Indiana University Bloomington

Primary Navigation

BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

Please, Don’t Shoot the Fish!

In my quest to find and verify strange Indiana laws that are circulating on the web, I came across this curious statement – “it is illegal to catch fish with your bare hands.” Even better, it turns out this one is true and is still in effect!  

According to IC 14-22-9-1, Unlawful Means of Taking Fish: 

(a) Except as allowed by sections 3 and 11 [IC 14-22-9-3 and IC 14-22-9-11] of this chapter, a person may not take fish from waters containing state owned fish, waters of the state, or boundary waters of the state by the following:

(1) Means of:

(A) a weir;

(B) an electric current;

(C) dynamite or other explosive;

(D) a net;

(E) a seine;

(F) a trap; or

(G) any other substance that has a tendency to stupefy or poison fish.

(2) Means of the following:

(A) A firearm.

(B) A crossbow.

(C) The hands alone.

Honestly, I found the list of prohibited ways and means to be more intriguing than the lone method I originally started with.  Don’t shoot fish with a crossbow?  Yes, that is an actual Indiana law.  And while we are on the topic, please no explosives, Wile E. Coyote.

So, how did I verify this unusual law?  Print resources!  Sometimes, print really is easier.  By looking in the General Index of Burns Indiana Statutes Annotated I found the subject heading FISH AND WILDLIFE, which directed me to another subject heading, FISHING.  Under FISHING, I found the entry, Hands alone, fishing method prohibited, §14-22-9-1.  Incidentally, Title 14 contains the subjects of Recreation, Land Management, and Water Rights; Article 22 relates to Fish and Wildlife, and Chapter 9 is Regulation of Fishing.  You can also search through the Indiana Code on the website of the Indiana General Assembly

By Jen Kulka (Library Intern & Guest Blogger)