Aquatic Invasive Species Law
It is illegal to possess, introduce, purchase, sell, or transport aquatic invasive species in Iowa except when a species is being removed from watercraft and equipment, is caught and immediately killed or returned to the water from which it came, or is being transported in a sealed container for identification purposes. It is also illegal to introduce any live fish, except for hooked bait, into public waters.
Information regarding what license is needed, equipment that can be used, allowable bait species, non-bait species, selling bait, selling minnows outside of Iowa and bait inspection.
Catching a Tagged Fish
What should you do if you catch a fish with a tag on it? Record the following information about the fish and send to or call the nearest fisheries station.
- total length
- tag color and number
- date and location of catch
- whether the fish was released or kept
Fishing License Information
Information regarding resident license fees, nonresident licenses fees, trout fees, special licenses, free fishing days, military personnel, veteran's licenses and more.
Fishing Tackle Information
Information regarding snagging, number of lines and hooks you can use, trotlines and more.
Frogs and Turtles
Information regarding licenses, limits and seasons for both frogs and turtles.
Authorization by the Department of Natural Resources is required to conduct a fishing tournament on public waters under the jurisdiction of the state.
Ice Fishing Shelters
- Ice fishing shelters left unattended on land or water under the jurisdiction of the state must be labeled with the owner's name, street address, and city. Labels must be placed on all sides, and the lettering must be four-inch or larger block letters in a color contrasting to their background.
- Reflectors must be attached to all sides on any shelter left on the ice after sundown.
- Structures must not be locked while in use.
- Shelters must be removed from all state-owned lands and waters by February 20 or ice melt, whichever comes first, unless the deadline is extended.
Information regarding the fact that a boat equipped with any size motor may be operated at a no-wake speed on artificial lakes under the custody of the Iowa DNR of more than 100 acres in size and a list of lakes.
Penalties and Liquidated Damages
Liquidated damages information as well as information in regards to the "multiple offender" program.
When there is imminent danger of fish loss through natural causes, the Natural Resources Commission can order the taking of fish from any area and by such means they deem advisable to salvage such fish.
Stocking Public and Private Waters
You cannot stock or introduce into the waters of the state any live fish, except for hooked bait, without the permission of the director of the Iowa DNR. You can stock privately owned ponds and lakes.
What can I use to take fish?
Gaff hooks or landing nets may be used to assist in landing fish. Rough fish (carp, buffalo, quillback, gar, sheepshead, dogfish) can be taken day or night, by:
What cannot be used to catch fish?
- hand fishing
- bow and arrow
You cannot use to take or attempt to take any fish by:
- poisonous substances
- stupefying substances
You cannot take or kill, or attempt to take or kill any other fish by hand fishing except rough species (carp, buffalo, quillback, gar, sheepshead, dogfish).