New 2017-2018 Fishing Regulations

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AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted a suite of changes for the 2017-2018 saltwater and freshwater fishing season this year. All new regulations take effect Friday, Sept. 1, and can be found in the Outdoor Annual.

For saltwater fishing, Texas modified harvest regulations for certain offshore species to be in line with federal rules to reduce confusion among anglers. The changes to saltwater fishing regulations include:

  • Increasing the minimum size limit to 99 inches for scalloped, smooth and great hammerhead sharks;
  • Establishing a 24-inch minimum size limit and a 4 fish per day bag limit for black grouper;
  • Establishing a bag limit of catch and release only for Nassau grouper and;
  • Increasing the minimum size limit to 24 inches for gag grouper.

For freshwater fishing, changes include:

  • Modifying largemouth and smallmouth bass regulations to catch-and-release only on the 38-mile stretch of the Devils River from Baker’s Crossing to Big Satan Creek along the downstream end of the Dan A. Hughes Unit of the Devils River State Natural Area;
  • Establishing a catch-and-release-only rule for largemouth bass and sunfish in Bedford Boys Ranch Lake (Tarrant County) and;
  • Adding Alabama bass to the list of game fishes, and updating bass regulations for Alan Henry Reservoir in Garza County to reflect this change.

Earlier this year in April, a rule was changed to require a $60 permit for the collection of gizzard and threadfin shad from public water for use as bait and the possession or sale of nongame fish if the container capacity used to hold the shad exceeds 82 quarts.