AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted multiple changes to the freshwater fishing regulations for the upcoming 2021-2022 season at the meeting held virtually March 25. Changes to length and bag limits for blue and channel catfish statewide and at specific locations highlight this year’s list of freshwater fishing regulation changes. The changes also include minor modifications to passive gear float dimensions.
The changes that were enacted for the 2021-22 license year and take effect September 1, 2021, are listed below. In addition, the details of these new regulations will be incorporated into the 2021-22 edition of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Outdoor Annual.
The current statewide regulations for blue and channel catfish consist of a 12-inch minimum length limit and a 25-fish daily bag limit that combines both species. The changes remove the minimum length limit (fish of any length could be harvested) and retain the 25-fish daily bag. However, of the 25 blue or channel catfish that could be harvested per day, anglers will be limited to harvesting no more than 10 fish that measure 20 inches or longer.
Two new exceptions to the statewide regulations for blue and channel catfish were adopted. The first category follows the no minimum length limit and 25-fish daily bag limit for blue and channel catfish from the approved statewide regulations but further limits the number of fish 20 inches or larger that could be harvested per day to five and further limits the number of fish 30 inches or larger that could be harvested to one. A total of 12 locations were approved for this category. Following are the locations and their current regulations.
- Six locations that are currently under statewide regulations: Lakes Belton (Bell and Coryell counties), Bob Sandlin (Camp, Franklin, and Titus counties), Conroe (Montgomery and Walker counties), Hubbard Creek (Stephens County), Lavon (Collin County), and Ray Hubbard (Collin, Dallas, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties).
- Three locations currently under a 30- to 45-inch slot length limit: Lewisville (Denton County), Richland-Chambers (Freestone and Navarro counties), and Waco (McClennan County).
- Two locations currently under no minimum length limit and a 50-fish daily bag limit but with harvest limits of five fish that measure 20 inches or longer: Kirby (Taylor County) and Palestine (Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson, and Smith counties).
- Lake Tawakoni (Hunt, Rains, and Van Zandt counties) currently is under similar regulations: no minimum but with harvest limits of seven over 20 inches and two over 30 inches.
The final new exemption category is a 14-inch minimum length limit and a 15-fish combined daily bag for blue and channel catfish. Locations for this category, which are currently under statewide regulations, are:
- Lakes Braunig (Bexar County), Calaveras (Bexar County), Choke Canyon (Live Oak and McMullen counties), Fayette County (Fayette County), and Proctor (Comanche County).
Additionally, two reservoirs will be added to an existing blue and channel catfish regulation category: no minimum length limit and a 50-fish bag limit with the additional restriction that no more than five fish of 30 inches or larger could be harvested per day. Those reservoirs are Lake Livingston (Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker counties), which has a 12-inch minimum length limit and 50-fish daily bag limit, and Lake Sam Rayburn (Jasper County), which is currently under statewide regulations.
These two reservoirs, Lake Livingston and Lake Sam Rayburn and these reservoirs, Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion counties) and Toledo Bend (Newton Sabine, and Shelby counties), and the Sabine River (Newton and Orange counties), which are currently in the above regulation category, will also be added to the regulations for commercial harvest.
Current statewide length and bag limits for commercial harvest will remain at 14 inches and 25 fish [both species combined], and a five-fish bag limit will apply on all community fishing lakes and lying totally within a state park.
Changes were also adopted to standardize the descriptions for float dimensions for some passive gears as length and width rather than height and diameter. Also, inadvertently, the width of the float for minnow traps was listed as 6 inches, and it should be 3 inches.
The changes to the 2021-22 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing regulations take effect on September 1, 2021. All fishing regulations can be found in the Outdoor Annual on the TPWD website.
The online version of the TPWD Outdoor Annual will not reflect any new changes until mid-August. More information regarding these amendments for the 2021-22 season can be viewed on the TPWD website.