AUSTIN- On March 24, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission took emergency action to change the bag and size limits on spotted seatrout in the Upper and Lower Laguna Madre due to the coastal freeze and subsequent fish kill in Feb. 2021. The new regulations for spotted seatrout in the bays and beachfronts of the Laguna Madre include:
- a three fish bag limit,
- a minimum size length of 17 inches
- a maximum size length of 23 inches and;
- no fish over 23 inches may be retained.
These changes will take effect on April 1 and are valid for up to 120 days, but may be extended another 60 days if warranted. The Laguna Madre encompasses two bay systems, Upper and Lower Laguna Madre. It ranges from south of the JFK causeway near Corpus Christi (including the adjacent beachfronts from Packery Channel) to the Rio Grande river in south Texas. The emergency action will be reevaluated once additional data is gathered by Coastal Fisheries biologists during the spring sampling season. This information will provide a better indication of the freeze impact to fish populations.
“I am confident that our spring sampling will help us get a better picture of the impacts to fish populations since the February fish kill event. In the meantime, the Commission took the action to help conserve the fish we have now and accelerate recovery,” said Coastal Fisheries Division Director Robin Riechers.
Biologists expect this type of management action to result in an increase in population numbers since more mature fish are left in the water to spawn during the spring through summer spawning season. This coupled with spotted seatrout production at TPWD coastal fish hatcheries will accelerate recovery.