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Bowfishing Regulations

Regulations related to bowfishing in Nebraska are found in the current Fishing Guide. Here are highlights you need to know and FAQ’s for bowfishing in the state. Always use common sense and keep safety in mind as many bowfishing areas are also open to other forms of outdoor recreation. It is important to maintain the image of a safe and ethical bow angler.

  • Those 16 years of age and older must have a valid fishing permit to bow fish. Non-residents under the age of 16 are not required to have a fishing permit when they are accompanied by someone that has a valid fishing permit.
  • All hand-drawn longbows (including compounds) and crossbows are legal for bowfishing in Nebraska.
  • Arrows may only have one, barbed point and be attached by a line to the bow at the time of being released.
  • Length limits and daily bag limits for the water body you are fishing remain in effect for bowfishing activity.
  • Archery Paddlefish: Special permit and additional regulations apply to bowfishing for paddlefish in Nebraska, including the restrictions on the use of crossbows. Consult the current Fishing Guide for application and regulations information.

    Bowfishing Season & Shooting Times

  • Non-Game Fish: Year-Round; 24 hours a day
  • Game Fish: July 1-December 31; Sunrise to sunset
  • Archery Paddlefish: June 1-30; Sunrise to sunset; other regulations apply
  • Fishing Species Guide

    Closed Waters (year round)

  • Platte River State Park
  • Eugene T. Mahoney State Park
  • Two Rivers State Recreation Area – Pond 5
  • Other park areas (as posted)

    Inside City Limits

  • Water bodies within Cities, Village and Towns are subject local ordinances that address bowfishing allowance. Generally, waters within city limits are not open to bowfishing. Check local ordinances.

    Private Waters

  • Permission is required to bow fish on any private waters in Nebraska. Statewide regulations apply on all private waters.

    Disposal of Fish

  • It is unlawful to leave dead fish or any part of one on the banks or in the water of any stream, lake or other body of water.