within 150 feet of the flag.
  • Flag Specifications: The flag must be at least 12 inches square, with a red background and white diagonal stripe that is one-fifth the width of the flag, running from the top of the hoist to the bottom.

Paddlefish Regulations

Permits

  • Permit Limit: Each individual is restricted to a maximum of two Nebraska archery permits and two Nebraska snagging permits per year.
  • Nontransferable: Permits and accompanying tags are strictly nontransferable.
  • Preference System: Permits are allocated using a preference system, with unsuccessful applicants receiving a preference point for future applications.
  • Fees: A nonrefundable fee of $7 is required at the time of application. Successful applicants are subject to a permit fee of $26 (Residents) or $50 (Nonresidents).
  • Preference Points: Anglers have the option to purchase preference points per season instead of participating in the draw.
  • Buddy Applications: Buddy permits are available for two applicants, who must both be residents or nonresidents. In cases where there is a difference in preference points, the applications will be assigned to the applicant with the lowest points.

Application Periods

  • Archery Permit: Application period is from March 1 to March 14.
  • Snagging Permit: Application period is from July 1 to July 14.
  • Application periods commence at 1 p.m. Central Time. Mailed applications must be received by 5 p.m. on the last day. Online applications close at midnight.

Archery Paddlefish

  • Season: Archery paddlefish season runs from June 1 to June 30.
  • Legal Hours: Anglers are permitted to fish from sunrise to sunset.
  • Open Area: The designated open area extends from Gavins Point Dam downstream to the mouth of the Big Sioux River at mile marker 734.
  • Closed Area: Certain areas downstream from Gavins Point Dam are closed to archers
  • Closed Area Cont'd: The area downstream of a specified line extending from the east end of the south cement wall of the discharge channel to the east end of the north wall of the spillway is closed to archers during the archery paddlefish season.
  • Crossbow Use: Crossbows are prohibited in the area from Gavins Point Dam downstream to the U.S. Highway 81 bridge.
  • Requirements: Anglers must possess a valid paddlefish tag and Nebraska fishing permit, if required. Applicants for tags must be at least 12 years old by June 1.
  • Tag Limit: Each angler is limited to a maximum of two tags.

Snagging Paddlefish

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

  • Season: Snagging season runs from October 1 to October 31.
  • Legal Hours: Snagging is allowed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Open Area: Snagging is permitted from Gavins Point Dam downstream to the mouth of the Big Sioux River at mile marker 734.
  • Closed Area: Certain areas downstream from Gavins Point Dam and off the north wall of the spillway are closed to snagging.
  • Requirements: Snaggers must have an unfilled paddlefish tag and a valid fishing permit while actively snagging. From Gavins Point Dam to 0.6 miles downstream, Nebraska residents or nonresidents must possess a valid snagging permit.
  • Possession: Paddlefish harvested by snagging may only be possessed on the Missouri River during the open season in the designated area.
  • Minimum Age: Applicants must be at least 12 years old by October 1 to apply for a snagging permit.
  • Hooks: Only one hook is permitted while snagging, and the gap between the point of the hook and the shank may not exceed one-half inch.

Tagging, Cleaning, and Transportation

  • Tagging: Paddlefish must be immediately tagged in the dorsal fin with the angler's tag upon addition to the creel. Any tampered tags will be void.
  • Cleaning: Anglers are allowed to process paddlefish into two whole fillets after the fishing trip, with both the closed paddlefish tag and permit remaining with the fillets.
  • Discarding Nongame Fish: It is unlawful to discard nongame fish on the bank.

Bait Regulations

Baitfish, listed amphibians and crayfish may not be sold, except by permit. The following regulations apply only to bait obtained for personal use. For commercialpurposes (bait dealers, private aquaculturists and nonresident fish dealers), refer to the regulations supplied with your permit.

  • It is unlawful to take baitfish, listed amphibians or crayfish from any public lake, reservoir or bayou unless otherwise stated below.
  • Digging and trapping for bait or any other purpose is prohibited on all state-owned or controlled areas.
  • It shall be unlawful for any individual or bait dealer to transport away from the river any live fish to be used for bait that has been collected on the Missouri Riverdownstream below Gavins Point Dam to the Kansas border and all other rivers and streams located east of U. S. Hwy. 81 from the South Dakota border toYork, north of Interstate 80 from York to Lincoln, and east of U. S. Hwy. 77 from Lincoln to the Kansas border. The use of baitfish seined by anglers from theserivers and streams may only be used at the body of water from which they were captured.
  • Seining for baitfish, listed amphibians or crayfish is allowed on streams located on state recreation areas (SRA) and wildlife management areas (WMA)unless the stream is listed as closed.
  • It is illegal to possess while fishing or use for bait Red Swamp Crayfish, White River Crayfish or Rusty Crayfish. If you suspect that you have either collected orpurchased one of these species, bring them to a Game and Parks office.
  • All non-baitfish taken while netting or seining for bait must be returned immediately to the waters from which taken.
  • The bag and possession limit of baitfish and listed amphibians for personal use is 100.

NOTE: Anglers who seine their own baitfish must properly identify the fish species collected to avoid transfer of invasive species. It is illegal to dump baitfish orwater from the seining location into a different water body as

that could also transfer invasive species including fish diseases. Seined baitfish should be transported in domestic water to reduce the chance of transportingdiseases or aquatic invasive species.

Gizzard Shad and Alewife – May be taken for use as bait by legal dip nets from lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and below dams and other artificial obstructions for adistance of 200 yards below such obstructions.

  • Live shad and alewife may be used only in the body of water from which they were captured.
  • Shad and alewife may be taken by legal seine or dip net in streams, except those streams closed to the taking of baitfish or bait by such method, but cannotbe transferred alive and used in other waters.

Below Dams – The seining of baitfish, listed amphibians or crayfish is unlawful for a distance of 200 yards below any dam or spillway. In these waters, baitfish, listedamphibians and crayfish may be taken by legal baitfish dip nets for personal use only.

Restricted Species – It is unlawful to sell, transport or offer for sale as bait, any live carp, carpsucker, bullhead, buffalo, gar, quillback, gizzard shad or alewife.Live fish of those species may be used for bait only in the same waters from which they are legally taken. Dead carp, carpsucker, bullhead, buffalo, gar, quillback,gizzard shad or alewife may be transported for use as bait.

Sport fish may be used for bait if:
  • they can be purchased from a bait dealer that have been acquired legally from a licensed aquaculturist or a nonresident fish dealer. The angler must keep a legiblereceipt or invoice from the dealer listing the date, seller’s name and address, and number and size of each species sold.
  • they are captured using hook and line and used at the body of water from which they were captured. Anglers must follow both the length and bag limitsfor that body of water.

Importation – It is unlawful for individuals to import live baitfish from out of state for use in inland waters. This does not include the Missouri River. It is unlawful toimport or transport live carp, carpsucker, buffalo, quillback, gar, gizzard shad or alewife into the state for use as bait. Special permits are required for a person toimport and sell bait or baitfish.

Categories of Fish Species

GAME FISH

Sport Fish:

  • All Sunfish hybrids
  • American Eel
  • Black Crappie
  • Blue Catfish
  • Bluegill
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Burbot
  • Channel Catfish
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Goldeye
  • Grass Pickerel
  • Green Sunfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Orangespotted Sunfish
  • Paddlefish
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Redear Sunfish
  • Rock Bass
  • Sauger
  • Saugeye
  • Shovelnose Sturgeon
  • Skipjack Herring
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Striped Bass hybrid(Wiper)
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • Tiger Trout
  • Walleye
  • White Bass
  • White Crappie

Panfish:

  • All Sunfish hybrids
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Green Sunfish
  • Crappie hybrid
  • Orangespotted Sunfish
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Redear Sunfish
  • Rock Bass
  • White Crappie
  • Yellow Perch

Sunfish:

  • All Sunfish hybrids
  • Bluegill
  • Green Sunfish
  • Orangespotted Sunfish
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Redear Sunfish

Commercial Fish:

  • Black Bullhead
  • Freshwater Drum
  • Yellow Perch

Baitfish:

  • Alewife
  • Bigmouth Shiner
  • Brassy Minnow
  • Creek Chub
  • Devil Crayfish*
  • Emerald Shiner
  • Fathead Minnow
  • Gizzard Shad
  • Golden Shiner
  • Goldfish
  • Longnose Dace
  • Northern Crayfish*
  • Papershell Crayfish*
  • Plains Killifish
  • Red Shiner
  • Ringed Crayfish*
  • River Shiner
  • Sand Shiner
  • Stoneroller
  • Suckermouth Minnow
  • Barred Salamander*
  • White Sucker
  • * covered under baitfish regulations

THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES

Illegal to possess:

  • Finscale Dace
  • Lake Sturgeon
  • Northern Redbelly Dace
  • Pallid Sturgeon
  • Pearl Dace
  • Sturgeon Chub
  • Topeka Shiner
  • Blacknose Shiner

NONGAME FISH

  • Includes all species not on any of the above lists.

THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES

It is unlawful to take by seine, dip net or trap any baitfish in the following streams, which contain threatened and endangered fish species:

  • Cherry County – Brush Creek west of Brownlee, and Gordon Creek west of Neb. Hwy. 61
  • Dawes County – Niobrara River east of Box ButteReservoir and west of U.S. Hwy. 385
  • Keya Paha County – Cottonwood Creek, East Holt Creek and Holt Creek
  • Madison County – Taylor Creek west of U.S. Hwy. 81

NO-LIVE-BAITFISH AREAS

The following areas do not allow the use or possession of live baitfish:

Southeast:

  • Bennington Lake
  • Big Elk Lake (WP 7)
  • Conestoga Lake
  • Duck Creek Rec. Area
  • Flanagan Lake
  • Glenn Cunningham Lake
  • Hedgefield Lake
  • Holmes Lake
  • Iron Horse Trail Lake
  • Lake Wanahoo
  • Meadowlark Lake
  • Olive Creek Lake
  • Portal Lake (WP 6)
  • Prairie Queen Rec. Area
  • Stagecoach Lake
  • Standing Bear Lake
  • Wagon Train SRA/WMA
  • Wehrspann Lake
  • Wilber Reservoir
  • Wildwood Lake
  • Yankee Hill Lake

Southwest:

  • Ansley City Lake
  • Arnold Lake
  • Bethphage Pond
  • Bowman Lake
  • Cottonmill Lake
  • Crystal Lake (Adams County)
  • East Sutherland WMA
  • Holdrege City North Lake
  • Kirkpatrick Lake
  • Lake Helen
  • Melham Lake
  • Plum Creek Park Lake
  • North Platte I-80 Lake
  • Ravenna Lake
  • Rock Creek Lake SRA
  • West Cozad WMA
  • Yanney Park Lake

Northwest:

  • Avocet WMA
  • Crescent Lake NWR
  • Frye Lake
  • Defair Lake WMA
  • Rat and Beaver Lake
  • Valentine NWR

Northeast:

  • Chalkrock Lake
  • Clear Lake (Brown County)
  • Kramper Lake
  • Pibel Lake
  • Skyview Lake
  • TaHaZouka Park Pond

OTHER BAIT RESTRICTIONS

White Perch – It is illegal to transport or possess live white perch. The introduction of white perch into new bodies of water may destroy the quality of the fishcommunity and may require the total renovation of the fishery.

Dumping – It is illegal to release baitfish or any fish caught from a different body of water into public waters.

Exportation – Up to 100 legally captured baitfish and/or listed amphibians may be exported by a resident for personal use for fishing outside the state ifallowed by the destination state. Licensed aquaculturists may transport an unlimited number of baitfish that have been artificially propagated in manmade impoundments out of state if allowed by the destination state.

Baits and Scents – Cutbait is legal if the fish used has been legally acquired and the size, bag and possession limits for that species and body of water have beenfollowed. It also is legal to chum for fish using nonharmful baits. Anise oil and other scents that do not stun, kill or harm fish are permitted.

Leopard Frogs and Barred (formerly tiger) Salamanders – All regulations that cover the legal use of baitfish also apply to these species. Leopard frogs canonly be collected for individual use, not commercial use.

Crayfish – There is no daily possession limit on crayfish. Anyone over the age of 16 must have a bait dealer’s license in order to sell crayfish. Crayfish may becaptured by hook and line, by hand or by legal fish nets and traps as described below. No permit is needed to collect for personal use.

Fish Nets and Traps – The possession or use of nets, traps and electrical gear capable of stunning fish is prohibited except for the following:

  • Baitfish seines of 1/4 inch nonmetallic square mesh only and not more than 20 feet long and 4 feet deep.
  • Baitfish dip nets of 1/4 inch, nonmetallic square mesh. Neither length nor width may exceed 36 inches.
  • Baitfish and bait traps of 1/4 inch square mesh material with a length of 24 inches or less, a diameter of 16 inches or less and a throat 2¼ inches or less indiameter. All minnow traps shall be raised, and the baitfish removed at least every 24 hours.
  • Landing nets, made of nonmetallic mesh, used only for landing fish caught on hook-and-line.

Turtle Traps – A legal snapping turtle trap must contain a throat or funnel to be constructed of netting that is at least 4 inches square mesh. The trap must have anentrance possible only from above the water’s surface and must allow turtles to reach the surface to breathe. The trap must be personally checked at least every24 hours and tagged with a metal tag listing the owner’s name, address, and fishing permit number or driver’s license number. Turtle traps can only be used on privatewaters, and it is unlawful to sell, offer for sale or barter any snapping turtles. Any turtle(s) exceeding the daily bag limits shall be released immediately.

CAST NETS

  • Only cast nets up to 10 feet in diameter with a mesh size no larger than 3/8 inches square measure are legal gear.
  • Cast nets may be used only during July, August, September, October and November.
  • Cast nets may be used to collect gizzard shad and alewife only.
  • Live gizzard shad and alewife may only be used for bait the same day they were captured and only in the same body of water where they were collected.
  • Cast nets may be used to collect bait only on the following bodies of water:

Northeast:

  • Calamus Reservoir
  • Davis Creek Reservoir

Southwest:

  • Elwood Reservoir
  • Farwell South Reservoir
  • Gallagher Canyon Reservoir
  • Harlan County Reservoir
  • Johnson Lake
  • Midway complex reservoirs
  • Phillips Canyon Reservoir
  • Plum Creek Reservoir
  • Sherman Reservoir
  • Enders Reservoir
  • Jeffrey Reservoir
  • Lake Maloney
  • Medicine Creek Reservoir
  • Lake McConaughy
  • Red Willow Reservoir
  • Sutherland Reservoir
  • Swanson Reservoir
  • Tri-County Canal from diversion dam in Lincoln County to J-2 return

FISH STOCKING

It is unlawful to release any non-native fish, reptile or amphibian in waters of the state or to release any fish or any aquatic organism in any public waters in the stateexcept in those waters from which it came, without written authorization from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

TROUT WATERS

It is unlawful to possess a seine of any type on trout streams in Sioux, Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Garden, and Keith counties that are tributaries of the North PlatteRiver and Lake McConaughy, including Red Willow, Wildhorse, Stuckenhole, Ninemile, Tub Springs, Winter, Sheep, Dry Sheep, Spotted Tail, Dry Spotted Tail,Otter, Clear Lonergan or Cedar creeks.

Legal landing nets on these waters can have a maximum diameter of 12 inches, a maximum depth of 15 inches and a maximum handle length of 3 feet.

It is unlawful for anyone to use a seine, baitfish dip net or bait trap in any of the following trout streams:

NORTHEAST:

Rock County

  • Long Pine Creek

Antelope County

  • Verdigre Creek/ tributaries

Brown County

  • Bone Creek/tributaries
  • Long Pine Creek/ tributaries
  • Fairfield Creek
  • Plum Creek/tributaries

Holt County

  • Steel Creek
  • North, Middle and South branches of Verdigre Creek

Loup County

  • Gracie Creek

Knox County

  • North, Middle and South branches of Verdigre Creek/tributaries above Verdigre
  • Steel Creek

NORTHWEST:

Box Butte County

  • Niobrara River

Cherry County

  • Middle Loup River/ tributaries
  • North Loup River/ tributaries
  • Schlagel Creek
  • Snake River/tributaries
  • Plum Creek/tributaries
  • Fairfield Creek

Cheyenne County

  • Lodgepole Creek west of Brownson

Dawes County

  • Chadron Creek
  • Big Bordeaux Creek
  • Little Bordeaux Creek
  • Dead Horse Creek
  • Squaw Creek
  • White Clay Creek
  • White River above Crawford
  • Niobrara River from Box Butte Reservoir west to Wyoming border/ tributaries (and below Box Butte Reservoir downstream to Hwy. 385)

Garden County

  • Blue Creek

Hooker County

  • Dismal River/tributaries

Keith County

  • Otter Creek
  • Whitetail Creek
  • Lonergan Creek/ tributaries

Kimball County

  • Lodgepole Creek/ tributaries

Morrill County

  • Red Willow Creek
  • Cedar Creek
  • Greenwood Creek
  • Wildhorse Creek
  • Lawrence Fork Creek
  • Silvernail Drain
  • Indian Creek
  • Stuckenhole Creek
  • Pumpkin Creek below Hwy. 88

Scotts Bluff County

  • Ninemile Creek
  • Winters Creek
  • Tub Springs
  • Wet Spotted Tail Creek
  • Dry Spotted Tail Creek
  • Sheep Creek
  • Dry Sheep Creek
  • Stuckenhole Creek
  • Akers Draw
  • Mitchell Drain
  • Moffat Drain
  • Alliance Drain
  • Bayard Drain

Sheridan County

  • Snake River
  • Larabee Creek
  • White Clay Creek
  • Pine Creek
  • Deer Creek
  • Little Bordeaux Creek

Sioux County

  • Sheep Creek Drain
  • Dry Sheep Creek Drain
  • Dry Spotted Tail Creek
  • Spotted Tail Creek
  • Sowbelly Creek
  • White River
  • Soldier Creek/tributaries
  • Monroe Creek
  • Hat Creek
  • Niobrara River/ tributaries

SOUTHWEST:

Webster County

  • Elm Creek

Aquatic Invasive Species

AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES PROGRAM

Aquatic invasive species fees collected from boaters fund the Aquatic Invasive Species Program in Nebraska. These fees pay for programs to educate thepublic about AIS, prevention efforts to keep AIS from being introduced into Nebraska, such as monitoring waters across the state; inspection and decontamination of conveyances; treatment for AIS populations; and other AIS projects as needed.

AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES PREVENTION

Aquatic Invasive Species – Any waterborne, non-native organism that threatens the diversity or abundance of native species, the ecological stability ofimpacted waters, or commercial, agricultural, aquacultural or recreational activities.

Impact – Invasive species may cause significant ecological problems because they have been introduced into habitat inwhich there are no natural pathogens, parasites or predators. Lack of these natural controls may allow a nuisance speciesto grow exponentially in new habitat. Introduced nuisance species may prey upon or compete with native species and couldtransmit diseases to native species.

Preventive Steps – Anglers and boaters should take precautions to prevent the introduction or spread of invasive species. This is especially important toboaters who travel to waters that have invasive species not present in any Nebraska waters.

Follow these procedures:

  • It is unlawful for a boat to arrive at or leave any body of water in Nebraska with water other than from a domestic source except for fire-fighting purposes. Drain water on site.
  • It is unlawful for a boat or trailer to arrive or leave a launch area with any aquatic vegetation from that water body still attached. Boat blinds cannot use plants listed as invasive species or noxious weeds.
  • Wash mud off waders. Felt-sole wading boots are unlawful.
  • These steps are intended to prevent or delay the establishment of aquatic invasive species in Nebraska waters.

CLEAN, DRAIN AND DRY

Zebra and quagga mussels can survive out of water for up to two weeks. AIS, such as zebra mussels, are invisible to the naked eye during the larval stageand can be spread through drops of

water that live up to 27 days in cooler temperature. Aquatic plants can be spread by tiny fragments as well. After boating and before launchingyour boat in a different water body:

  • Rinse boat and all equipment with hot tap water ideally more than 140 degrees F to kill zebra and quagga mussels;
  • Spray boat, live well, engine and trailer with a high-pressure sprayer;
  • Pull plugs from bilge, live wells and engine to drain upon leaving a water body.
  • If washing the boat away from the water body you are leaving, do not allow runoff to enter a drainage. Control your runoff.
  • Dry boat and all equipment for at least five days. Use a towel to speed up the drying process.
  • AIS inspectors are present at several Nebraska water bodies from May to October to ensure compliance with Game and Parks regulations.
  • Visit stopaquatichitchhikers.org for more information on procedures and AIS on watercraft.

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING ... REPORT THESE OFFENDERS!

EURASIAN WATERMILFOIL

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

Eurasian watermilfoil is an invasive aquatic plant that reproduces primarily through fragmentation, meaning only a tiny pieceof the plant is needed to grow an entirely new plant. It is spread through boaters not following Clean, Drain, and Dry proceduresbetween water bodies. This plant is extremely invasive and outcompetes other plant species resulting in near total lakecoverage. Eurasian watermilfoil looks similar to our native species, with four leaves around a single stem, but contains

12-plus leaflets per side on each leaf. It is unlawful to transport aquatic vegetation between water bodies. If you encounter Eurasian watermilfoil at any locationnot listed below, contact the Game and Parks Aquatic Invasive Species Program Manager immediately.

List of Water Bodies That Contain Eurasian Watermilfoil – Populations of Eurasian watermilfoil are present in these Nebraska waters: Louisville No. 2,Louisville No. 2A, Louisville No. 3, Prairie Queen, Wagon Train, Flanagan, Walnut Creek, Two Rivers No. 5, Smith Lake WMA, Carter P. Johnson, Walgren Lake,Carter Lake, Cottonwood, Swanson Reservoir, Box Butte, Bassway Strip, Birdwood, Crystal (Lincoln County), Hershey WMA, North Platte I-80, East Hershey,Lewis and Clark, and Lake Yankton.

WHITE PERCH

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

White perch are native to the East Coast and look very similar to white bass. Once established, this species has the ability to overwhelman entire fishery, often resulting in the need to eliminate the entire fish population in an infested lake. White perch also consume eggs ofseveral fish species, including white bass and walleye. Because white perch look similar to white bass, anglers have

mistaken the species and moved them to other water bodies around the state. Never release any aquatic organism into a water body where it did not originate. It isillegal to possess or transport any live white perch.

List of Water Bodies That Contain White Perch – Populations of white perch are present in these Nebraska waters: Rockford, Branched Oak, Pawnee, Holmes, Bowling, Wildwood, Prairie Queen, Zorinsky, Bluestem, Neligh Park Pond (West Point) and various Platte River sandpits.

ZEBRA MUSSELS

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

The zebra mussel is a highly invasive species that looks like a small D-shaped clam with alternating light and dark bands(resembling the

coloration of a zebra). Most zebra mussels are less than 1 inch long. Zebra mussels decrease the food supply for native species andpollute swimming areas with sharp shells and also clog intake water pipes. Once established,

this species is almost impossible to remove or control. If you encounter zebra mussels, contact the Game and Parks aquatic invasive species program managerimmediately.

List of Water Bodies That Contain Zebra Mussels – Populations of zebra mussels are present in these Nebraska waters. It is illegal to leave these infestedareas with live fish or any water. Live baitfish need to be disposed of properly, such as at the fish cleaning station, restroom or undeveloped areas.

  • Offutt Base Lake • Lewis and Clark Lake • Missouri River • Lake Yankton

SILVER CARP and BIGHEAD CARP

Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

Silver and Bighead Carp (commonly referred to as Asian or invasive carp) are two invasive fish species found in Nebraska. They arefound in the Missouri River downstream of Gavins Point Dam and in free-flowing tributaries connected to the Missouri River. These fish species can be identified with the location of the eye, found below the center line of the body set down on the head in linewith the mouth. If encountered in locations where they may not be found easily, contact the Game and Parks Aquatic Invasive Species Program Managerimmediately.

Transportation and Possession – It is unlawful to possess or transport live black carp, silver carp, bighead carp, white perch, yellow bass, and all other listedcategory 1 and 2 invasive species. Species lists can be found in the fisheries regulations at Outdoornebraska.gov/regulations.

NONRESIDENT AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES STAMP

Motorized watercraft registered outside of Nebraska are required to purchase and display an Aquatic Invasive Species Stamp(image on the right) before launching from any Nebraska boat ramp.

  • The fee for the decal-like stamp is $18, which includes a $3 issuing fee.
  • The stamp can be purchased at OutdoorNebraska.org, at Commission offices (see list on page 6), or authorized permitagents.
  • At the time of purchase, the purchaser will receive a valid temporary permit. The actual stamp will be mailed within 10business days.
  • The stamp is required annually.
  • The stamp must be permanently affixed to the starboard and rearward side of the boat, on the outside ofthe hull above the water line.
Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations
Nebraska Fishing Laws & Regulations

Additional Information

ATVs AND SNOWMOBILES FOR ICE-FISHING

Snowmobiles, all-terrain and motorized off-highway amphibious vehicles may be operated on the frozen surface of designated lakes listed below, unless postedas closed. All Game and Parks wildlife management areas are open to ATVs and snowmobiles on the ice, unless posted otherwise. It is unlawful for any person tooperate a motorized vehicle on anything other than roadways, parking areas or trails specifically designated for vehicle use. Therefore, WMAs that don't havedirect access (boat ramp, parking lot, adjacent roadways, etc.) to the frozen ice surface would not allow these vehicles. These vehicles may be operated only fromone-half hour before sunrise until 9 p.m., or as posted. Recommended ice thickness for vehicle use is 8 inches. The designated lakes are, unless posted as closed:

  • Bluestem
  • Box Butte
  • Branched Oak
  • Calamus
  • Conestoga
  • Enders
  • Fremont lakes
  • Gallagher Canyon
  • Harlan County
  • Johnson
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Louisville lakes
  • Maloney
  • McConaughy
  • Medicine Creek
  • Merritt
  • Minatare
  • Ogallala
  • Olive Creek
  • Oliver
  • Pawnee
  • Red Willow
  • Rockford
  • Sherman
  • Stagecoach
  • Sutherland
  • Summit
  • Swanson
  • Wagon Train
  • Walgren
  • Willow Creek

FREE FISHING AND PARK ENTRY DAY

Free Fishing and Park Entry Day is held annually in Nebraska. It is a chance for people to fish for a day without purchasing a permit. Also on that day, no permit isneeded to enter a state park area. Go to OutdoorNebraska.org for more information.

COMMUNITY FISHING EVENTS

The Nebraska Game and Parks Youth Fishing Program sponsors Community Fishing Events at lakes across the state. This is an opportunity for people who havenever fished, or have not fished in years, to learn or refresh their skills. Visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/FamilyFishing for dates and locations of Community FishingEvents.

FISH KILL REPORTS

To make it easier to determine the cause, promptly report dead or dying fish to a conservation officer (page 94), Nebraska Game and Parks Commission districtoffice (page 6), the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy at 402-471-2186, or the 24-hour Nebraska State Patrol pollution complaint number at 402-479-4921.

POLLUTION

Keep the water safe and clean for future fishing. Report dumping or pollution activities to the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (Monday throughFriday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) at 402-471-2186, the 24-hour Nebraska State Patrol pollution complaint number at 402-479-4921, or the Environmental Protection Agency24 hours a day at 913-281-0991.

RESOURCES FOR LAKE MAPPING AND WATER LEVELS

Lake contour maps are available at OutdoorNebraska.org. For lake levels and stream flows, visit:

CNPPID: cnppid.com/lake-river-data/

Nebraska Public Power District: nppd.com/about-us/power-plants-facilities/hydroelectric/water-data/

U.S. Geological Survey: waterdata.usgs.gov/ne/nwis/rt

Bureau of Reclamation: usbr.gov/gp/lakes_reservoirs/nebraska_lakes.html

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: rivergages.mvr.usace.army.mil/WaterControl/new/layout.cfm

FISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORY

For information on the fish consumption advisory program and the status of water bodies across the state go to the Nebraska Department of Environment andEnergy website: dee.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/FTMP.

TOURNAMENTS, CONTESTS AND DERBIES

Registration – All fishing tournaments, derbies or contests that require an entry fee, on publicly owned, controlled or managed waters, must be registered withGame and Parks’ Fisheries Division at least 45 days before the event. In addition, it is strongly suggested that all fishing tournaments, including those that do notcharge an entry fee, register in order to avoid user conflicts. Download a registration form at OutdoorNebraska.gov.

Special Occasion Permit – If the tournament is to be held at a state park or state recreation area, also contact the park superintendent to complete a SpecialOccasion Permit.

Denial – An event may be denied if the date and location conflict with a previously approved event. Denial also may be based on safety concerns due to low wateror anticipated heavy use that could result in boat ramp congestion or if tournament organization does not follow all tournament registration and invasivespecies rules.

Special Conditions – Game and Parks may impose special conditions for a fishing tournament, derby or contest if deemed necessary to protect the resource orto assure public safety. Special conditions may include aerated livewells, release of live fish, designated release areas, on-the-water measurements, andimmediate release of fish with no on-shore weigh-in ceremony. Tournament directors will be provided instructions on how to operate their tournament to reducemortality in no harvest/weigh-in tournaments. All watercraft are required to adhere to the Clean, Drain and Dry protocol before launching to ensure that no aquaticinvasive species are being transported from another body of water.

Certificate – A Fishing Tournament Approval Certificate must be present at the tournament site.

Posted Dates – The tournament dates will be listed at OutdoorNebraska.gov/fishingtournaments.

Results – A results form will be sent to the tournament director. This form must be completed and returned to the Fisheries Division within 30 days following thecompletion of the fishing tournament. Failure to return the completed form or provide the requested information will result in denial of future fishing-tournamentrequests for at least one year.

Tagged Fish – The use of tagged or otherwise marked fish is prohibited in any fishing tournament, derby or contest held on waters owned or controlled andstocked by Game and Parks during the preceding 24 months, excluding private lakes not owned by the state or other governmental entity.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.