Fishing season: When does it open?

17th December 2021 Elena Manighetti

Fishing season: When does it open?

Fishing is a lot of fun - it’s an opportunity to get out and connect with nature. It’s also a great way to bond with friends and family.

However, it’s important to do it sustainably to protect marine habitats and endangered species. For this reason, we all need to closely follow local fishing regulations, especially the ones around the fishing season. These are in place to let sea life reproduce freely and to avoid decimating a population when its numbers are low. 

By not fishing in the close season you get to skip a frustrating day out and to help keep the fish numbers up, which in turn means you can hopefully keep going angling in the future.

Fishing isn’t allowed year-round in most places. Every country and region has specific laws, which dictate when, where, and for what species you’re allowed to go fishing. Regulations vary between saltwater and freshwater fishing, too. 

Let’s look at when the fishing season opens and closes each year in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the UK.

United States

Generally, in the US the fishing season starts around March, at the beginning of spring. This is when the water gets warmer and the fish start spawning. However, each state has different regulations.

In some areas, catch-and-immediate-release of some species is allowed year-round. The fishing season changes based on the kind of fish you intend to catch. So if you time it right, you could go fishing anytime, as long as you follow local laws. Be mindful of using the right kind of bait or lure, so you don’t attract fish you can’t hook.

Below we lay out when the fishing season starts and ends in some of the States where angling is very popular. Bear in mind that you’ll need to find out which species you can catch at different times of year.

  • Michigan: between April/June and October/March

  • Alabama: between February/May and August/November

  • Texas: almost year-round, depending on the species

  • Florida: almost year-round, depending on the species

  • California: between January/May and October/December

  • Minnesota: between April/June and October/December

  • New York: almost year-round, depending on the species

  • Pennsylvania: almost year-round, depending on the species

  • Alaska: between Mach/July and September/October

  • Wyoming: almost year-round, depending on the species

  • Louisiana: almost year-round, depending on the species

So while regulations vary widely, you can work around them, especially if you’re prepared to travel a little.

Australia and New Zealand

In Australia, the fishing season duration varies depending on the state and species. Regulations allow you to fish almost year-round in many areas - when the season closes for one species, it opens for another. There are limits to the size and quantity of fish you can catch, too. It’s important to check those out.

In New Zealand, the season runs between 1st October and 30th April for most fish. You can hook some species year-round in certain locations. The regulations are a little different on the North Island versus the South Island, so make sure to download the booklet for the correct area you intend to fish in.

UK

In the UK, you can practice coarse (catch-and-immediate-release) fishing year-round for some species. What they call “game fishing” (taking the fish home to eat it) is also allowed during most months, depending on the species. For example, you can catch cod and whiting in winter, and bass and pollock in the summer.

During the close season, canals, fisheries, and reservoirs are still open. So you can always opt for some freshwater fishing in the forbidden months.

Europe

In Europe, each country is completely independent. The European Union has laid out the basis for common fishing regulations. However, fish migrate across Europe at different times. For this reason, each country has its own fishing laws, which also vary between regions within the same country. There are catch limits, based on the quotas assigned by the EU to each member state. Be sure to look for information about the regulations in your region, rather than country.

As you can see, the fishing season opens and closes at different times, depending on the location, time of year, and species. While it’s a little complicated, it means you can almost always find a way to fish year-round - whether it means switching to freshwater fishing or catching different species.

You need to research official information for the country and region in which you wish you fish thoroughly. A fishing license is needed pretty much everywhere, so you will be sent the regulations when you apply for yours.

If you’re looking for ways to fish more sustainably, we wrote an article about it here. For more information about sport fishing best practices, head here.

Please don’t rely on this article only for fishing information. Make sure to check local regulations before you make any plans. Rules change often and can vary from region to region within the same state or country. In many places, there are restrictions as to which fish you can catch at different times of the year and as to how many you can hook. Always look for official information. Pay close attention to no-fishing zones and marine parks.


Download the Deckee app from the App Store or Google Play for free. On the detailed map, you’ll find fishing spots, as well as speed zones, anchorages, docks, and more. Log your fishing trips and take notes of each session, so you can learn about the best times and conditions to fish.

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