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US Magnet Fishing Laws, Is Magnet Fishing Legal?

A photo of a judges hammer in the court of law

If you are new to magnet fishing then one of the first questions that you may be asking is:

“Is magnet fishing legal?”

It is a fair question as the hobby has not been around for very long so it can be quite a grey area.

This guide has been made to help you find out if magnet fishing is legal so that you can go magnet fishing without worry.

Is magnet fishing legal in the USA?

So is it illegal to magnet fishing in the US? Magnet fishing is Currently legal in 49 of the 50 US states. The only state that has a ban on it so far is South Carolina. However you must always check for any county laws and also make sure to get landowners permission before magnet fishing on private property.

That was the quick and simple answer and I will try to keep it updated as frequently as necessary.

It is a real shame that magnet fishing is illegal in South Carolina as I know a lot of people from that State are very interested in starting the hobby.

If you would like to see a magnet fishing laws guide that is updated regularly and mentions each specific state, check out this guide on Magnet Fishing Pro. It also contains some great information on why it is illegal to magnet fish in South Carolina for those that are interested.

Do you need a license to magnet fish?

This is a question that I am asked quite regularly. Do you need a license to go magnet fishing?

The answer to that is no. You do not need a license to go magnet fishing in the US and there is currently no magnet fishing license available. However in the future as the hobby gets more popular I license program may actually happen.

So far though licenses are not needed. I know in the U.K. one council or waterway member is offering magnet fishing licenses. I think once local governments realise they can cash in on magnet fishing they may start to issue licenses.

You do need to get permission to magnet fish.

This might seem obvious to some but I know it can be tempting to just go and magnet fish. You do need permission to magnet fish.

Nearly all land is owned by someone and if you do not get permission to be on that land it will be trespassing. So with that in mind it is always best to make sure to receive clear permission to magnet fish.

My experience of asking for permission to magnet fish has always resulted in curious and confused looks as to why, but they have always been happy to let me give it a go.

Our magnet fishing rules.

Whilst magnet fishing is only illegal in one State that doesn’t mean that there are not laws and rules. As magnet fishers we have a set of rules that we all stick to made up by ourselves.

Following these rules will result in the hobby being allowed to continue without official laws and restrictions! The rules are as follows:

  1. Always ask for permission to magnet fish if the land is owned.
  2. Make sure to leave the riverbank as you found it.
  3. Clear away all finds that you pull up from out of the water and don’t leave them on the riverbank.
  4. If people are curious as to what you are doing be polite and helpful when explaining the hobby.
  5. If you find any guns or explosives make sure that you inform the relevant authorities.
  6. Make sure to think about your safety and the safety of others around you.
  7. Use your common sense when magnet fishing in populated areas.
  8. Make sure that you enjoy yourself!


Whilst there is only one US State that has a blanket ban on magnet fishing it is critical that we show how good our hobby is.

By being responsible and thoughtful we can make sure that it is not made illegal in any other states or other regulations brought in.

Most importantly get out there, have fun and make sure to stay safe!