Know state fishing rules so you don’t catch a charge on the water


MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — Authorities said two Tennessee men face criminal charges after reportedly being caught with fish over the legal limit. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said follow the rules or face charges and a possible fine.

“Try to come fishing once a week if I can,” Tommy Smith, a local fisherman, said.

Smith fished Wednesday at Lake Graham in east Madison County. “It’s just a nice day, so I came today,” he said.

Know the rules before you head out. TWRA Major Brian Thompson said you can only catch certain fish of a certain size in certain waters in Tennessee. “If you’re crappie fishing on Kentucky Lake, you can only catch 20 crappie, and they have to be at least 10 inches long,” Thompson said.

Thompson said on the Hatchie River you get 30 crappie, and they do not have a size limit. “We don’t want to over-fish our fisheries,” he said.

Thompson said people 13 or older also need a fishing license. “That’s on private property or public property,” he said.

If you get caught with fish over the legal limit, Thompson said you could be issued a citation and have to pay up to $500 in fines plus court costs. “Each fish over the legal limit, each fish undersized is a separate offense,” he said. “So if you catch several over, then you can have several charges.”

Smith just enjoys the sport. “I’ve been fishing pretty well all my life,” he said.

Thompson said you can get a fishing license online or at certain retail stores like Wal-Mart or outdoor stores.

Thompson said Free Fish Day in Tennessee is June 10. He said you can fish anywhere in the state on TWRA properties or on public waters without a license.

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