TPWD Seeks Input on Texas Freshwater Fishing Regulation Proposals for 2022-23

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AUSTIN – Defining reservoir boundaries and modified harvest regulations on designated waterbodies highlight this year’s list of proposed freshwater fishing regulation changes. The proposed changes also include modified regulations on the Red River Tributaries for prevention of transfer of invasive carp, largemouth bass harvest regulations correction, clarification of striped bass species information, and Sam Rayburn Reservoir county designation.

 “Our approach this year is to simplify and clarify rules to reduce the potential for confusion near certain river-reservoir boundaries where exceptions to statewide limits exist, eliminate exceptional rules for bygone fisheries, harmonize rules with our Oklahoma neighbors on border waters, sustain quality bass fishing at a newly-opening reservoir, and reduce risks of inadvertent spread of invasive carps from where they currently exist in the Red River and its tributaries in Northeast Texas,” said Craig Bonds, TPWD’s Inland Fisheries Division Director.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is taking public comment on the following proposed changes to the 2022-2023 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation, with input to be considered before any action by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its March 24 public hearing.

  • Sam Rayburn Reservoir (Angelina, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Sabine, and San Augustine counties) — Delineate the upstream reservoir boundary for Sam Rayburn Reservoir to differentiate between the inflowing river and the reservoir where special exceptions to statewide channel and blue catfish daily bag, possession, and length limits are in place.
  • Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties) – Delineate the upstream reservoir boundary for Lake Texoma to differentiate between the inflowing river and lake where special exceptions to statewide daily bag, possession, and length limits are in place.
  • Bois d’Arc Lake (Fannin County) – Implement largemouth bass harvest regulations for soon to be opened Bois d’Arc Lake to establish a 16-inch maximum size limit and exceptions for temporary possession of 24-inch bass for weighing as potential ShareLunkers.
  • Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties) – Modify harvest regulations for walleye in Lake Texoma to eliminate special exceptions to statewide daily bag, possession, and length limits for walleye in Lake Texoma and return to statewide regulations.
  • Lake Texoma (Cooke, Grayson, Fannin, Lamar, Red River, and Bowie counties), Red River and tributaries – Modify harvest regulations for alligator gar in Lake Texoma to expand the harvest closure during the month of May in order to harmonize with Oklahoma harvest regulations.
  • Coleto Creek Reservoir (Goliad and Victoria counties) and Fairfield Lake (Freestone County) – Modify harvest regulations for red drum for lakes Coleto Creek and Fairfield to eliminate special exceptions to statewide daily bag, possession, and length limits and return to statewide regulations.
  • Red River Tributaries – Modify regulations for prevention of transfer of invasive carp as bait to add tributaries of the Red River in Grayson, Fannin, Lamar, Red River, and Bowie counties to the list of designated waters from which nongame fish cannot be transported live.
  • Largemouth Bass Harvest Correction — Correct largemouth bass regulatory exception error for a suite of lakes.
  • Striped Bass – Clarify species information.
  • Sam Rayburn Reservoir County Designation – Modify Sam Rayburn Reservoir county list.

Additional details on the proposed regulation changes, including narrated presentations on the proposed changes, can be found on the public comment page and in the Texas Register.

Opportunities to provide comments for or against these proposals include:

Online:  At TPWD public comment page until March 23.

Phone or Email: Comments on the proposed changes may be submitted to Michael Tennant at (512) 389-8754, email: Michael.Tennant@tpwd.texas.gov.

Online Webinar: TPWD staff will present proposed fishing regulation changes and answer questions in an online webinar at 6:00 p.m. Mar. 10. The webinar will also be posted on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

In person: The TPW Commission will take public comment on the proposed changes at their meeting on Thursday, March 24 in Austin. Public testimony will normally be limited to three minutes per person.