How to Catch a Bull Frog

by Alan Sembera
Bullfrogs like shallow water.

Bullfrogs like shallow water.

Bullfrog hunting, or "frogging" as many people call it, is a sport that young and old alike can enjoy. Frogging is usually enjoyed in the hot summer months, when bullfrogs are actively mating and feeding at the surface of ponds, streams, lakes and other shallow bodies of water. While the frog gig is still the preferred method of catching bullfrogs, you can employ a variety of other methods as well.

Check with your state wildlife department to find out if your state has a special bullfrog season. Some states, such as Texas and Florida, allow year-round frogging. Other states, such as Kentucky and Washington, have a bullfrog season that lasts through the warmer months.

Decide what you will use to catch the frogs. The most popular way to catch bullfrogs is with a frog gig. A frog gig consists of a light pole about 6 to 8 feet long with three to five barbed tines at the end. You can also use a mechanical frog gigger, which consists of two "claws" on a pole that snap shut when you hit the spring release against a bullfrog. Many people even like to catch the frogs by hand, although this method requires a lot of stealth. Other methods include using large dip nets, fishing lines, bows and arrows, .22 rifles and blow guns. Make sure you check with your state wildlife department before deciding on your method. Many states restrict what you can use to catch frogs.

Get a fishing or hunting permit if your state requires one. The type of permit your require may depend on how you intend to catch the frogs. In Kentucky, for example, you need a hunting permit if you plan to shoot bullfrogs with a gun, and you need a fishing permit if you plan to catch them with a fishing pole.

Choose your location. Shallow ponds, drainage ditches, irrigation canals and wetlands are ideal for finding bullfrogs. Most states allow frogging on public lands and waters, unless the area has been set aside as a wildlife refuge. If you plan to catch bullfrogs on private property, be sure to ask the owner for permission.

Wait until after dark for the best hunting because the bullfrogs will be easier to spot. Most of the bullfrogs you encounter will be partly submerged in water. They are hard to see during the day, but at night their eyes will reflect the light from your flashlight or spotlight. Your light will also blind the bullfrogs and cause them to freeze, allowing you to get close enough to catch them.

Walk along the bank, wade through the shallow water or ride in a shallow boat, depending on your preference and the location. All three methods are effective. Try to make as little noise as possible. If you use a boat, don't use the engine. Use a paddle, pole or trolling motor.

Shine your flashlight or spotlight along the bank, especially among the weeds and other hiding places, until you spot a bullfrog. Once your light hits the bullfrog, keep the light pointing straight at it. If you move the light, the bullfrog is more likely to flee.

Sneak up on the bullfrog until it is about a foot away from your gig, net or hands, then quickly try to catch the bullfrog. If you miss, you rarely get a second chance.

Put the bullfrog in a burlap sack after you catch it. If the bullfrog is on a gig, put it in the bag before you take it off the gig. Bullfrogs are extremely strong and slippery, and if they slip out of your hands you will probably lose them. Tie off the top of the bag after you put the bullfrog inside.

Items you will need

  • Frog gig
  • Burlap sack
  • Flashlight or spotlight


  • Catching bullfrogs with a fishing pole is usually done during the day. Use a dry fly, a piece of bread or even a piece of red cloth or yarn tied to a hook. Find a bullfrog and dangle the bait in front of it. If it bites, set the hook and lift up the bullfrog. You may want to crimp down the barb of the hook to make it easier to take the bullfrog off the hook.

About the Author

Alan Sembera began writing for local newspapers in Texas and Louisiana. His professional career includes stints as a computer tech, information editor and income tax preparer. Sembera now writes full time about business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Texas A&M University.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images