Fishing Terminology Explained

Adipose Fin

A small, fatty fin found between the dorsal fin and tail on some fish, including salmon and trout, used for identification purposes.

Aggregate Limit

The combined total limit for a group of fish species or a mixed bag limit from specific water bodies, allowing for diverse catch while ensuring conservation.

Angling (Fishing)

The act of catching fish for personal use using a hook and line, encompassing various methods like fly fishing, baitcasting, and spinning.

Artificial Fly

A hook dressed with natural or synthetic materials designed to mimic insects or other prey, used in fly fishing. Does not include weighted materials or attractors.


A device without hooks, used to enhance the visual appeal of the primary fishing setup, providing extra motion or attraction.


Any natural or synthetic item used to lure fish, excluding artificial flies, lures, or attractors. Scent alone is not considered bait.

Bank Angling

Fishing from the shore, including wading, but not from boats even if docked or attached to the shore.

Barbless Hook

A hook without a barb or with the barb removed or pressed down, facilitating easier release and less harm to fish.


Refers to largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass, excluding striped and hybrid bass species.


A floating device signaling a fish's bite by suspending bait or lures and indicating movement on the water's surface.


The remains of a fish after removal of entrails, gills, head, skin, fins, and backbone, used in regulatory definitions.


The act of placing substances in the water to attract fish, not attached to the hook, often used to concentrate fish in an area.

Fish Length

The measurement from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, with the fish laid flat, for regulatory compliance.


Fishing with specialized equipment designed for casting artificial flies to catch fish, characterized by the use of a fly rod and fly line.

Game Fish

Specifically designated fish species managed for recreational fishing, including trout, salmon, bass, and others, subject to specific regulations.

Groundfish (Bottomfish) Group

Marine species living near the seabed, including lingcod, rockfish, and flatfish, managed under specific fishing regulations.

Hatchery Fish

Fish raised in hatcheries for stocking purposes, identifiable by clipped fins, to differentiate from wild populations.

Herring Jig

A line with multiple small hooks used to catch baitfish like herring, defined by hook size and spacing regulations.

Hook Gap

The distance between the hook's point and shank, critical for compliance with fishing regulations.

Ice Fishing

Catching fish through holes cut in ice over frozen water bodies, using techniques adapted for cold conditions.

Immediate Family

Direct relatives of a landowner, including spouses and descendants, with specific privileges on private property.

In the Field, Forest, or Transit

Terms defining locations outside of permanent residences, relevant for carrying licenses and identification.


Defined as slack-water bodies including ponds and reservoirs but excluding beaver ponds and tide-gate sloughs, for regulatory purposes.


The line segment between the hook and the first attachment on the main fishing line, crucial for certain fishing techniques.


An artificial fishing device designed to attract fish, equipped with hooks, excluding flies and attractors.

Metal Core Line

Fishing line with a metal core, maintaining its shape when bent, used for specific fishing techniques.

Nongame Fish

Species not classified as game fish, managed under different regulations to ensure ecosystem balance.

Offshore Pelagic Species

Open-ocean fish species, including tuna and sharks, managed under specific fishing regulations due to their migratory nature.

Permanent Residence

A person's main living place, verified by documentation, relevant for determining residency status for license requirements.


A person who has lived in a state for a specified period, eligible for resident fishing and hunting licenses, with specific qualifications.


Marine species part of the Scorpaenidae family, including Sebastes, subject to specific fishing regulations.


Includes various species like coho and Chinook, managed under specific regulations for conservation and recreational fishing.

Salmon, Jack

A life-history stage of salmon returning to freshwater after a short ocean period, subject to specific regulations.


Marine invertebrates with shells, including clams and crabs, managed under specific harvest regulations.


Catching fish by hooking them in parts of the body other than the mouth, regulated due to its impact on fish populations.


A migratory form of rainbow trout, returning to freshwater from the ocean, subject to specific fishing regulations.


Free-flowing waters including rivers and creeks, important for habitat protection and fishing regulations.

Strike Indicator

A floating device used in fly fishing to signal fish bites, positioned a specific distance from the fly for regulatory compliance.


The act of capturing or attempting to capture wildlife, including fish, regulated to ensure sustainable populations and ethical practices.

Tide-gate Slough

Controlled stream sections affected by tide gates, with specific access and fishing regulations.


Areas influenced by tidal movements, including estuaries and stream portions, subject to specific fishing regulations.


A stream feeding into a larger water body, important for ecosystem connectivity and subject to specific fishing regulations.


A broad category including various species like rainbow and brown trout, managed under specific fishing regulations.

Wild Fish

Fish without fin clips, including unclipped hatchery and non-native species, used for regulatory simplification in fishing regulations.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.