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Monday, May 04, 2009

Freshwater Fishing Regs

I thought it would be a good idea to go over the freshwater fishing regulations as they apply to bass, crappie, etc (game fish) in Central & South Florida. Too much of the time we tend to just keep fishing year after year without checking for any changes in the regulations. The one way you DON'T want to find out about a change is from a wildlife officer, because he/she is probably checking you right now &, if you haven't checked recently, then you, very likely, may be violating the rules.

There are numerous regulations regarding freshwater fish broken into several categories: Bag/Possession & Length Limits; Methods of Taking Freshwater Fish; & Fish management Areas.

Here is a list of the freshwater fish regulated:

GAME & NONGAME FISH

Game Fish - black bass, crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, warmouth, redbreast sunfish, spotted sunfish, flier, mud sunfish, longear sunfish, shadow bass, peacock bass, white bass, striped bass & sunshine bass.

Nongame Fish - all freshwater fish are defined as non-game fish, except grass carp & fish defined as freshwater game fish. Note: Alligator gars require a scientific collector's permit to take.


GENERAL STATEWIDE BAG & LENGTH LIMITS

Special bag & length limits apply to some lakes, rivers & Fish Management Areas. Other fishes considered to be nongame fishes have no bag or possession limits, except as noted in Fish Management Area regulations. (Note: Total length is the maximum length of the fish, with the mouth closed & the tail fin pinched together. Do NOT pull a flexible tape measure along the curve of the fish.)

Possession limit is two days bag limit. It is illegal to transport or possess more than two days bag limit of fish per licensed angler without a commercial license. Exceptions are fish legally acquired from aquaculturists (fish farmers) for use in aquaria, for brood stock, pond stocking or properly marked for the market. Fish may not be filleted nor their head or tail removed until the angler is finished fishing for the day to allow confirmation of measurements. Non-native fishes, except for peacock bass & triploid grass carp, should not be returned to the water, & should be consumed or disposed of properly. No freshwater fish or their eggs may be taken or possessed except as permitted by these rules nor shall anyone wantonly or willfully waste the same.

5 Black bass (largemouth, Suwannee, spotted, & shoal bass, individually or in total), only one of which may be 22 inches or longer in total length.

* In south Florida: only one bass may be 14 inches in total length or longer.

* South & east of the Suwannee River: black bass less than 14 inches in total length must be released immediately.

* In the Suwannee River, areas north & west of the Suwannee River, & in any tributary river, creek or stream of the Suwannee River: black bass less than 12 inches in total length must be released immediately.

50 Panfish including bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), flier, longear sunfish, mud sunfish, shadow bass, spotted sunfish (stumpknockers), warmouth & redbreast sunfish, individually or in total.

25 Black Crappie (speckled perch).

Special Bag & Length Limits (Up to Index)

(Excluding Fish Management Areas)

See Fish Management Area Regulations for bag & length limits for lakes in the Fish Management Area system.

SPECIAL BAG & LENGTH LIMITS

Edward Medard Reservoir, Hillsborough County: Black bass caught from 15 to 24 inches in total length must be released immediately. Black bass bag limit is three.

St. Johns River Water Management Area (Farm 13, including the Stick Marsh), Indian River & Brevard counties: Black bass must be released immediately.

S.N. Knight Tract, Indian River County (locally known as Kenansville Lake): Black bass must be released immediately.

Lake Weohyakapka (Walk-in-Water), Polk County: Black bass from 15 to 24 inches in total length must be released immediately. Black bass bag limit is three, only one of which may be 24 inches in total length or longer.

Lake Okeechobee, including Harney Pond Canal (C-41) north of S.R. 78 to water control structure S-71; Indian Prairie Canal (C-40) north of S.R. 78 to water control structure S-72; all of Taylor Creek & Nubbin Slough; C-38 Canal/ Kissimmee River south of water control structure S-65E to S.R. 78, & C-41-A Canal, from the intersection of the C-38 Canal upstream to the S-84 structure, Okeechobee County: Black bass less than 18 inches in total length must be released immediately; crappie (speckled perch) less than 10 inches in total length must be released immediately.

Lake Trafford (Collier County): Five black bass, each must be 18 inches or greater in total length & only one fish may be 22 inches or greater in total length.

METHODS OF TAKING FRESHWATER FISH

Game fish & nongame fish may be taken with pole & line or rod & reel. There is no limit on the number of rods an angler may use.

Freshwater fish may not be taken by use of any free-floating, unattached device, or by use of firearms, explosives, electricity, spear gun, poison or other chemicals. The taking of fish by underwater swimming or diving is prohibited. It is unlawful to sell, offer for sale or transport out of the state any freshwater game fish unless specifically permitted by the FWC, except that licensed anglers may transport two days' bag limit of legally harvested game fish.

It is illegal to possess any freshwater fish along with gear that cannot legally be used to take freshwater fish, including gear types listed above & below for taking nongame fish or bait. Some exceptions apply.

It is illegal to fillet or remove the head or tail fin of black bass, striped bass, white bass, Sunshine bass (striped bass x white bass hybrid), peacock bass, black crappie & panfish (where special black crappie or panfish size or bag limits are in effect) until after you have completed fishing for the day.

FISH MANAGEMENT AREA REGULATIONS

Tenoroc Fish Management Area, Polk County fishing is allowed only by FWC permit. All anglers must check in & out at the Tenoroc Fish Management Area headquarters & deposit their valid fishing license with the custodian unless otherwise instructed.

Days & hours of operation & quotas shall be as designated by the FWC & posted at area headquarters (currently Friday through Monday only). Quotas will be established for each lake, & fishing is permitted in designated lakes only. Lakes may be closed to public access for management purposes or if access to the lake exposes the public to danger, by posting notice at the Tenoroc check station office. Quotas for open lakes may be temporarily increased to accommodate anglers during times when other lakes are closed due to management construction projects, road repair, unsafe access or special recreational events.

Unless otherwise specified, harvest restrictions are as follows:
Crappie bag limit: 10
Crappie less than 10 inches in total length must be released immediately.
Sunshine bass bag limit: 6
Black bass must be released immediately.
Fish may not be filleted, nor their head or tail fins removed, until the angler has completed fishing for the day.
Cast nets & minnow seines are prohibited. Motor vehicles may be operated only on named roads, designated parking areas, & fishing ramps as designated in the area use brochure. Vehicles may not obstruct designated roads, boat ramps & fire lanes.

Regulations for Tenoroc water bodies are as follows:
Lakes A, Butterfly, C, F, Fish Hook, G, Half-Moon, Horseshoe, Hydrilla, Legs Lost, Lake East, Lost Lake West, Tern, 2, 3, & 4 (primitive launch only on Butterfly, F, Fish Hook, G, Half-Moon, Lost Lake East, Lost Lake West, & Tern):
Gasoline motors may not be used on boats.

Lakes B & 5: Boats are restricted to idle speed-no wake. Black bass greater than 15 inches in total length must be released immediately.
Black bass bag limit: 2

Picnic Lake: Gasoline motors may not be used on boats.
Black bass bag limit: 2
Black bass greater than 15 inches in total length must be released immediately.

Pine (formerly East & West Pasture Lakes) & Derby Lakes: Boats may not be used. Closed to fishing unless authorized by FWC permit for agency-sanctioned events except for anglers who have been certified by the U.S. Veterans Administration, U.S. Social Security Administration, by any branch of the U.S. Armed Services, or by a licensed physician in this state to be totally & permanently disabled & has obtained a permanent license or unless that person presents proof of acceptance as a client for retardation services by the Department of Health. Other than the anglers described above, no person 16 years or older shall fish on Derby Lake unless accompanied by a child under 16 years of age.
Panfish bag limit: 20
Anglers may keep no more than 5 bluegill & redear sunfish 8 inches or longer in total length per day.

Cemetery Lake: Boats may not be used.
Panfish bag limit: 20
Anglers may keep no more than 5 bluegill & redear sunfish 8 inches or longer in total length per day.

Lake Crago: Largemouth bass, crappie & sunshine bass: statewide size & bag limits apply. Wire traps may be used for nongame fish. Trotlines may be used from sunset until 9 a.m. Boats are restricted to idle speed-no wake.

Freedom Lake Park, Pinellas County: open to fishing. Cast nets or minnow seines are prohibited. Black bass must be released immediately.
Panfish bag limit: 20
Swimming & taking of fish or wildlife with firearms or possession of alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

Dover District Park Lake, Hillsborough County: open to fishing. Cast nets or minnow seines are prohibited. Black bass must be released immediately.
Panfish bag limit: 20
Swimming & possession of firearms or alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

Steven J. Wortham Park Lake, Hillsborough County: open to fishing. Cast nets or minnow seines are prohibited. Black bass must be released immediately.
Panfish bag limit: 20
Swimming & taking of fish or wildlife with firearms or possession of alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

Al Lopez Park Lake, Hillsborough County: open to fishing. Cast nets or minnow seines are prohibited. Black bass must be released immediately.
Panfish bag limit: 20
Swimming & taking of fish or wildlife with firearms are prohibited.

Largo Central Park Nature Preserve, Pinellas County: open to fishing. Cast nets & minnow seines are prohibited. No person shall kill or possess any black bass. No person shall take in any one (1) day more than twenty (20) panfish, in the aggregate. No person shall kill or possess more than ten (10) crappie. No person shall kill or possess any crappie less than ten inches (10") in total length. Swimming & taking of fish or wildlife with firearms & possession of alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

Walsingham Park Lake, Pinellas County: open to fishing. Cast nets or minnow seines are prohibited. Black bass must be released immediately. Swimming & taking of fish or wildlife with firearms & possession of alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Gasoline motors may not be used on boats.
Panfish bag limit: 20
Crappie less than 10 inches in total length must be released immediately.
Sunshine bass bag limit: 4
Sunshine bass less than 10 inches in total length must be released immediately.
Crappie bag limit: 10

Middle Lake, Pasco County: open to fishing. Watercraft shall be operated at idle speed only. Swimming, taking of fish or wildlife with firearms, & camping or open fires at the boat launch site are prohibited.
Panfish bag limit: 20
Bluegill & redear sunfish less than 8 inches in total length must be released immediately.
Crappie bag limit: 10
Crappie less than 10 inches in total length must be released immediately.

Lake Istokpoga, Highlands County: open to fishing. Black bass 15 inches or more in total length & less than 24 inches must be released immediately.
Black bass bag limit: 3
Only 1 black bass may be 24 inches or greater in total length.

Mosaic Fish Management Area (formerly Cargill Fort Meade Mine), Polk & Hardee counties: open to fishing.
Fishing is allowed only by daily permit issued by the FWC. All anglers must check in & out at the Cargill Fort Meade Mine creel station, the designated entry point, unless otherwise instructed. Days & hours of operation & quotas shall be as designated by the FWC & posted at the Cargill Fort Meade Mine creel station. Fishing is permitted in designated lakes only. All other lakes & restricted areas, so posted, are closed to public fishing. Any lake may be temporarily closed to public access for management purposes, or in the event that access to the lake exposes the public to danger, by posting notice at the creel station. Unless otherwise specified, harvest restrictions are as follows:
Black bass must be released immediately.
Sunshine bass bag limit: 6
Crappie bag limit: 10
Crappie less than 10 inches in total length must be released immediately. Fish may not be filleted, nor their heads or tail fins removed, until the angler has checked out at the Cargill creel station. Disposal of fish remains is prohibited.
Taking of fish with guns is prohibited. Motor vehicles may be operated only on designated roads, parking areas & boat ramps. Vehicles may not obstruct designated roads, boat ramps & fire lanes. Swimming & float tubes are prohibited.
Rough fish may be removed from designated lakes by cast nets & minnow seines by permission of the landowner. Outboard motors more than 10 h.p. may not be used. Regulations for individual water bodies are as follows.

Haul Road Pit:
Black bass longer than 15 inches in total length must be released immediately.
Black bass bag limit: 2
Long Pond (LP2 West):
No boats permitted.

Hardee County Park, Hardee County: open to fishing. All anglers shall enter at the Park main entrance, the designated entry point, unless otherwise instructed. Angling from a boat is allowed by entry pass issued by Hardee County. Angling from shore does not require an entry pass unless otherwise posted at the Park main entrance.
Days & hours of operation & quotas for freshwater fishing are posted at the Park main entrance. Fishing is permitted in designated lakes only. Any lake may be closed to public access by Hardee County for management purposes, or in the event that access to the lake exposes the public to danger, by posting notice at the Park main entrance.
Black bass must be released immediately.
Sunshine bass bag limit: 6
Panfish bag limit: 20
Crappie bag limit: 10
Crappie less than 10 inches in total length must be released immediately. Fish may not be filleted, nor their head or tail fin removed, until the angler has left the Park. Disposal of fish remains within Hardee County Park is prohibited.
Taking of fish with guns is prohibited. Motor vehicles may be operated only on designated roads, parking areas, & boat ramps. Vehicles may not obstruct designated roads, boat ramps & fire lanes. Swimming & float tubes are prohibited.
Watercraft are restricted to idle speed-no wake.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION GO TO THE FLORIDA FISH & WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

2 comments:

Charles Wallace said...

Just read all of that. Making your own lures is where it's at. Saves a lot of money

Capt. Dick said...

Yes, or you could shop at our online tackle outlet store, www.moretackle.com, which just opened. We have started out small but will keep growing as more product becomes available.