Art Lander’s Outdoors: News and updates for 2024-25 hunting license year scheduled to begin March 1 – NKyTribune

Art Lander’s Outdoors: News and updates for 2024-25 hunting license year scheduled to begin March 1 – NKyTribune

The new licensing year begins on March 1 and continues until the last day of February of the following year (2025). Here are some points to consider before wetting the line:

Who needs a fishing license?

New licenses and permits are required annually for all except resident and nonresident boys and girls 15 years of age or younger, resident landowners and their spouses and dependent children, and tenants and their spouses and dependent children, who hunt on the lands on which they live and work. There is one exception.

On March 29, 2023, a notable change was made when Senate Bill 241 was enacted into law by the Kentucky General Assembly, removing the license and permit exemption for resident owners and tenants living and working on such lands, if the lands are less than Five acres in size.

Fishing license options

Largemouth bass (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

• An annual fishing license costs $23 for residents, $55 for non-residents.

• A joint/spousal annual fishing license costs $42 for residents, and is not available to non-residents.

• A one-day fishing license is $7 for residents, $15 for non-residents.

• A 3-year fishing license is available to residents only for $55 and must be purchased online.

• A 7-day non-resident fishing license is $35.

• Trout licenses cost $10 for residents and non-residents.

• Kentucky residents age 65 or older and Kentucky residents who are certified as completely and permanently disabled can purchase a Senior Citizen/Disabled License for $12. This license is not available to non-residents.

Where to buy licenses

Kentucky fishing licenses and permits can be purchased online through Kentucky’s secure online Fish and Wildlife License Sales site, or in person throughout the state at approximately 900 locations, including country stores, some county clerks’ offices, and hunting and fishing businesses. Local fish, and some chain stores that sell outdoor sporting goods.

To read all regulations regarding fishing, see the 2024-25 Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide which will be available online and in paper booklet, at the beginning of the new license year.

Noticeable changes in size limits

There have been three recent changes in size limits that not all hunters may be aware of, and should know before entering the new hunting season:

• In Kentucky’s muskie reservoirs, Buckhorn Lake, Cave Run Lake, Dewey Lake and Green River Lake, there is now a 40-inch minimum size limit for muskie.

• On three rivers, the Kentucky River above Lock and Dam 14, the Barren River upstream of Barren River Lake, and the Cumberland River upstream of Cumberland Falls, there is now a minimum size limit for smallmouth bass of 15 inches.

• At 12 lakes and two streams, including Boltz Lake, Corinth Lake and General Butler Lake in northern Kentucky, there is now a 12- to 15-inch slot limit on largemouth bass, meaning all bass caught that scale between 12 and 15 inches , must be edited.

Find a place to fish

Anglers looking for a small lake close to where they live can find plenty of options by accessing the Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) page on the KDFWR website.

The FINs program was created in 2006 to provide anglers with quality fishing opportunities close to home.

The program includes 45 lakes statewide.

Catfish and rainbow trout are regularly stocked in the lakes year-round, and sunfish and bass are sampled regularly to ensure that natural reproduction meets anglers’ needs. Supplemental stockings of sunfish and/or largemouth bass are made if necessary.

The FINs program is a cooperative agreement between KDFWR and city/county municipalities.

All 45 lakes in the FINs program have a standard set of regulations posted on the lakes. These regulations are more restrictive than state-level regulations to help spread the fish harvest over a longer period of time.

FINS regulations include:

• Rainbow trout, daily limit of five fish with no minimum size. Culling of trout is not permitted. Culling is keeping a trout in a livewell, fish basket or stringer and later replacing it with another fish.

• Catfish, daily krill limit is four with no minimum size.

• Largemouth bass, one daily creel limit with a minimum size of 15 inches.

• Bluegill/other sunfish, daily limit is 15 fish with no minimum size.

Possession or use of live shad as bait is prohibited in all FINs lakes. All caught grass carp must be released immediately. Grass carp are stocked to control aquatic plants. Casting nets are not permitted on FINs lakes to take live bait.

View storage tables to see a list of lakes by county.

Opinionated anglers

(Image from Flickr Commons)

What season of the year offers the best fishing?

It depends on who you ask and what their species preferences are. The fishermen don’t seem to agree.

A look at the list of fish recorded in Kentucky may provide some ideas.

There are more than 60 species of fish on Kentucky’s state record fish list, including about 34 species that are considered sport fish. Note that some species were stocked in past years and are no longer found in Kentucky waters.

Sport fish include: four species of black bass, eight species of sunfish, four species of moderate sea bass, five species of catfish, four species of perch, four species of trout, and five species of pike.

Of these 34 species of sport fish, 12 record fish were caught in the spring, 16 in the summer, five in the fall and one in the winter.

A complete list of state record fish and trophies is available from KDFWR.

Go fishing whenever you can, but keep in mind that spring and summer produce the largest numbers of fish. Why that is is another question that anglers probably won’t agree on.

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