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Do These Texas Fishing Laws Come as a Surprise?

These are some of the more interesting Texas fishing laws we could find.


Fishing is a unique sport in and of itself, and more than a few anglers experience their fair share of adventure while out on the water. However, it’s important to know what is and isn’t legal in your state. In Texas, the fishing laws are posted for all to see. Other states do the same.

RELATED: Where to Fish in Texas, and What You’ll Catch

Whether for safety’s sake or tradition, some practices just aren’t legal in Texas, while others are newly so. The more you know, the more fun you can have out on the water!

View the slideshow to see the Texas fishing laws that caught our eye, and share the best from your state in the comments.

It is illegal to fish using electric shock

Photo via

Water and electricity don’t go together well. At an early age, we all learn this. Keep the radio away from the bathtub, don’t go swimming when there’s lightning, etc…

And yet, for some individuals, electricity seems like the perfect way to catch as many fish as possible, either by stupefying them or outright killing them through the use of electrical devices such as generators, batteries, or electric fencing. Just don’t do it in Texas. In fact, it’s unwise to do it anywhere, as even possessing the equipment or trying to sell fish caught this way is punishable by law, even if you don’t fry yourself silly first.

This shouldn’t be confused with electrofishing, pictured above, which is a safe procedure that temporarily stuns fish to get them to float to the surface, where they can be counted or studied for survey purposes.

It is illegal to fish from a bridge

Bridges are a great place to find fish. Many like to loiter around the pilings, nibbling and laying eggs. For those with boats, it’s an ideal go-to spot to cast a line.

But for those without, often the only way to take advantage of this prime spot is to stand atop the bridge itself. Of course, there are obvious dangers. The determined angler could fall over the side with a hefty cast.

Worse, there is the ever-present danger of being hit by a car. In other states there are certain bridges it is legal to fish from, if you know where to look, but not in Texas.

Noodling is now legal in Texas

Noodling is the practice of wading out into the water and catching catfish with your bare hands.

The sport does have an inherent risk—an angler can easily catch himself or herself on the catfish’s barbs, and there is always the danger of alligators who share the catfish’s environment—but no more so than swimming in these waters or handling a fish after hooking it on a line.

In fact, it is readily practiced in nearby Louisiana. Why it was ever illegal in Texas is uncertain, but we’re happy to report that it is all right to noodle around here now.

RELATED: How to Noodle

It is illegal to fish using explosives

Photo via wikimedia

In what ought to be a considerable no-brainer of a law, the state of Texas prohibits fishing by the use of substances harmful to fish including poison and, yes, explosives.

While dynamite and blast fishing are certainly a quick and easy way to kill as many fish as possible, they are both wildly detrimental to the environment, are impossible to control in terms o f which animals are killed, and extremely dangerous to the blast fishers themselves. While Texas is known for its love of guns and loud fireworks, blast fishing is absolutely unwelcome.

You can’t leave bait fish to die

This one is sometimes tough to abide by, and that’s if you even knew it was a law to begin with.

The overall idea is to maintain the betterment of fish and fisheries throughout the state. By wasting fish, no matter how insignificant they may seem compared to the game fish they’re used to catch, you’re ultimately doing damage to the ecosystem.

We imagine this one would be a little tough to get busted on. All the same, keeping bait fish alive is for your own benefit, too. Most game fish aren’t interested in dead bait.

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Do These Texas Fishing Laws Come as a Surprise?