As Drone fishing becomes more and more popular these days, many anglers have fallen in love with the idea and started taking it up. But, is drone fishing legal in Texas?
As far as the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) is concerned, it is perfectly legal. However, it is up to each individual state to deem weather or not you may use a drone as a fishing tool. In Texas, you may not use a drone as a method to pull in a hooked fish. You may use it to cast your bait, troll lures or spot fish from the air.
Federal Drone Laws in Texas
These are drone laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Texas, and were created by the federal government. Please familiarise yourself with these regulations when you consider purchasing or using your drone as a fishing aid.
To fly a drone as a hobbyist in the state of Texas (i.e. for fun / pleasure) you are required to follow the FAA’s recreational model aircraft rules. One of those rules is that if your drone weighs more than 0.55 lbs (250g), you’ll need to pay $5 to get it registered over here. And there are additional rules when it comes to airspace and altitude, keeping your drone within line-of-sight while you’re flying, and more.
- Register your drone, mark (PDF) it on the outside with the registration number and carry proof of registration with you.
- Fly only for recreational purposes.
- Fly your drone at or below 400 feet above the ground when in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace.
- Obtain authorization before flying in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E). You can obtain authorization in three ways:
- A written agreement with the FAA for fixed flying sites. For more information about fixed flying sites, contact us at UAShelp@faa.gov.
NOTE: Flying drones in certain airspace is not allowed. Classes of airspace and flying restrictions can be found on our B4UFLY app.
- Keep your drone within your visual line of sight, or within the visual line-of-sight of a visual observer who is co-located (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
- Do not fly at night unless your drone has lighting that allows you to know its location and orientation at all times.
- Give way to and do not interfere with manned aircraft.
- Never fly over any person or moving vehicle.
- Never interfere with emergency response activities such as disaster relief, any type of accident response, law enforcement activities, firefighting, or hurricane recovery efforts.
- Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many over-the-counter medications have side effects that could impact your ability to safely operate your drone.
- Do not operate your drone in a careless or reckless manner.
- Recreational flyers should know that if they intentionally violate any of these safety requirements, and/or operate in a careless or reckless manner, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.
State Drone Laws in Texas to take note of
HB 1424 // 2017
This law prohibits UAS operation over correctional and detention facilities. This law also prohibits operation over a sports venue except in certain instances.
HB 1643 // 2017
This law prohibits local governments from regulating UAS except during special events and when the UAS is used by the locality.
HB 1481 // 2015
This law makes it a Class B misdemeanor to operate UAS over a critical infrastructure facility if the UAS is not more than 400 feet off the ground.
Texas Administrative Code §65.152 // 2005
The use of drones to hunt, drive, capture, take, count or photograph any wildlife is unlawful except with an Aerial Management Permit (AMP) and a Land Owner Authorization (LOA).
Texas Parks & Wildlife Policy
Drones are not allowed in Texas State Parks without a permit except for in two parks with specified zones for flying remote-controlled aircraft (including drones): Lake Whitney and San Angelo. You can request a filming permit for your craft at any park by contacting that park. Allow several weeks for the park to review your request.
Who is the International Game Fish Association and why should you care?
The International Game Fish Association is the leading authority on angling. Anglers who fish for sport, have to be very careful and follow the rules set by this organization. This organization was created in 1940 in order to set the code of conduct for fishing.
This Organization is the one that evaluates each and every new method that is introduced to fishing to determine if the method is ethical or unethical. The International Game Fish Association, when reviewing the use of drones for fishing, deemed it as not unethical.
However, each State has the final call whether it is legally accepted or not.
It is perfectly legal to use your drone as a fishing aid to deliver baits, troll or spot.
You may not use your drone to bring your catch in.
As long as you operate within Local regulations, and you are well within your rights to fish with your drone.