Freshwater Fishing Regulation Proposals Summary

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Video Presentation for Freshwater Fishing Items

Moss Lake
(Cooke County)

Proposal

Change from a 14-inch minimum length limit and five fish daily bag limit for largemouth bass to a 16-inch maximum length limit and five-fish daily bag with an exception allowing for possession and weighing for bass 24 inches or greater for possible submission to ShareLunker program.

Background

Bass angling pressure on Moss Lake is high, which includes numerous fishing tournaments. Angler catch is high, but harvest is low, which is typical of many of our bass fisheries. Largemouth bass growth is average, and the lake has produced some 8+ pound fish. Spotted bass are abundant, with few exceeding 12 inches or being harvested, and combined with the abundant largemouth bass under 14 inches, contribute to an overabundance of smaller bass in the lake. Modifying the bass regulations could encourage more bass harvest. Lake anglers surveyed support that approach.

Additional harvest could reduce interspecific competition and that could have some improved benefits for bass growth. Allowing harvest of all bass under 16 inches, both spotted and largemouth, would also lessen some of the identification concerns between those two species

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Brushy Creek Lake and Brushy Creek
(Williamson County)

Proposal

On Brushy Creek Lake for largemouth bass, change from an 18-inch minimum length limit and three-fish daily bag to a 14-inch minimum length limit and five-fish daily bag limit.

On Brushy Creek from the dam at Brushy Creek Lake downstream to the Williamson/Milam County line for blue and channel catfish, change from a 12-inch minimum length limit and 25-fish combined daily bag limit to no minimum length and a five-fish combined daily bag limit. Also, angling will be restricted to pole-and-line angling only, and anglers will be limited to two poles.

Background

Brushy Creek Lake is regulated as a community fishing lake or CFL (waterbodies that are 75 acres and less and within city or county parks). For CFLs, there are special harvest regulations for blue and channel catfish; no minimum length limit and a five-fish daily bag. There are also gear restrictions, which are pole-and-line angling only, and anglers are limited to two poles. Separate from the CFL regulations on Brushy Creek Lake, there is an 18-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass. Brushy Creek is under statewide rules. The proposed changes would extend the CFL regulations on Brushy Creek from the dam downstream to the Williamson/Milam County line, which is about 50 miles. The minimum length for largemouth bass on Brushy Creek Lake would return to the statewide limit of 14 inches.

The goal is to manage the reservoir and creek as one system. The creek also has excellent public access, and this area has experienced substantial population growth. Anglers are using both the reservoir and the creek sometimes during the same day.

Not many bass are being harvested, so removing the 18-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass will have little impact. Anglers are catching a few Guadalupe bass in the creek, but most of the harvest has been confined to channel catfish and that's mostly from the creek. At the creek, we are seeing some cast netting for harvest of the smaller fish.

The gear restrictions and the reduced bag could alleviate any impacts from that and direct whatever harvest is occurring to pole-and-line anglers.

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Lake Nasworthy
(Tom Green County)

Proposal

Change from a 10-inch minimum length limit and 25 fish daily bag limit for black and white crappie to a no minimum length limit and retain the 25-fish daily bag.

Background

Lake Nasworthy is a reservoir within San Angelo that has a relatively stable water level, especially for that part of the state. The reservoir has good bank access, and white crappie fishing is popular. Crappie are abundant, but most of them are smaller than the 10-inch minimum length limit. Anglers have to catch seven or eight sub-legal fish to keep one legal size fish. Most of those are 10-11 inches. The proposed change would remove the minimum length and maintain the 25-fish bag, which would allow anglers to harvest some of the 8- to 9-inch fish

The goal to improve the population structure by encouraging more harvest. Growth is below average and natural mortality is high; 50 percent of the crappie die before they even get to 10 inches. The poor growth and high natural mortality greatly limit the effectiveness of the current 10-inch minimum length limit. Anglers surveyed expressed support for removing the minimum length limit and being able to harvest the smaller crappie. Harvesting some of the sublegal crappie may benefit growth among the remaining crappie, and over time, alter the population.

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Lake Texoma and the Red River
(Cooke and Grayson counties)

Proposal

On Lake Texoma for blue and channel catfish, change from a 12-inch minimum length limit to no minimum length limit. The 15-fish daily bag limit, which includes a limit of one blue catfish 30 inches or greater per day, would be retained. For flathead catfish, change from a 20-inch minimum length limit to no minimum length limit. The five-fish daily bag limit would be retained.

In the Texas waters of the Red River from Denison Dam downstream to the mouth of Shawnee Creek for blue and channel catfish, change from a 12-inch minimum length limit and 25-fish daily bag to no minimum length limit and 15-fish daily bag limit, which includes a limit of one blue catfish 30 inches or greater per day. For flathead catfish, change from a 20-inch minimum length limit to no minimum length limit. The five-fish daily bag limit would be retained.

Background

We co-manage Lake Texoma with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife. Our agencies’ goal is to have the regulations standardized on both sides of the reservoir to facilitate enforcement and understanding by anglers. Blue and channel catfish are under a 12-inch minimum length limit and a 15-fish fish daily bag, which differs from the Texas statewide daily bag of 25. Additionally, anglers are allowed to harvest only one blue catfish 30 inches or larger. The minimum length limit for flathead catfish is a slightly different from the statewide limit in Texas; 20 inches versus 18 inches.

On the Red River below Texoma in Texas waters, our statewide regulations for blue and channel catfish - 12-inch minimum and 25-fish daily bag – are in effect. Flathead catfish regulations are the same as on the reservoir. These regulations are in effect in the area depicted on the map and that includes an area that covers about a three-quarters of a mile from the dam down to the mouth of Shawnee Creek.

Our proposed changes focus on catfish and would align the regulations for both Texoma and the downstream waters of the Red River in Oklahoma and Texas. For the blues and channels, the minimum length limit would be removed, and the 15-fish daily bag and limit of one blue catfish 30 inches or greater would be retained. For flathead catfish, the minimum length limit would be also removed, and the five-fish daily bag would stay the same. Oklahoma will reciprocate on these changes through their regulation process.

As proposed, the catfish regulations would be standardized on both sides of Texoma and both sides of the Red River. It will add protection for larger blue catfish for the Texas side of the river. The removal of the minimum length limit for flathead catfish would have minimal impacts as not many of them are harvested. Texas anglers in the river would have a reduced total bag for blues and channels from 25 to 15. Based on creel survey data, few anglers harvest 25 fish.

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Falcon Reservoir
(Zapata County)

Proposal

For alligator gar, remove the time limit of September 1, 2020 and continue the 5-fish daily bag limit.

Background

In 2015, the Commission approved a daily bag limit of five alligator gar on Falcon Reservoir, directed staff to monitor the alligator gar population to determine any negative effects of the five-fish daily bag, and placed an expiration date of September 1, 2020 on the five-fish bag. TPWD Inland Fisheries staff conducted a comprehensive study at the reservoir in 2014 to obtain the biological information necessary to make management recommendations for alligator gar in that reservoir. The information collected pointed to Falcon having a robust gar population that could continue to support harvest at the levels that were occurring. Monitoring data collected in 2016 and 2018 from the reservoir is similar to what was found in 2014 and continues to support the determination that the Falcon Reservoir alligator gar population can be safely sustained under the five-fish daily bag.

The proposal would to remove the time constraint, and the five-fish bag would be continued and treated like all other regulations. Staff will continue to monitor the population for any changes.

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