Anglers: It's illegal to transport live fish

Holding fish in a live fish well while fishing is fine. Transporting live fish home is not. Fish must be released or killed before leaving the lake.

With the warming weather, it’s time to head to the lake and catch some fish! Spring is a great time to harvest crappie, bass or trout for the dinner table. While most anglers know the bag limits for each species, some are unaware it is illegal to transport live fish in Idaho without a permit, which are only issued for special circumstances.

Live wells, minnow buckets and coolers can be a source of trouble for anglers who aren’t aware of the rules about moving live fish. Here’s a few tips about transporting live fish to keep in mind:

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Fish must be killed or released before leaving: Using your boat’s live well, a bucket, cooler or other container to store live fish while on the water, is fine and legal. However, transporting live fish away from the lake, reservoir, or other body of water when you leave is illegal. If you plan to take fish home, you must kill them first.

Bag/length limits apply to fish kept in a live well: Fish that don’t meet the minimum length, or are not in season or otherwise cannot be possessed cannot be kept in a live well. For example, let’s say the bass rules allow a six-fish limit with 12-inch minimum length. That means an angler can not put more than six bass in the live well, or any bass less than 12 inches long. All harvest and possession rules apply to fish kept in a live well!

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