Other Aquatic Life (Fresh & Salt Waters)

Aquatic life not addressed in this guide, except threatened and endangered species, may be taken only by hand or with the devices defined as lawful for taking fish, crabs, oysters or shrimp. Anglers and hunters may not harvest marine mammals such as porpoises, dolphins and whales.

Fishing License Requirements

In public fresh waters, a fishing license and freshwater fishing endorsement is required to take mussels, clams, crayfish and other aquatic life for personal use. In salt water, a saltwater fishing endorsement is required with the fishing license.

Hunting License Requirement

A hunting license is required to hunt non-protected turtles and frogs (see sections on hunting license and nongame species)

Clams, Mussels and Other Molluscan Shellfish

  • Licensed recreational anglers may take no more than 25 pounds of whole mussels and clams, or 12 pounds of mussel and clam shells per day for personal use.
  • Clams, Mussels and Other Molluscan Shellfish may be taken only from salt waters approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS). Maps identifying approved areas may be obtained from the TDSHS Seafood and Aquatic Life Group, (512) 834-6757. Additional information concerning area closures may be obtained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (800) 685-0361.
  • Consumption of Clams and Mussels taken from public fresh waters is prohibited by the TDSHS.
  • Mussels and clams may only be taken by hand.

Inside Diameter Restrictions

Freshwater mussels of the following species may be taken only when they will not pass through a ring with an inside diameter (I.D.) specified for that species.

4.00 inch ring inside diameter
Threeridges and Roundlakes:
2.75 inch ring inside diameter
Mapleleafs and Pimplebacks:
2.75 inch ring inside diameter
Tampico Pearlymussel:
2.75 inch ring inside diameter
2.75 inch ring inside diameter
All Other Species of Freshwater Mussels:
2.50 inch ring inside diameter

More information on harvesting freshwater mussels and clams, including areas closed to harvest, can be obtained by calling TPWD in Austin at 512-389-4444.


It is unlawful to take more than 15 live univalve snails during a day which include no more than 2 each of the following snails: lightning whelk, horse conch, Florida fighting conch, pear whelk, banded tulip or Florida rocksnail. Exotic applesnails and giant ramshorn snails cannot be possessed live or dead unless removed from their shells.

Mollusks, Hermit Crabs, Starfish and Sea Urchins

It is unlawful to take or kill shell-bearing mollusks, hermit crabs, starfish or sea urchins from Nov. 1 through Apr. 30 within the following boundary: the bay and pass sides of South Padre Island from the east end of the north jetty at Brazos Santiago Pass to the west end of West Marisol Drive in the town of South Padre Island, out 1,000 yards from the mean high-tide line, and bounded to the south by the centerline of the Brazos Santiago Pass.