Five trout limit? Longer flounder closure? Here’s what TPWD is examining…

As we reported last week, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) is hosting a series of meetings in January to “scope” public thoughts on potential regulation changes.

While no official proposals are made at these meetings (that will be held at the Jan. 22-23 Commission hearings) they give a good idea on what TPWD are considering and why.

So with that said here is information directly from TPWD on considerations for the speckled trout and flounder fisheries.

28-inch Speckled Trout

28-inch Speckled Trout

Speckled Trout: Currently the daily bag limit for spotted seatrout is 10 fish with a minimum size limit of 15 inches and a maximum size limit of 25 inches outside of the lower Laguna Madre.

Within the lower Laguna Madre (LLM) the daily bag limit and possession limit is 5 fish with a 15-inch minimum size limit and a 25-inch maximum size limit. One fish over 25 inches is allowed per person per day and counts as part of the daily bag limit coastwide.

The regulations within the LLM were instituted to stop and reverse the downward trend in overall abundance and spawning biomass in the region, and to ensure that fish reach larger size classes. The fishery in the LLM has benefited from these regulations.

As these regulations have proven beneficial in the LLM, the department is considering expanding these regulations, or a variation thereof, to other areas along the coast. Possible variations could include expanding the 5-fish bag limit or other bag limit reductions coastwide, to specific bay systems, or regions. The option of applying a sunset date to these potential regulation changes could be considered by TPWD. While the department does not have a formal proposal at this time, it seeks public comment regarding management options for this fishery.

Flounder: Currently the daily bag limit and possession limit for recreational anglers is 5 fish with a 14-inch minimum size limit. However, in November the daily bag limit and possession limit is reduced to 2 fish. Fish may only be taken by hook-and-line (no gigging) during November.

The reduced bag and hook-and-line only regulations were put in place to allow adult flounder to leave the bay and spawn in the Gulf. This is commonly referred to as the flounder run, which occurs in late fall. These regulations have resulted in improvements in the flounder fishery. However, depending on the arrival of the first cold fronts, these flounder runs may occur earlier or later than November.

To further protect and enhance this fishery, the department has other management strategies it can implement, including extending the special November regulations back into October or further into December. The option of applying a sunset date to these potential regulation changes could be considered by TPWD. While the department does not have a formal proposal at this time, TPWD seeks public input regarding management options for this fishery.

To find public hearings in your area click here.

Chester Moore, Jr.

7 comments

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  1. Malcolm Boucher

    I have plenty of fish in the freezer. If I need meat I can find it at the grocery store a lot cheaper. If coming down to 5 fish bag limit means i’m likely to catch bigger trout more often in Sabine, i’m all for it.

  2. Sam Johns

    Yes I think the smaller limits will be good ,it should allow the fish to grow bigger & there should be more of them. Also with nature killing a lots of fish any way we need something to help them reproduce. So I am for anything that will help the species.

  3. MikeY

    Yep! It’s all about trophy hunting! Deer, Bass, Cat fish, Red fish, Crappie, now trout and flounder and even Gar! Bigger horns, few can afford to hunt, bigger bass because of those who have bigger boats, bigger cat fish also specialized boats, Crappie same, Red fish everyone thinks they should catch a 42 incher from their bigger pescadore, Bigger Trout after all they paid 50 grand for that bay boat. You guys need to learn to talk fishing it is more than just Trophies!

  4. Kevin Calongne

    TP&W admits that there is no biological reason to implement these changes. It’s all about making trophy fishermen who don’t eat fish happy. It will be rammed through.

  5. James Tarver

    Since most of the male fish barely meat the minimum length, reduce the size limit to 14″ and keep the limit numbers the same. This will allow many of the “Meat Fishermen” to fill their stringers with males and keep the larger females for breeders. Not all people are trophy fishermen and just want a nice meal of fresh trout. This would also help reduse the casuality rate of releasing undersize fish.

  6. Bryan Treadway

    I consider myself a conservationist, and believe the flounder still need some more help during their spawn migration, suspend gigging Oct-Dec.. The data will show this will help flounder get over the hump…and impact the fewest anglers. Thus season was a little late… And the flounder run ran into December

    Speckled trout on the other hand, are doing OK, according to TPWD’s own data…
    It comes down to more fish or bigger fish!
    Most anglers I know don’t freeze any fish they simply go catch it when needed.
    But what about the anglers in the NON Coastal states that don’t have easy access?
    They mostly want to catch fish… And have the opportunity to take some back to their freezers.
    We already have the biggest length size limit out of TX,LA,AL,& MS

    The is no reason other then wanting trophy size fish to change the limit RIGHT NOW

    All bets are off if we get a hard coastal freeze like in 83′

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