The reason why fishing regulations are so important is that you need to protect and conserve the state fisheries. Each time you plan a fishing trip in the waters of the state of Arizona, you need to check the current set of fishing regulations because they can be changed based on the fish populations and fishing season.

If you want to fish legally in any public water in Arizona, you’ll need a valid fishing or a combination license. Resident and nonresident anglers that are older than 10 years of age need a permit while youth under that age and blind residents don’t require one. Keep in mind that licenses are valid one year from the date that you make the purchase and that no license is transferable or refundable. Also, you must possess a valid fishing or a combination license for taking frogs, waterdogs, crayfish, and softshell turtles.

Purchasing a fishing license is easy and can be done using several methods. There are 250 license dealers in the state of Arizona where you can go and get one. Furthermore, you can apply for a license at the Arizona Game and Fish Department offices or online at

Depending on your needs, you can choose from different types of licenses. A permit for general fishing will cost you $37 while a combination for fishing and hunting $57. The main advantage is that the license allows you to fish all species statewide, including Community Fishing waters. Arizona residents can purchase a lifetime license from the Game and Fish offices.

Some important aspects you must consider if you want to obey the law while fishing in the waters of Arizona:


  • There are certain fish species that are protected and can’t be angled for possession such as the beautiful shiner, the bluehead sucker or the desert pupfish. You can consult the online resources and see all the types of fish that are part of this category. If a protected fish is accidentally caught, you must release it immediately unharmed.
  • If you get a fishing or a combo license you are allowed to have two poles or lines installed simultaneously. It is prohibited to use more than two lines at the same time.
  • While fishing, you must attend and keep an eye an all of your fishing lines.
  • If you leave a trap or a device used to catch or hold aquatic wildlife or fish unattended you are obligated to attach a water-resistant identification card that contains your name, address and fishing license number.  
  • Aquatic wildlife that is taken accidentally while using live baits or nets and traps must be returned immediately to the water without causing any harm to it.
  • If you use live crayfish as a bait you can only use it on the same body of water as where you captured it.
  • The live baitfish and crayfish that you catch must be used for personal use only and not sold for commercial purposes
  • There is a daily bag limit that you must obey. The rule specifies that daily bag limits are applied for a period of 24 hours. Once you catch a fish and you don’t release it, it will be included in the limit, as well as the fish given away to someone else.



Here you have other angling laws that might catch your attention:


  • You can’t have more than two daily bag limits of any fish species. This regulation refers to areas such as in the field, in camp, in transit or even at your permanent residence.
  • It is illegal to transport live fish even if you put them in live wells or containers. All fish that you catch must be killed or released before transportation from the body of water.

If you don’t obey these rules and regulations and you are found with unlawful possession of fish and wildlife you can become a subject of civil action by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. In addition, the civil damages may rise up until $8,000 per incident.



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