The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has adopted fishing regulation changes on two largemouth bass fisheries in East Texas, and new possession rules in state waters for aquatic resources taken in the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) as part of the 2013-14 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation.
On Lake Jacksonville, the change removes an 18-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass. The five-fish daily bag for bass will be retained, but anglers will be allowed to keep two largemouth bass less than 18 inches in length as part of that five- fish bag.
For Lake Kurth, the change establishes a 16-inch maximum length limit on largemouth bass, with a temporary retention of bass 24 inches or greater for weighing purposes and/or submission to the ShareLunker program. Anglers will be allowed to harvest five largemouth bass less than 16 inches in length.
TPWD also adopted changes defining the parameters of hand-fishing (noodling) for catfish and restrictions to aid in public understanding and enforceability, specifically regarding prohibition of the use of devices, such as poles, sticks, boxes, and pipes to aid in hand-fishing.
Canyon Lake Project #6 in Lubbock was also added to special regulations for catfish and devices restrictions.
The department also clarified the definition regarding possession of fish to indicate possession limits do not apply once a wildlife resource has reached the possessor’s final residence and is finally processed It also clarified the definition of what constitutes a permanent residence.
In addition, TPWD clarified the definition of fish harassment to note It is unlawful to use any vessel to harry, herd, or drive fish by any means including but not limited to operating any vessel in a repeated circular course, for the purpose of or resulting in the concentration of fish for the purpose of taking or attempting to take fish.
TPWD also removed prohibitions concerning possession of red drum and bonus red drum tags simultaneously.
The department also adopted provisions regarding enforcement of federal regulations in state waters. The proposed change would make it a violation for a person to possess an aquatic wildlife resource taken in the Exclusive Economic Zone (federal waters 9-200 miles out) during a closed season provided by federal law; within a protected length limit or in excess of the daily bag limit established by federal law; or with any gear or device prohibited by federal law; or without a required license or permit required by federal law. –Steve Lightfoot, TPWD