America’s strangest fishing laws

Whether you’re planning an epic fishing trip to the states, or just want a good laugh, you need to check out these seriously strange fishing laws from the other side of the pond.

Top tip: Going fishing in America? Leave your lasso at home.


Giraffe in front of mountain

Image source: byrdyak
Planning on riding a giraffe in Illinois? Just don’t be tempted to fish from it’s neck!

Never mind the rednecks, it’s the long necks that might get you in trouble in Chicago, Illinois. That’s because it’s forbidden to fish while sitting on the neck of a giraffe. If you’re stateside on business or pleasure and find yourself invited to go fishing, best steer clear of the zoo.

If you’ve avoided the exotic legal pitfall, take care heading to the river bank first thing. Don’t be tempted to head out for some sport without getting properly dressed because fishing in your PJs is strictly against the law. Best to stick to waders; just as comfy, waterproof and won’t land you in jail!

We know you’re crazy about fishing, but if you’re getting married perhaps you’d be best advised to take the day off from your favourite sport. If you really can’t resist the urge to wet a line, stay on the river bank. That’s because it’s illegal to fish from a boat on your wedding day.


Group of pals doing a toast with brandy

Image source: weyo
When in Ohio feel free to drink like a fish, just don’t get a fish drunk!

Drinking like a fish is one thing, but in Ohio, you need to be careful who you choose to get drunk with. It’s fine to chat to the bar flies, but to prevent a showdown with the deputy, avoid any old trout you find propping up the bar. Why? Because it’s against the law to get a fish drunk.

But it’s not just getting sea-life drunk that’s banned. Oh no. Ohio’s state motto is, “With God, all things are possible”. But not, it appears, if your chosen sport involves harpoons. That’s because fishing for whales is banned on Sundays.


Man with his mouth wide open

Image source: olly2
In Philly it’s illegal to catch a fish with any part of your body, except your mouth.

State capital, Philly is home to the Liberty Bell; it’s the city where the first United States flag was sewn and it’s the city that gave its name to the most famous soft cheese in the world. But though this Pennsylvania is synonymous with freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it’s not quite as free as you might think, especially if trout tickling is your thing.

In Pennsylvania, it’s illegal to catch a fish using any part of your body – other than your mouth – which presumably is how the big mouth bass got its name.


Stack of pebbles in a stream

Image source: Rawpixel
You might want to stop skimming stones; it’s illegal to chuck rocks at fish in Georgia.

Heading to the American South? You’re in for a treat. Southerners are renowned for their hospitality, but beware taking too much for granted. In the land of gentility, be careful to treat the rivers with respect. Forgot your fishing rod? Take our advice and walk away – it’s against the law to chuck rocks at fish.

Clearly, the USA is a place to watch your step when it comes to casting a line. If you don’t want to be netted by the law, it pays to make sure you check the rules or risk the scales of justice weighing against you. And if you’re ever in Tennessee – only use that lasso on cattle, fishing with it will land you in deep water!