Private FarmPond Fishing



Daisy Olivo

Director of Communications

House Republican Leadership

(502) 564-4334


 Reps. Addia Wuchner, Marie Rader Work to Expand Private Property Rights for Kentuckians

Legislation Would Create ‘Kentucky Fishing at Home with Family and Friends Act’

 FRANKFORT, Ky. (November 2, 2016)Last week, Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, and Rep. Marie Rader, R-McKee, pre-filed legislation aimed to expand private property rights for Kentuckians. The bill, B.R. 257, would create a new fishing license exemption for friends and invited guests of private landowners when fishing on their property, but only from ponds or lakes that do not allow fish entry from or exit to public waters. “Family memories and lifelong friendships are forged on the banks of a pond with a pole in hand,” said Rep. Wuchner.  “Kentuckians and their families have the right to fish their own privately owned, and stocked ponds, and they should be able to extend that right to their friends and invited guests, without needing those individuals to get a fishing license.”

“As Kentuckians, experiencing the joy of fishing is one of our most treasured memories,” said Rep. Marie Rader. “Property rights are important to all Kentuckians.” Kentucky’s current fishing license exemption only extends to immediate family and next of kin of the property owner. In the past, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife stocked private ponds and lakes. However, the state no longer stocks privately owned lakes and ponds, removing any concerns associated with public monies benefitting private property owners.

“Recently, a land-owner in Boone County contacted me to express his disappointment that his friends who were attending a cookout with his family would be unable to fish in his privately owned and stocked pond without a license,” added Wuchner. “Several surrounding states like Indiana do not require a license to fish on privately owned property and we should extend that same right to Kentuckians at home.”

“Our Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Division does a tremendous job supporting the fishing culture in the Commonwealth,” continued Wuchner. “They are a constant and guiding force in the preservation of Kentucky’s fish and wildlife. For the most part, Fish and Wildlife Department officials are not going on private property looking for folks fishing without a license. But, every Kentuckian should simply have the right to be able to drop a line and fish with their family and friends on their own property and not be in violation of the law.”

“Since Daniel Boone first crossed the Gap finding an abundance of fish and game, Kentuckians have fished for subsistence and sport,” added Rep. Rader. “Exempting the fishing license requirement is just the right thing to do for our people.” The 2017 Regular Session begins in January.


Fishing License Exemption

1.                  The bill would amend KRS 150.170 to exempt anyone fishing on a privately owned pond or lake from having a fishing license, including members of private clubs, country clubs and homeowner’s associations.  Resident landowners and their dependent family fishing on their own property, as well as children under the age of 16, are already license exempt.

2.                  It is conservatively estimated that approximately $1.2 million dollars in revenue will be lost if this bill passes. Approximately 11% of all license holder indicated that they only (or almost exclusively) fish in farm ponds.

3.                  The KDFWR does not receive any tax dollars or general fund allocation and is funded solely by Kentucky’s sportsmen and women.  Sportsmen pay for Conservation!

4.                  Kentucky’s fishing licenses cost only $20 per year, less than most surrounding states.  As Kentucky is a premier fishing destination, a fishing license represents one of the best bargains for family outdoor experiences.

5.                  To make up the $1.2 million of lost revenue, KDFWR will have to raise fishing licenses 67% to $33.41 per license or cut many existing outreach and fisheries management programs.

 6.                  Over 90% of all private farm ponds in Kentucky were originally stocked from fish provided by KDFWR stocking programs.  KDFWR spent more than $4.15 million on the FREE Technical Guidance to private farm pond owners since that program started.

 7.                  Fishing license sales directly support: stocking public waters with over six million fish every year; operating the two fish hatcheries that produce these fish; operating 50 Fishing-In- Neighborhoods (FINS) program lakes that provide a public place to fish in urban areas; free technical guidance for private farm pond owners (a $500 value per occurrence); statewide management of over 87 reservoirs and streams; boat ramp construction and maintenance; summer conservation camps; kids fishing events; law enforcement presence on Kentucky’s public waterways; fish habitat programs; Asian Carp and other invasive species control efforts in Kentucky; and much more.

 8.                  A reduction in revenue would mean the elimination of free technical support for farm ponds; reduce the size of the FINS program, reduce the number of fish stocked in Kentucky’s public waters; reduce the number of Conservation Officers protecting the public; reduce or eliminate the construction of new boat ramps; reduce our ability to control the Asian Carp population; and eliminate several programs to introduce new fishermen to the sport.

 9.                  A reduction in revenue would also endanger our summer conservation camps for kids, with fewer kids able to attend.  A reduction would also endanger educational programs at the Salto Wildlife Education Center.

 10.              The wildlife of the Commonwealth belong to all of the people, not just the landowner, and everyone should contribute to managing and protecting Kentucky’s wildlife population.

UNOFFICIAL COPY AS OF 01/09/17  17 RS BR 257
Page 1 of 3 BR025700.100 – 257 – XXXX  Jacketed
AN ACT relating to fishing license exemptions. 1

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky: 2

Section 1.   KRS 150.170 is amended to read as follows: 3

(1) Except as provided in the following subsections of this section, and subject to 4

administrative regulations promulgated under this chapter, no person, resident, or 5

nonresident shall do any act authorized by any kind of license or permit or assist in 6

any way any person in doing any act provided for in this chapter with respect to 7

wildlife unless he holds the kind of license or permit, resident or nonresident, that 8

authorizes the act. It shall be the specific purpose of this chapter to prohibit the 9

taking or pursuing of any wildlife, protected or unprotected, or the fishing in any 10

stream or body of water whether public or private, without first procuring the 11

license provided for in KRS 150.175, except to the extent as may be otherwise 12

provided in this section. 13

(2) A person under sixteen (16) years of age may, without a sport fishing license, take 14

fish by angling, or take minnows by the use of a minnow seine, minnow trap, or dip 15

net. 16

(3) A person under twelve (12) years of age shall be exempt from being required to 17

obtain a sport hunting or sport trapping license as required by this chapter. 18

(4) The resident owner of farmlands or his or her spouse or dependent children shall, 19

without procuring a[any] sport hunting license[or sport fishing licenses], have the 20

right to[ take fish or] hunt during the open season, except trapping, on the farmlands 21

of which they are bona fide owners. Tenants or their dependent children residing 22

upon these farmlands shall have the same privilege. 23

(5) When fishing on private property, the property owner or his or her spouse or 24

dependent children shall, without procuring a sport fishing license, have the right 25

to take fish from private ponds or lakes on the property if the private ponds or 26

lakes do not allow fish entry from or exit to public waters. Tenants or their 27

UNOFFICIAL COPY AS OF 01/09/17  17 RS BR 257
Page 2 of 3 BR025700.100 – 257 – XXXX 

Jacketed dependent children residing upon the private property shall have the same 1

privilege. Invited guests shall also have the same privilege if they are fishing in 2

the presence of a person who is sport fishing license-exempt under this 3

subsection and they have not paid for the right to fish there. 4

(6) Residents or nonresidents observing and participating in field trials, training 5

exercises, or other competitions as authorized by the department may observe and 6

participate without obtaining a hunting or guide’s license so long as game is not 7

taken. 8

(7)[(6)] Any resident serviceman on furlough of more than three (3) days in this state 9

may, without any Kentucky sport hunting or sport fishing licenses, do any act 10

authorized by the licenses, but while so doing he shall carry on his person proper 11

identification and papers showing his furlough status. 12

(8)[(7)] Landowners, their spouses or dependent children, or their designee who must 13

be approved by the commissioner, who kill or trap on their lands any wildlife 14

causing damage to the lands or any personal property situated thereon shall not be 15

required to have a hunting or trapping license and may do so during periods other 16

than the open season for the particular species without a tag and dispose of the 17

carcass on-site. Tenants, their spouses, their dependent children, or other persons 18

approved by the commissioner, shall also have the same privilege. Upon destruction 19

of any wildlife by the above-specified individuals, the act shall be reported to a 20

conservation officer within twenty-four (24) hours of the kill. Individuals wishing to 21

transport the carcass from the property upon which it was killed shall contact 22

personnel of the department to request a disposal tag or other authorization. Inedible 23

parts from wildlife taken under the authorization of this section shall not be utilized 24

for any purpose and shall be destroyed or left afield. The department shall 25

promulgate administrative regulations establishing procedures for the designee 26

appointment process, including request and approval deadlines. 27

UNOFFICIAL COPY AS OF 01/09/17  17 RS BR 257
Page 3 of 3 BR025700.100 – 257 – XXXX  Jacketed
(9)[(8)] If a reciprocal agreement is entered into by the commissioner, with the 1

approval of the commission, and promulgated as an administrative regulation by the 2

department and similar action is taken by the appropriate authority in Missouri, 3

Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, or Illinois, persons holding a 4

resident or nonresident fishing or a resident or nonresident hunting license issued in 5

these states shall be permitted to perform the acts authorized by the license upon 6

certain contiguous waters and land areas adjacent to the common boundaries of the 7

above-mentioned states and the State of Kentucky. A resident of the State of 8

Kentucky shall purchase a proper Kentucky license to conform with the reciprocal 9

agreement. 10

(10)[(9)] Any member of the Kentucky Army or Air National Guard, active duty or 11

Reserve Component, in any branch in the United States Armed Forces that is based 12

in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, shall have the right to take fish or hunt on any 13

military property belonging to the Commonwealth without procuring any sport 14

hunting or sport fishing license.

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