There are fishing regulations on federal and state level. The federal government has established minimum guidelines for bowfishing
in the United States but each of the states also has its own and more specific guidelines for their waters up to three miles off the shore.
The US bow fishing regulations are the same as the national regulations for fishing in general. The US Congress passed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976. This act restricts people from other countries from fishing in American waters. In addition, the US Congress passed the Sustainable Fisheries Act in 1996 aiming to restore threatened fish species and protect their habitats.
Whether you need a license or not, depends on the state that governs the body of water. Nonetheless, there is no special license needed for bow fishing. You can use the same license that you will use when fishing the traditional way. Just note that some areas will require you to secure a permit.
Additionally, there are some fishes that are off limits such as white bass, sunshine bass, redbreast sunfish and black crappie. Notice that these are freshwater game fishes. The nongame freshwater fishes may be taken but only during the day in most areas.
You should also be cautious on what you are putting in your boat. The US bowfishing
regulations prohibit you from having a bow and game fish on your boat when trying to catch freshwater fish.
There are also limits on where you can bring the bow. Make sure that you know when and where you can bow fish. Fishing using bow and arrow are seasonal. You may also ask the management of the fishing area regarding the bag limits.
The local or state regulations vary. For example, Kansas allows bow fishing in all bodies of water except the 50 yards from the shore, boat dock or ramp. The fishes to be taken should be non-sport fish and that the fisherman has a fishing license from the state. Kansas also requires that you use only barbed head arrows that are attached to the bow by a line. In Texas, fishing license can also be used for bow fishing unless you are 17 years old or below and or was born before January 1, 1931. This state allows only long bow, crossbow, compound bow and recurved bow. Bowfishing
in Texas is limited to non-game fishes and there are no bag limits expect in Lake Texoma and Lady Bird Lake.
Click here to check out more bowfishing bows