Public Meetings Set on Hunting, Fishing Proposals

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The public is invited to comment on a slate of proposed changes to the state's hunting and fishing regulations during an upcoming series of open meetings around the state.

Each year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department considers changes in hunting and fishing regulations to achieve resource management objectives and maximize outdoor recreation opportunities. A major component of the process involves gathering public input at public meetings during March. TPWD also takes public comment in writing and via the Internet. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission factors public comment into the final determination for each proposal at its April 3 meeting.

Among the proposed changes is a move to cap the maximum legal length limit for spotted seatrout at 25 inches and establish a boat limit during for-hire outings. A boat limit would equal the combined daily bag limit for all customers. Guides could still fish and retain fish. As part of the proposed rule changes, anglers would still be allowed to retain one trout longer than 25 inches (per day).

In addition to the boat limit bag restrictions for professional guides, which would be applicable for all species caught in Texas freshwater and saltwater, the department is assessing other requirements for guides, including an increase in the guide permit fee from $75 to $200. Saltwater fishing guides would also be required to possess a U.S. Coast Guard proficiency certification as a for-hire captain.

Other proposals being considered by the department include: Several changes related to deer management practices, and closure of pheasant season in Brazoria, Fort Bend, Matagorda, and Wharton counties, where the pheasant population has been minimal in recent years.

TPWD is also looking at replacing of the 12-inch minimum length limit with the statewide 10-inch minimum for white bass on Lakes Buchanan, Canyon, Conroe, Georgetown, Inks, Limestone, Livingston, Lyndon B. Johnson, Marble Falls, Palestine, Somerville, and Travis Reservoirs, and a section of the Trinity River.

Public comment about these issues and others of interest may be made at any upcoming public meeting or by several other means. Check the options for public comment on these proposed regulations.