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Limits and Regulations

Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division logo

DAILY CREEL, POSSESSION,
AND SIZE LIMITS ON GAME FISH

This information posted for information purposes.  Check the regulation book and laws for legal information.

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Possession of certain animal species, including fish, is illegal in Alabama, see 220-2-.26 and 220-2-.92, as is the release of bait or the stocking of fish, snails, mussels or crayfish.

220-2-.35 Daily Creel Limits, Possession Limits and Size Limits on Game Fish
The creel and possession limits for fish in all public waters of this State, except as otherwise provided for certain State and Federally owned and/or managed fishing lakes and ponds, (also see differences for the Chattahoochee River and its impoundments such as Eufaula and West Point) shall be as follows:

Black Bass……………............. 10
Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass (Kentucky or Alabama bass), and Redeye or Coosa Bass and Shoal Bass or Combinations……………............. 10
No more than five of the bass daily creel of 10 may be smallmouth bass. See below for shoal bass exceptions in specific tributaries of the Chattahoochee River.)
(Note the size restrictions below for certain waters: Demopolis, Guntersville, Harris, Jackson at Florala, Lewis Smith (Smith Lake), Little Bear Creek, Pickwick, Walter F. George (Eufaula), West Point, Wheeler, Wilson,and some Alabama State Public Fishing Lakes and federally controlled small lakes.)

Walleye…………… 2 walleye picture by Duane Raver of the US Fish and Wildlife Service
"It shall be illegal to take or attempt to take walleye by any method from Sweetwater Lake located in the Talladega National Forest, Cleburne County, from White Plains Lake (also known as Whitesides Mill Lake), Calhoun County, and from Shoal Creek upstream of White Plains Lake, Calhoun and Cleburne counties. It shall also be illegal to take or attempt to take walleye by any method from Lake Mitchell on the Coosa River between Mitchell Dam and Lay Dam or from its tributary streams; Walnut Creek in Chilton County; and Hatchet Creek in Coosa and Clay counties; and Weogufka Creek in Coosa County. Any walleye taken in these lakes or streams shall immediately be released back into the waters from which they were taken with least possible harm.

Sauger…………… 5 sauger picture by Duane Raver of the US Fish and Wildlife Service
(It is illegal to possess any Sauger less than 14 inches in total length. Sauger in Alabama are restricted to the Tennessee River basin.)

White Bass…………… 15

Yellow Bass…………… 15

Saltwater Striped Bass, and Hybrids or Combinations…………… 15
(No more than five of the 15 may exceed 22 inches in total length; see exceptions below for Inland, Lewis Smith, Martin, Thurlow and Yates.)

Crappie…………… 30
(It is illegal to possess any crappie less than nine inches in total length taken from Alabama public waters, including Aliceville Reservoir and Pickwick Reservoir. Waters exempt from the nine-inch crappie limit include impoundments less than 500 surface acres (which includes all state owned public fishing lakes), the reciprocal waters of the Chattahoochee River and impoundments and their tributaries, Bear Creek Reservoir (Big Bear Lake of the B.C.D.A. Lakes), Lake Jackson at Florala and Weiss Reservoir, see ten inch minimum length limit for Weiss Reservoir.)

Bream…………… 50

measuring a large blue catfishCatfish…………… It is illegal to possess more than one (1) catfish over 34 inches in total length taken from Alabama public waters, see exceptions below. No blue catfish or flathead catfish over 34 inches in total length may be transported live beyond the boundaries of this state unless permitted in writing by the Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. (This size limit shall not apply for harvest of blue catfish and flathead catfish from river basins where blue catfish and flathead catfish are not native.  These river basins include the Perdido, Conecuh, Blackwater, Yellow, Choctawhatchee, Chipola, and Chattahoochee rivers.)  There is no limit on smaller catfish taken by legal methods.

Alligator Gar…………… 1 Alligator gar drawing by Duane Raver of the US Fish and Wildlife Service

Rainbow Trout…………… 5 Rainbow trout drawing by Duane Raver of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
It shall be unlawful to cull from the creel any trout caught from the Sipsey Fork from Lewis Smith Dam downstream to the confluence with the Mulberry Fork.  Culling is defined as removing and releasing a trout from the creel (live well, stringer, basket, bucket, cooler or other container) whether or not it is replaced with another trout.

The creel and possession limits provided for above shall not apply to fish held live for release by the sponsor or its designated agent after a bona fide fishing tournament provided they are released unharmed to the public waters from which they were taken as soon as reasonably possible on the same day they were taken. This does not obligate the sponsor or its designated agent to release dead or dying fish.

Paddlefish (Spoonbill) …………… 0  Paddlefish drawing by Duane Raver of the US Fish and Wildlife Service
Regulation 220-2-.94: It shall illegal to take or attempt to take paddlefish (spoonbill) from all public waters of Alabama by any method or to possess paddlefish (spoonbill) or any part of a paddlefish (spoonbill).  Any paddlefish (spoonbill) accidentally captured shall be immediately returned to the waters from whence it came.  This regulation does not apply to commercially packaged paddlefish (spoonbill) products imported from out-of-state or to paddlefish (spoonbill) cultured at hatchery operations or grow out ponds permitted through the Commissioner, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Sturgeon…………… 0  Sturgeon drawing is by Duane Raver of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Regulation 220-2-.26, Section (4): All species of sturgeon are hereby declared to be protected fish within this State and any person who shall catch a sturgeon shall immediately return it to the waters from whence it came with the least possible harm.

Limits on estuarine and saltwater fish caught within the freshwater jurisdiction are found on the saltwater portion of this Web site.

SPECIAL CREEL LIMITS APPLY ON THE RECIPROCAL WATERS OF THE CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER AND IMPOUNDMENTS AND THEIR TRIBUTARIES; CHECK LOCALLY OR SEE REGULATION 220-2-.122.

220-2-.57 Daily Creel Limits - U.S. Forest Service Lands
The following creel limits shall exist for Open, Buck, Ditch and Otter Ponds, located on U. S. Forest Service lands in Covington County: A daily creel limit of 20 bream, 2 bass, 5 catfish per person, the limits representing aggregate totals from any or all of the four ponds.

220-2-.61 Creel, Possession and Size Limits for Federally Owned and Managed Ponds and Lakes
The daily creel, possession and size limits for game fish and catfish in Federally owned and managed ponds and fishing lakes in the State of Alabama shall be as posted at each pond or lake. Creel, possession and size limits for fish not posted shall be the same as otherwise provided for all public waters of this State.


SIZE LIMITS

1. Demopolis Reservoir - It is illegal to possess any black bass less than 14 inches in total length.

2. Guntersville Reservoir and Its Tributary of Town Creek - It is illegal to possess any largemouth bass or smallmouth bass less than 15 inches in total length.

3. Harris Reservoir - It is illegal to possess any largemouth bass between 13 inches and 16 inches in total length.

4. Lake Jackson at Florala - Creel limit of five black bass greater than 12 inches in total length. Only one of the five can be over 22 inches in total length.

5.  Lake Martin - It is illegal to possess more than two saltwater striped bass that are over 22 inches in total length in the daily creel limit. 
It shall be unlawful to intentionally cull from the creel any saltwater striped bass from June 15th to October 15th. Culling is defined as removing and releasing a saltwater striped bass from the creel (live well, stringer, basket, bucket, cooler or other container) whether or not it is replaced with another striped bass.

6. Lewis Smith Reservoir (Smith Lake) - It is illegal to possess more than two saltwater striped bass that are over 22 inches in total length in the daily creel limit.
It shall be unlawful to intentionally cull from the creel any saltwater striped bass from June 15th to October 15th.  Culling is defined as removing and releasing a saltwater striped bass from the creel (live well, stringer, basket, bucket, cooler or other container) whether or not it is replaced with another striped bass.

7. Lewis Smith Reservoir (Smith Lake) - It is illegal to possess any black bass between 13 inches and 15 inches in total length (changed on June 1, 2005).

8.Little Bear Creek Reservoir of the B.C.D.A. Lakes - It is illegal to possess largemouth bass between 13 inches and 16 inches in total length.

9. Pickwick Reservoir - It is illegal to possess any smallmouth bass less than 15 inches in total length or any crappie less than 9 inches in total length. (Changed to 15 inches on September 25, 2012.)

10. Thurlow Reservoir - It is illegal to possess more than two saltwater striped bass that exceed 22 inches in total length in the daily creel limit and only one of those may exceed 30 inches in total length.

11. Walter F. George Reservoir (Lake Eufaula) and its Tributaries - It is illegal to possess any largemouth bass less than 14 inches in total length.

12. Weiss Reservoir - It is illegal to possess crappie less than 10 inches in total length.

13. West Point Reservoir and its Tributaries - It is illegal to possess any largemouth bass less than 14 inches in total length.

14. Wheeler Reservoir -Beginning September 25, 2012, it is illegal to possess any smallmouth bass less than 15 inches in total length.

15. Wilson Reservoir and Its Tributaries of Big Nance and Town Creek - It is illegal to possess any smallmouth bass less than 15 inches in total length.  (Changed to 15 inches on September 25, 2012.)  (Since February 12, 2005, Wilson Lake does not have a minimum length limit for largemouth bass or spotted bass.)

16. Yates - It is  illegal to possess more than two saltwater striped bass that exceed 22 inches in total length in the daily creel limit and only one of those may exceed 30 inches in total length.

17. Inland Reservoir - It is illegal to possess more than two saltwater striped bass that exceed 22 inches in total length in the daily creel limit and only one of those may exceed 30 inches in total length.

18. Chattahoochee River Tributaries - It is illegal to possess shoal bass in Little Uchee, Uchee, Osanippa, Halawakee and Wacoochee creeks (Chattahoochee River drainage).

220-2-.115 Snagging or Snatching Fish on the Tennessee River
It shall be unlawful to take fish on the Tennessee River or its impoundments by pulling a single hook or group of hooks through the water (snagging or snatching), provided said hooks may be so used with bait and/or lures to entice fish to strike or bite such bait or lure. It shall further be unlawful to catch a fish on the Tennessee River or its impoundments by hooking the fish in any place other than the mouth or head. Any fish hooked other than in the mouth or head must immediately be returned to the water from where it came with the least possible harm.

Note: It is a violation of Alabama law for any person to transport more than one day's creel limit of any species of game fish beyond the boundaries of this state. It is a violation of Alabama law for any person to fillet freshwater fish while on public waters except when fish are being prepared for immediate cooking and consumption, provided however, that fish may be drawn or gutted with heads left attached.

NOTE: IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL FOR ANY ANGLER TO FISH WITH MORE THAN THREE RODS AND REELS, OR POLES, OR ANY COMBINATION THEREOF ON WEISS RESERVOIR OR NEELY HENRY LAKE, AT ANY TIME.

THERE IS NO CLOSED SEASON ON ANY FRESHWATER GAME FISH.

The sale of game fish taken from public water is prohibited by law in Alabama.

220-2-.13 Reasonable Effort Must Be Made to Retrieve Crippled Birds, Animals and Fish
It shall be illegal for any person, firm, or corporation to kill or cripple any species of game bird, game animal or game fish without making a reasonable effort to retrieve same and include it in his daily bag or creel limit. Nothing in this regulation permits or requires a person to enter upon the land or waters of another for the purpose of retrieving game or fish without the permission of the landowner.

Possession of certain animal species, including fish, is illegal in Alabama, see 220-2-.26 and 220-2-.92, as is the release of bait

The entire Alabama Regulations for Game, Fish, and Furbearing Animals is available as a pdf.  This book does not include laws that regulate fishing and hunting.

NOTICE: Information and regulations on saltwater species can be found at the Marine Resources Division Web site.


Note: Total length of fish is measured from the front of the mouth to the tip of the tail with both mouth and tail closed.

Official Web site of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
©2008 Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources   |   64 N. Union Street, Suite 468 - Montgomery, Alabama 36130