Frogs & Turtles
Turtle and Frog

Frog Limits and Seasons:
All frogs except bullfrogs and crawfish frogs:

Continuous open season in inland and boundary waters.
  • 48 frogs in daily bag limit
  • 96 frogs in possession limit
  • No minimum length limit
Bullfrogs:
Continuous open season in inland and boundary waters.
  • 12 bullfrogs in daily bag limit
  • 12 bullfrogs in possession limit
  • No minimum length limit
Crawfish frogs:
On Iowa's threatened and endangered list and cannot be taken.
  • You cannot possess, transport, import, export, process, sell or offer for sale, buy or offer to buy.
  • A common or contract carrier shall not transport or receive for shipment.
Frog Regulations :
  • You need a fishing license to take frogs.
  • You cannot shoot a frog in the water with a rifle.
  • Frogs may be used for food or bait.
  • You cannot use any device, net barrier, or fence which prevent frogs from having free access to and from the water.
  • You cannot transport any frogs, taken in Iowa, out of state.
  • You can purchase, sell, or possess frogs or any portion of their carcasses that have been legally taken and shipped in from outside the state.




Turtle Seasons:
Spiny softshell, smooth softshell and painted turtles
  • Open December 15 until May 14.
  • Closed May 15 until July 15.
  • Open July 16 until January 10.

Common snapping turtle
Continuous open season.

Turtle Limits:
You can take and possess a maximum of 100 pounds of live turtles or 50 pounds of dressed turtles.

Spiny softshell, or smooth softshell
Daily catch limit - 1

Painted turtle
Daily catch limit - 1

Common snapping turtle

Daily catch limit - 4

Turtle Regulations:
  • You need a fishing license to take common snapping turtles, spiny softshells, smooth softshells,
    and painted turtles.
  • Nonresidents can only take common snapping turtles, spiny softshells, smooth softshells, and painted turtles from the Missouri, Mississippi and Big Sioux rivers.
  • You must have a special license to sell live or dressed turtles.
  • You cannot take turtle eggs from the wild.
  • You can take turtles only by hand, turtle hook, turtle trap or hook and line.
  • You cannot sort, cull, high-grade, or otherwise replace any turtle in possession.
  • Turtle traps must have no more than one throat or funneling device.
  • All turtle traps must have a functional escape hole provided with a minimum diameter in all directions of 7-1/2 inches to let fish and small turtles pass through.
  • The 7-1/2 inch escape hole on hoop type traps must be in the last hoop to the tail-line.
  • Set all turtle traps with the top of the trap visible above the waterline at all times.
  • You must attach an all-weather gear tag above the waterline to each piece of gear. The gear tag must plainly display the name, address, and license number of the licensee.
  • Check each trap and empty the catch at least every 72 hours (3 days). When checked, turtles shall be taken into possession or released immediately.


More information on Iowa's turtles: