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carlito77

Fishing Regulations

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What happens if you go to a lake that has Pike and Bass.  If I caught a Pike at that lake today, everything would be legal.  What would happen if I accidentally hooked into a Bass.  I would assume that as long as I throw it back everything is fine.  I guess the regulations really don't apply if you're a catch and release fisherman.  How can the authorities determine what you're fishing for.  Where I'm from panfish fishing is open all year.  I guess you fish for panfish all year, and if you catch a bass, as long as you throw it back, you are within the regulations.

Just to be clear, this is not something that i would practice.  the question was asked to me by a friend and I didn't know what to tell him aside from it being unethical.

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It's not so much how you're fishing or what you're using aas much as where you are.  

Opening day for trout season here is the 2nd saturday in April.  All trout waters (although they are also bass waters) are closed from the last day in Feb till opening day.

If you go "bass fishing" in these waters during closed trout season, you are poaching.  There may not even be stocked trout in there yet but if you get caught, you're in trouble.

Other places like the salmon runs in NY have "snagging" laws and illegal lures but that all explains itself.  As far as bass regulations on other lakes in other states, I think if you plan on releasing, it doesn't apply to you for the most part.

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Since pike and bass will hit some of the same lures and pike fishing is legal, just put the bass back and you are fine, more than likely. However it might be a good question to fly by your Fish and Game people.

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There are only five or six states where there is a fully closed bass season, NY being one of them. A few other states allow catch-and-release all year, although they have seasonal restrictions on possession.

In NY, it is illegal to fish for any species during its closed season. There is nothing wrong with accidentally catching an out-of-season fish as long as you're not targeting it.

There are also differences in how officers will enforce the law. Some will ticket you for targeting, others might not care as long as you aren't keeping. Just like some cops will ticket you for speeding and others will let you go with a warning.

Certainly you must avoid bass beds and using a bass-specific lure, such as a plastic worm. Other than that, I don't know how an officer would determine that you're illegally targeting.

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Guest avid

This is an interesting question.  I used to fish in NY all year long for bass.  Even back in the  70's I was a catch and release guy.  I rarely kept a bass for the bar-b-que.

that being said, I didn't know about sight fishing, or bed fishing back then.  I used to fish alot with a big mepps spinner, Manns jelly worm, and rapala. pretty much all year long so long as the water wasn't frozen.   I had my license checked a couple of times but no game warden ever said anything to me about fishing for bass out of season even though it was pretty clear that was what I was after.  

I suppose they could ticket you for targeting a species out of season, but if you wanted to fight it, I don't see how they could say that you were fishing for bass.  Who's to say a big crappie or bream won't hit a worm. We all know they will.

Now, what could you say you were fishing for with that 5/8 oz. Zara Spook?? ;D

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Guest ouachitabassangler

Most officers will focus on what's in the boat with you. If bass are illegal then don't have a bass rod, a single bass bait in the box, or a hook meant for bass. With no bass in the livewell, no bass scales in there, no 5 gallon bucket 'livewell' meant for dumping illegal fish if pursued, and not observed holding a bass for photos, etc, there is no hard evidence you are targeting bass, but they can inspect your gear for intent. It's the same principle as being caught with buckshot in your pocket while squirrel hunting during a closed deer season. Officers carry a guidebook with much more detail than public regulation books which are a general guide for them to determine intent in a manner that would hold up in court. In their book ought to be a listing of hook types and sizes meant for bass, and for panfish. They might be looking for scented baits which could be prohibited. It doesn't hurt to call your state's enforcement division to get the details. It's assumed a bass will eat a crappie bait just as crappie will often bite a bass lure, so as long as you immediately release a bass you should be covered if your gear checks out. They are not often out there looking for anglers to punish. If you take reasonable care you should be able to enjoy the lake.

Jim

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I suppose they could ticket you for targeting a species out of season, but if you wanted to fight it, I don't see how they could say that you were fishing for bass.  Who's to say a big crappie or bream won't hit a worm. We all know they will.

You may be right that it would be hard to prove if you wanted to fight it out in court. But as to the worm, sure, panfish will take them, as will pike and pickerel, but telling someone that you're targeting non-bass with plastic worms may fall on deaf ears. I sure don't use worms when targeting non-bass.

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