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Turtle and Frog

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.

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
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. 

A valid sport fishing license allows you to take and possess a maximum of 100 pounds of live turtles or 50 pounds of dressed turtles. You must have a special license to sell live or dressed turtles.

If you are a nonresident of Iowa you can only take common snapping turtles, softshells and painted turtles from the Missouri, Mississippi and Big Sioux rivers. Nonresidents cannot take any other turtles or crayfish anywhere else in the state. The taking of turtle eggs from the wild is prohibited.

Residents can take common snapping turtles, softshells and painted turtles.

You can take turtles only by hand, turtle hook, turtle trap or hook and line. 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 allow passage of fish and small turtles. On hoop type traps the 7-1/2 inch escape hole shall be located in the last hoop to the tail-line. Any unattended gear used to take turtles must have a metal tag bearing the owner’s name and address. All turtle traps must be lifted and emptied of their catch at least once every 72 hours.

More information on Iowa's turtles: