CHEYENNE – In recent years the use of trout beads is gaining popularity as a method to fish for trout in many states throughout the country.
Depending how the bead is rigged on the line, it may or may not be legal under Wyoming statutes. Wyoming law prohibits the snagging of fish and the definition of “snag” under Wyoming laws is “Attempting to take a fish in such a manner that the fish does not take the hook voluntarily into its mouth.”
Currently, attaching the bead to the leader above a bare hook is an illegal fishing method. Fish caught by this technique do not take the hook into its mouth, but bite the bead. When the fish bites the bead the angler feeling the hit pulls back so the line slides through the fish’s mouth snagging the fish on the outside of its mouth. Because the fish is not voluntarily taking the hook into its mouth, this method of rigging the bead is a method of snagging so it is illegal under Wyoming law.
A trout bead used as an attractor in combination with a fly is a legal method. When used as an attractor the bead should be fixed on the leader two (2) inches or less above the fly to minimize injury to the fish.
Due to growing interest in this fishing method, Game and Fish biologists will be collecting data and asking for public input to help determine if statutory/regulatory changes are warranted in order to clarify the snagging law and how it pertains to bead fishing. Based on data collected and public input, the Game and Fish Department will determine if using a bead as a lure (fixed on a leader with a trailing bare hook) should be legal or illegal, and in either case, will attempt to clarify the snagging regulation.
Game and Fish officials say they will be holding public meetings this summer to receive input regarding possible changes to Wyoming fishing regulations pertaining to bead fishing.
Snagging is defined on page 5 of the Wyoming Fishing Regulations. The prohibition of snagging is on page 6 of the fishing regulations booklet.