HookedinFishing » Kentucky Fishing » Kentucky Laws & Regulations

Kentucky Fishing Laws & Regulations

The state of Kentucky offers plenty of opportunities for excellent fishing. Kentucky has 45 major lakes, countless ponds, and over 62,000 miles of creeks, and rivers.

To legally fish a valid KY fishing license is needed as well as knowledge of applicable fishing laws in the State. There are free or discounted licenses available to a few select groups that you can review in our who needs a fishing license guide.

Kentucky uses the money from fishing license sales to conserve the quality of fishing for the generations to come.

Types of Fishing Licenses Offered in Kentucky

Annual Fishing$23.00$55.00
Joint/Spouses Annual Fishing$42.00Not Available
1-Day Fishing$7.00$15.00
3-Year Fishing (Online Only)$55.00Not Available
Nonresident 7-Day FishingNot Available$35.00
Trout Permit$10.00$10.00
Annual Combination Hunting/Fishing$42.00Not Available
Senior/Disabled Sportsman’s* (Includes same license and permits as Resident Sportsman’s License, plus additional deer permits.)$12.00Not Available
Sportsman’s License* (Includes combination hunting/fishing, statewide deer permit, spring and fall turkey permits, state migratory game bird-waterfowl permit and trout permit.)$95.00Not Available
Youth (ages 12-15) Sportsman’s License* (Includes youth hunting license, youth deer permit and 2 youth turkey permits.)$30.00Not Available

You can purchase a Kentucky license online or buy in person at authorized retailers and tackle shops.

Kentucky has statewide species and size limits in order to maintain a healthy and sustainable population. Some bodies of water have different size and possession limits that you can find in the special regulations section of Kentucky’s fishing guide.

Below you will find the statewide species and size limits in the State of Kentucky: 

Kentucky Species Size Limits

Fish SpeciesDaily LimitPossession LimitMinimum Size Limit
Largemouth Bass6*12*12″
Smallmouth Bass6*12*12″
Kentucky (Spotted) Bass6*12*none
Coosa Bass6*12*none
Rock Bass1530none
Redear Sunfish2040none
Walleye, Sauger and their Hybrids6*12*14″
Chain Pickerel510none
Northern Pikenonenonenone
White & Hybrid Striped Bass15​**30**none**
Striped Bass51015″
Yellow Bassnonenonenone
Crappie (Black & White)20*40*none
Rainbow Trout816none
Brown Trout1216″
Brook TroutCatch and release only***
Lake SturgeonCatch and release only

* Singly or combined; a total of these species

** No more than 5 fish in the daily creel limit may be more than 15 inches long.

*** Except for the Cumberland River downstream of Wolf Creek Dam and the upper section of Hatchery Creek, see Special Regulations section for details.​

Learn more about fishing in Kentucky.