TPWD Proposing Changes to Bass and Catfish Fishing Regulations; Drum and Amberjack Size Limits
AUSTIN —Fisheries staff with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are considering proposals to adjust bass and catfish fishing regulations in specific waters and areas, move saugeye under walleye harvest regulations, and clarify length limits on black drum and amberjack and rules prohibiting snagging of fish with pole-and-line.
The proposed changes to the 2016-17 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing regulations include:
- Modifying harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Lake Naconiche (Nacogdoches County) from an 18-inch minimum length limit to a 16-inch maximum.
- Modify harvest regulations for smallmouth bass on Lake Meredith (Hutchinson, Moore, and Potter counties) from a 12- to 15-inch slot and 3 per day bag to a 14-inch minimum length limit and 5 per day bag.
- Modify harvest regulations for channel and blue catfish bass on Lake Tawakoni (Hunt; Raines, and Van Zandt counties). The new proposal would remove the current 12-inch minimum length limit, but with a modified 25 fish daily bag (blues and channels combined). Within the 25 bag, only seven fish could exceed 20 inches in length and of those seven fish, only two could exceed 30 inches.
- Modify harvest regulations for largemouth bass on the Sabine River in Newton and Orange counties, and in Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, and Orange counties. This proposal would reduce the minimum length limit for largemouth bass to 12 inches and retain the current five fish daily bag limit.
- Modify saugeye harvest regulations to remove the current 18-inch minimum length limit and change the daily bag limit from three to five, only two of which may be greater than 16 inches (same as walleye harvest regulations).
- In a housekeeping measure, the department is clarifying the maximum size limit for black drum is 30 inches and minimum total length limit on amberjack is 38 inches to align with new federal regulations that utilize a different measurement guideline.
- The department is also seeking to clarify that snagging or foul hooking any fish using pole-and-line in fresh and salt water is prohibited.
- Modify regulations to mirror legislative statute change; the tail of a shark may no longer be removed prior to final destination or delivery to a licensed dealer. It will still be lawful to remove the head of broadbill swordfish, king mackerel, and sharks prior to final destination.
Comments on the proposed black drum and amberjack rules may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Jeremy Leitz (512) 389-4333; e-mail: jeremy [dot] leitz [at] tpwd [dot] texas [dot] gov , Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744.
Comments on the proposed clarification of snagging rules, and the prohibition on removing the tail of a shark may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Brandi Reeder (512) 389-4853: e-mail brandi [dot] reeder [at] tpwd [dot] texas [dot] gov, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744.
Comments on the proposed bass, catfish, and saugeye rules may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Ken Kurzawski (512) 389-4591; e-mail: ken [dot] kurzawski [at] tpwd [dot] texas [dot] gov , Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744.
Comments may also be submitted through the department’s Internet web site www.tpwd.texas.gov in February once the proposals have been published in the Texas Register as well as at the following public meetings.
Public hearings on these proposals are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1 in Emory at the Emory City Center on Hwy. 19 North, and at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2 in Beaumont at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
A live online public hearing via webinar will also be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 3. Details and instructions for participation in the online public hearing webinar will be made available on the TPWD website.