Bow fishing is becoming more popular every year, bringing new archers into this amazing sport. The first step to start bow fishing is to know the laws of your state before you ever go out on the water. Georgia is actually very good about putting their laws online to be found easily by anglers. For newcomers, I put the regulations in this article as well as links to tips for the beginner bow fisherman.
What Georgia law says about bow fishing
Non game fish may be taken by bow and arrow from freshwater under the following conditions: (does not include channel or flathead catfish)
- Possession of a sport fishing license is required to bow fish in Georgia.
- Arrows must be equipped with barbs or similar devices for recovering fish and must be attached to the person or bow by a line sufficient for recovering the arrow and fish. For tips on arrows matching this description please read HERE.
- Poisonous or exploding arrowheads are illegal. So no Rambo arrows.
- Arrows cannot be discharged into the water closer than 150 feet to anyone engaged in any other means of recreation. This is to protect other recreators from stray arrows.
- Legal hours for fishing with bow and arrow are from sunrise to sunset, except that fish (nongame) may be taken at night while using a light in reservoirs over 500 acres in size.
- Any game fish with an open wound possessed by a person bow fishing will be considered evidence of taking fish illegally.
- Know your target – the take of protected species is unlawful.
- Note: Channel and flathead catfish are game fish, and may not be taken by bow and arrow, except in the Savannah River and its tributaries and impoundments in the Savannah River basin by bow and arrow any time during the day or at night by the use of a light.
This is the part you need to know
It is unlawful to discard fish caught in public waters. I know some states do not word their laws this specifically. A lot of states have the “waste of wildlife” wording most are familiar with. Every angler should use their catch in some way especially when bow fishing. Not only can discarding fish be considered unethical, but also illegal in Georgia.
As you read earlier a fish with an open wound can be used as evidence of a fish taken with bow equipment. Just be aware of your target before shooting. Having an illegal fish with an arrow hole through it will not go over well.
Protected species in Georgia
This graphic comes straight from the Georgia regulations website. I simply included it here for your convenience.
What fish are considered GAME FISH by Georgia
Georgia defines game fish on THIS LIST. It includes the following fish.
Georgia Game fish list
- Striped Bass, White Bass and/or Hybrid White-Striped Bass
- sunfish or bream
Sturgeon may not be taken in fresh or salt water in Georgia.