Is Fishing With Lights Illegal? 20 States Where It’s Legal

Fishing at night can be such an amazing experience for many anglers. Many fishermen prefer to fish at night for several reasons. The main reason is that fish tend to be more active during nighttime.

However, it can be tricky to fish in the dark, so people have been wondering about fishing at night with lights.

Is fishing with lights illegal? Fishing with lights is illegal in some states but not in others. In most states, fishing with lights is legal; however, you might need a fishing license to be able to use light in certain areas. In other states, it is completely illegal to fish with lights.

Keep reading to learn more about where you can legally fish with lights and how fishing with lights works.

Is Fishing with Lights Illegal?

You can fish with lights legally in almost all the states. Some states have specific guidelines when it comes to fishing with lights, and there are certain states where fishing with lights is completely banned.

Where Can You Legally Fish with Light?

Here is a list of states where fishing with lights is legal with no specific regulations:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. California
  4. Delaware
  5. Georgia
  6. Idaho
  7. Indiana
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Michigan
  10. Minnesota
  11. Mississippi
  12. Nevada
  13. New Hampshire
  14. New Jersey
  15. Pennsylvania
  16. Rhode Island
  17. South Carolina
  18. South Dakota
  19. Texas
  20. Utah

Keep in mind that some of the places that allow fishing with lights might require you to have a fishing license, so it is always best to check the laws of your own state.

Some other places around the world might have harsher rules when it comes to using lights for fishing, such as Canada. That is due to the dangers that it might pose for anglers. Every location has its reasons, so we urge you to follow the law wherever you decide to fish.

Does Fishing with Lights Actually Work?

a photo of a boat with fishing lights to show if fishing with lights is illegal

Fishing lights are extremely useful and can be very helpful when fishing in the dark. Light can act as bait and attract a lot of different types of fish. This is particularly true for underwater lights, which attract baitfish as well as microorganisms.

Light also attracts fish while ice fishing, but it can be tough. You will need to put a lot of effort into finding the right holes to be able to find fish. Lights make ice fishing a lot easier in that regard. Once you find where fish are located, you will have great luck catching all types of fish.

Fishing using lights works well for both salt and freshwater. Using fishing lights has become more popular among freshwater fishermen, especially underwater lights. Fishing lights also work great for saltwater, especially if you are in the middle of the sea with no other light source to be found.

You can attract many types of fish with artificial light because the fish will usually be curious about the light source. Saltwater anglers usually target drum, grouper, flounder, snook, redfish, and mahi-mahi. These types of fish are usually the most curious and willing to bite.

In freshwater, the most active fish are usually crappie. However, many anglers have had good luck catching catfish, trout, bass, carp, and walleye. It all depends on the area you are fishing in and what type of baitfish are drawn to your light.

How Does Fishing with Lights Work?

There is a way in which fishing lights work. Fishing lights usually attract small organisms such as plankton, zooplankton, and baitfish. Bigger fish such as mullet, shad, shiners, and herring will come swimming right after baitfish to feed on them, depending on the body of water you’re fishing in.

After waiting a while, the bigger fish, which is the fish you came for, will start to move towards the baitfish to consume it. They will remain in the dark around the lights to be careful in case of predators. That is when you have the chance to catch your fish.

There are several colors for underwater lights, such as green, white, and blue. Anglers prefer green lights the most because it has proven to attract the most fish. Blue and white lights also work really well, but anglers have seen more results with green lights. You can learn more about the colors that fish can see here.

Glow sticks are sometimes a way to attract fish as well. Glow stick light is not as strong as a headlamp’s. They are an adequate source of light, regardless. You might have some good luck fishing with glow sticks. Extremely dedicated fish will be attracted to it.

If you are in a state where you can’t use lights to fish and you are intending to go night fishing, then using a Fish Finder can be of great help.

I use the Raymarine Dragon fly finder with built-in GPS and It’s absolutely fantastic and has been one of the best purchases I’ve made.

Related Questions

Can You Fish with Light in California?

You can fish with lights in California since it is legal. The area that you are fishing in has to be permitted. You can use light as a means of fishing tackle. All you need to do is make sure that the area you are fishing in allows nighttime fishing.

Can You Fish With Lights in Florida?

You can fish with lights in Florida; however, some parts of the state do not allow you to. You need to check whether the area that you are fishing in is legal or not. It is also important for you to check your local laws for fishing with lights. 

Can You Fish with Lights in Ontario?

It is illegal to fish with artificial light in Ontario unless you are fishing for lake whitefish, lake herring, and rainbow smelt. You are also only allowed to use light if it is part of the lure that you are using, and it has to be attached to the line that you are using to fish.

Are Squid Attracted to Light?

Squid are very attracted to light. Anglers usually easily catch squid because they are one of the most curious fish when using light. The good thing about this is that they can be caught for food and can also be used as bait.

Can Fish See at Night?

Fish can see at night. Most fish have impressive eyesight that allows them to distinguish shapes and successfully hunt at night. Their nighttime vision is stronger when there’s ambient light or when the water clarity is high.

Helpful Resources

How and What Fish See

Find Fish Faster Anywhere, Anytime

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