Fish and Wildlife administrative regulations amended

​FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 29, 2022) In accordance with KRS 150.025, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is providing updated information about proposed fish and wildlife-related regulation amendments that have received final legislative approval and are now in effect.

The following is an overview of changes:

301 KAR 1:201 - Taking of fish by traditional fishing methods

This administrative regulation codifies size limits, daily limits and possession limits for sport fish that may be taken from Kentucky waters and necessary to properly manage the sport fish populations of Kentucky.

The following changes within 301 KAR 1:201 will be reflected in the 2023 Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide, which is expected to be available by early February.

  • Statewide regulations of a 12-inch minimum size limit and a 6-fish daily limit for largemouth and smallmouth bass on the following waterbodies:
    • Prather Pond and the 15-acre and 6-acre ponds on Kentucky River WMA in Henry County.
    • Paintsville Lake (Johnson and Morgan counties)
    • Marion County Lake (Marion County)
    • Fagan Branch Lake (Marion County)
    • Shanty Hollow Lake (Warren County)
  • A protective slot limit on largemouth bass 12-15 inches in length, with a 6-fish daily limit on the following lakes:
    • Beaver Lake (Anderson County)
    • Boltz Lake (Grant County)
    • Corinth Lake (Grant County)
    • McNeely Lake (Jefferson County)
    • General Butler State Park Lake (Carroll County)
    • Lincoln Homestead State Park Lake (Washington County)
    • Cave Run Lake (Bath, Menifee, Morgan and Rowan counties)
    • Panbowl Lake (Breathitt County)
    • Bert T. Combs Lake (Clay County)
    • Beulah Lake (Jackson County)
    • Smoky Valley Lake at Carter Caves State Park (Carter County)
    • Pennyrile Lake (Christian County)
  • A protective slot limit on largemouth and smallmouth bass 12-15 inches in length and 6-fish daily limit for these species on the following waters:
    • Otter Creek (Hardin and Meade counties)
    • Mainstem of Elkhorn Creek (Franklin County)
    • Wood Creek Lake (Laurel County)
  • A 15-inch minimum length limit and daily limit of 6 largemouth bass on the following waters:
    • Doe Run Lake (Kenton County)
    • Lake Shelby (Shelby County)
    • New Haven Optimist Lake (Nelson County)
    • Willisburg Park Pond (Washington County)
    • Mill Creek Lake (Powell and Wolfe counties)
  • A 15-inch minimum length limit and 6-fish daily limit on largemouth and smallmouth bass on the following waters:
    • Floyd's Fork Creek from U.S. 60 downstream to U.S. 150 (Jefferson County)
    • Nolin River Lake (Edmonson, Grayson and Hart counties)
    • Rough River Lake (Breckinridge and Grayson counties)
    • Barren River Lake (Allen and Barren counties)
  • A 15-inch minimum length limit on smallmouth bass on the following waters:
    • Barren River and all tributaries upstream of Barren River Lake; downstream of Barren River Lake Dam to Lock and Dam 1 and all tributaries (Allen, Barren, Monroe, Simpson and Warren counties)
    • Cumberland River upstream of Cumberland Falls and all tributaries (Bell, Harlan, Knox, Letcher, McCreary and Whitley counties)
    • Kentucky River upstream of Lock and Dam 14, the North Fork and tributaries including Carr Fork below Carr Creek Lake as well as the South and Middle Forks and all tributaries (Breathitt, Clay, Harlan, Knott, Knox, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Perry and Wolfe counties).

In other changes:

  • Removal of special regulations for brook trout on Poor Fork of Cumberland River (Harlan County) and trout in Paintsville Lake tailwater (Johnson County).
  • The seasonal catch-and-release season on Swift Camp Creek changes to October 1 through March 31 to match the other streams in the program.
  • A 15-fish daily limit for blue and channel catfish on Carr Creek Lake, and only 1 of those may be longer than 25 inches.
  • The minimum size limit for muskellunge changes to 40 inches on Cave Run Lake (Menifee, Morgan and Rowan counties), Dewey Lake (Floyd County) and Green River Lake (Adair and Taylor counties).

301 KAR 2:090 – Means by which migratory game birds may be taken

This administrative regulation codifies the means by which migratory birds may be harvested in accordance with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These means are consistent with federal migratory bird hunting frameworks.

The amendment removes restrictions on the use of crossbows for hunting migratory birds. Federal law was changed to allow the use of crossbows and Kentucky is following that lead.

301 KAR 2:132 - Elk hunting seasons, permits, zones, and requirements

This administrative regulation codifies the requirements for the elk permit drawing and quota hunts, the conditions under which special commission permits, landowner cooperator permits, elk restoration permits and cooperator voucher permits can be used and necessary to effectively manage elk populations in Kentucky, while providing optimal elk hunting and related tourism opportunities.

Changes starting in 2023 will:

  • Expand the elk hunt drawing application period. The application period will be Aug. 1 of the year preceding the given calendar year's elk hunt season through April 30 of the year of that season (e.g. Aug. 1, 2023 – April 30, 2024 for 2024 hunts).
  • Create a “loyalty redraw" to reward long-time applicants who have never been drawn for an elk permit. Fewer than 75 people who have applied for the Kentucky elk hunt drawing every year since its inception still haven't been drawn, and that number shrinks each year. The loyalty redraw will consist of a second random drawing for elk permits that were left unpurchased by applicants selected in the first drawing. This would have the double benefit of rewarding long-time applicants and increasing overall elk hunting opportunity. About 10 percent of elk permits go unpurchased each year.
  • Allow military personnel to defer the use of elk permits for up to 2 years if geographically reassigned. Some members of the military have been unable to use their elk permits, and numerous applicants to the elk hunt drawing have requested consideration after applying many years without being drawn for a permit.

301 KAR 2:172 - Deer hunting seasons, zones, and requirements

This administrative regulation codifies deer hunting seasons and zones, methods of take, bag limits, harvest recording procedures, and checking requirements necessary to properly manage Kentucky's deer population while providing quality and quantity recreational opportunity for deer hunters.

The amendment defines what a CWD Surveillance Zone is, the requirements that hunters must abide by while hunting within a CWD Surveillance Zone, establishes where the requirements will be advertised, restricts the movement of harvested deer carcasses within a CWD Surveillance Zone and prohibits the feeding and baiting of all wildlife within a CWD Surveillance Zone with some exceptions.

301 KAR 2:221 - Waterfowl seasons and limits

This administrative regulation codifies waterfowl seasons and bag limits within federal migratory bird hunting frameworks in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as established in 50 CFR Parts 20 and 21.

This amendment incorporates relevant portions of two repealed regulations: 301 KAR 2:224 and 301 KAR 2:226. It also changes the timing of special youth waterfowl days from the first weekend in February to the Saturday before Thanksgiving and the second Saturday in February, and it adds special Veterans/Active Duty waterfowl days on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and the second Sunday in February.

301 KAR 4:001 - Selection of Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission nominees

This administrative regulation codifies the procedure for nominating individuals for consideration as members of the Fish and Wildlife Commission. KRS 150.022 requires the governor appoint Fish and Wildlife Commission members and provides that vacancies shall be filled from a list of up to five (5) names submitted by the sportsmen of the corresponding commission wildlife district. This regulation establishes the system by which the sportsmen create the list of five (5) names to submit to the governor.

The amendment more clearly describes the procedures of a Fish and Wildlife Commission member nomination meeting to conform with the changes enacted by the passage of Senate Bill 217 during the 2022 session of the General Assembly.

Amendments to other regulations (301 KAR 4:010, 301 KAR 4:020, 301 KAR 4:091, 301 KAR 4:100, 301 KAR 4:110, 301 KAR 5:001, 301 KAR 5:030 and 301 KAR 5:100) cleaned up and simplified language in those existing regulations.

For updated information about proposed and recently enacted amendments to administrative regulations, visit

Another way to stay abreast of changes to administrative regulations is to sign up with RegWatch, a free service that enables users to register to be notified of changes to existing administrative regulations or to receive notice of newly-proposed regulations. Notifications are sent for four years after initial sign-up. More information about the service is available via the KAR FAQs online at

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