The Parks and Wildlife Service is easing weight and bag restrictions when fishing
CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently updated some rules regarding fishing. After the 2021 freeze, TPWD studied the impacts it had on local fish populations. Experts found a decline in fish populations, especially among trout. New rules have been introduced regarding weight and height restrictions.
Calvin Atkinson, a game warden for TPWD, explained the new rules. “They thought it was better to change the regulation that was originally 15 to 25 inches, and a total of five fish per angler. They changed it to 17 to 23 inches, and only three fish per angler,” Atkinson said.
There are many species of fish in the lower Laguna Madre and it was important to protect the populations of all of them. “Trout, red drum, flounder and black drum are some of the most common species here in the lower Laguna Madre that anglers target,” Atkinson said.
Although many fish were shocked or killed during the freeze, TPWD only imposed restrictions on trout, he said.
Atkinson said the Coastal Fisheries Department is always conducting studies to monitor fish populations. If an emergency is found during the search, a process will be put in place to quickly change any guidelines, he said. “If they see that something needs to be changed immediately, that will go to our committee and they can essentially vote on an emergency order, an executive order, to change the bag limit and the size.”
He added that this only happens in rare cases, and in most cases the department makes changes that take effect at the beginning of the new fiscal year on September 1.
Atkinson said most hunters he met were happy the tight restrictions were gone. “Enforcement measures at the moment, so far, people have been adhering to the size and bag limits. From what I can see, they are very happy to go back to the old regulation because now they can keep five fish instead of three.
Atkinson said game wardens always enforce TPWD rules and state laws. He reminds everyone to make sure their water safety equipment is working properly before heading out and to obtain a valid fishing license.
He also encourages people to download the TPWD Outdoor Annual app to learn about regulations related to hunting, fishing and boating.