Releasing Bait and Aquarium Pets

Do not release or put plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water.

Also, do not release them into storm drains, because most storm drains lead to water bodies or wetlands. This is important because many plants and animals can survive even when they appear to be dead. The two categories below describe some common situations where people may feel compelled to release aquatic plants or animals.

Aquarium and Aquatic Pets

If your family gets tired of its aquarium or aquatic pets, do not release anything from the aquarium (water, plants, fish or animals) into or near a body of water or storm drain. Explain to your children how you could be hurting all of the streams and lakes around the country and killing other fish and animals that already live in the water. If you cannot find a home for the critters in your aquarium, bury them. Dump the water into the toilet or yard, far away from storm drains.


Whether you have obtained bait at a store or from another body of water, do not release unused bait into the waters you are fishing. If you do not plan to use the bait in the future, dump the bait in a trashcan or on the land, far enough away from the water that it cannot impact this resource. Also, be aware of any bait regulations, because in some waters, it is illegal to use live bait.

Aquatic Invasive Species


Content last updated January 7, 2020.