Summary of Proposed Changes to Freshwater Fishing Regulations in the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation

Comment online through 08:00 a.m. March 25, 2021.

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View a narrated powerpoint presentation on these proposed regulations | See full text in the Texas Register

Proposal

Change current statewide harvest regulations for blue and channel catfish from a 12-inch minimum length limit and 25-fish daily bag limit (combined) to no minimum length limit. The daily bag would remain at 25 fish, with the additional restriction that no more than 10 fish of 20 inches or larger could be harvested per day.

Background

This regulation would be applied in reservoirs and rivers where good blue and/or channel catfish populations exist, and more restrictive harvest regulations are not warranted or desired by anglers. Impacts on anglers of the graduated bag restriction will be minimal. From our angler harvest surveys, we know few anglers harvest 25 fish, and even fewer harvest more than 10 catfish over 20 inches. In a recent statewide survey of catfish anglers, catching big fish was not a major desire of most anglers, although some do focus on that. Most catfish anglers said they would rather catch catfish to eat, and this regulation is designed for that while also providing some protection for larger fish to improve quality and big fish potential.

Comment on - Statewide Regulations for Blue and Channel Catfish
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Proposal

Create an exception that would follow the no minimum length limit and 25-fish daily bag limit from the proposed statewide regulations for blue and channel catfish but would limit the number of fish 20 inches or larger that could be harvested per day to five, and of those five fish, only one fish 30 inches or larger that could be harvested.

Background

All 12 of the water bodies listed below have catfish populations where the use of these special limits will help to maintain or increase the high quality of those fisheries. This proposed regulation directs harvest to smaller, easily replaceable fish, and protects larger fish while allowing the harvest of one large fish. This regulation would primarily impact blue catfish anglers, especially those using trot lines and juglines, but catfish populations and these anglers would benefit by the  reduction in the harvest of larger fish. While it is designed to improve blue catfish populations, it will also maintain quality in channel catfish populations. We have identified some anglers who desire improved quality and big fish opportunities, and this regulation addresses that.

The following six locations proposed for these regulations are currently under statewide harvest regulations.

  • Belton Lake (Bell and Coryell counties)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Belton Lake
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  • Lake Bob Sandlin (Camp, Franklin, and Titus counties)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Lake Bob Sandlin
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  • Lake Conroe (Montgomery and Walker counties)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Lake Conroe
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  • Hubbard Creek Reservoir (Stephens County)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Hubbard Creek Reservoir
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  • Lake Lavon (Collin County)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Lake Lavon
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  • Lake Ray Hubbard (Collin, Dallas, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Lake Ray Hubbard
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The following two locations are proposed for the no minimum length limit and 25-fish daily bag limit, a limit of 5 fish over 20 inches and one fish over 30 inches regulations and are currently under no minimum length limit, a 50-fish bag, and a limit of 5 fish over 20 inches.

  • Kirby Lake (Taylor County)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Kirby Lake
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  • Lake Palestine (Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson, and Smith counties)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Lake Palestine
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The following three locations are proposed for the no minimum length limit and 25-fish daily bag limit, a limit of 5 fish over 20 inches and one fish over 30 inches regulations and are currently under a 30-45 inch slot length limit.

  • Lake Lewisville (Denton County)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Lake Lewisville
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  • Richland-Chambers Reservoir (Freestone and Navarro counties)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Richland-Chambers Reservoir
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  • Lake Waco (McClennan County)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Lake Waco
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Lake Tawakoni (Hunt, Rains, and Van Zandt counties) is proposed for the no minimum length limit and 25-fish daily bag limit, a limit of 5 fish over 20 inches and one fish over 30 inches regulations and is currently under a 25 bag with limits of seven fish over 20 inches and two fish over 30 inches.

Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Lake Tawakoni
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Proposal

Create an exception to the proposed statewide regulations for blue and channel catfish that would consist of a 14-inch minimum length limit and a 15-fish daily bag limit (combined). All these locations are currently under statewide harvest regulations.

Background

This proposed regulation will be used in situations where there are concerns about limited spawning, sometimes combined with high harvest that could damage the population, or for reservoirs that have experienced a catastrophic event, such as a fish kill, and the population abundance needs to be rebuilt. Fortunately, those type of fish kill events are rare.

  • Braunig Lake (Bexar County)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Braunig Lake
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  • Calaveras Lake (Bexar County)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Calaveras Lake
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  • Choke Canyon Reservoir (Live Oak and McMullen counties)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Choke Canyon Reservoir
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  • Fayette County Reservoir (Fayette County)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Fayette County Reservoir
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  • Proctor Lake (Comanche County)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Proctor Lake
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Proposal

Modify harvest regulations for blue and channel catfish on both Lake Livingston from the current 12-inch minimum length limit and 50-fish daily bag limit (combined) and Lake Sam Rayburn, currently under statewide regulations, to no minimum length limit and a 50-fish bag limit with the additional restriction that no more than five fish of 30 inches or larger could be harvested per day

Background

These two reservoirs are proposed to be added to the existing regulation category for Texas/Louisiana border waters. Those waters currently have no minimum length limit, a 50-fish bag, and anglers are limited to harvesting no more than five catfish 30 inches or longer. These regulations are partially a compromise with Louisiana’s more liberal harvest philosophy. These waters do produce lots of catfish, so overharvest is not much of a concern. This will have the benefit of having the three big East Texas reservoirs (Livingston, Rayburn, and Toledo Bend) under the same limits, as some anglers do fish all three.

  • Lake Livingston (Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Lake Livingston
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  • Lake Sam Rayburn (Jasper County)
    Comment on Blue and Channel Catfish Regulations for Lake Sam Rayburn
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Proposal

Modify commercial fishing harvest regulations for blue and channel catfish to create exceptions to the current statewide standard (bag limit of 25 fish [both species combined] with a 14-inch minimum length limit). The exceptions would affect Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion counties), Livingston (Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties), Sam Rayburn (Jasper County), and Toledo Bend (Newton Sabine, and Shelby counties), and the Sabine River (Newton and Orange counties) from the Toledo Bend dam to the IH-10 bridge where a daily bag limit of 50 fish, with a retention limit of not more than five fish 30 inches or longer would be in effect. Lakes lying totally within state parks and community fishing lakes would have the same regulations that currently apply to recreational anglers: a five-fish daily bag limit; no minimum length; and harvest would be restricted to use of pole and line only.

Background

Blue and channel catfish are the only game fish that can be caught from Texas public fresh waters and sold, which was approved by the Texas legislature in 1991. This statute specifies the areas of the state were this is activity is legal. In TPWD rules, there is a separate section for commercial regulations Some exceptions that are proposed to be implemented in the areas legal for sale of catfish will also be listed in that section to be enforceable.

Comment on Commercial Regulations for Blue and Channel Catfish
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Proposal

Modify description for floats dimensions for juglines, throwlines, and trotlines from diameter to width, and for minnow and perch traps, from height to length. For minnow traps, change float width from 6 to 3 inches.

Background

This proposal standardizes float dimensions to length and width rather than height and diameter. Also, corrects the listing of the width of floats for minnow traps from 6 inches to 3 inches.

Comment on Float Dimensions
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