The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission took emergency action on March 24, 2021, moving to temporarily alter spotted seatrout regulations in response to the significant fish kill that resulted from February’s severe freeze. The daily limit for speckled trout in the Upper and Lower Laguna Madre will drop to three and the slot limit will become 17-23 inches. The geographic area (Upper and Lower Laguna Madre systems) extends south of the JFK causeway to the Texas/Mexico border, including the adjacent beachfronts from Packery Channel to the Rio Grande river. The remainder of state water regulations will remain at a five fish daily bag limit and 15-25 inch slot limit with the ability to keep one fish over 25 inches long.
The emergency rule becomes effective once filed with the Secretary of State and is valid for up to 120 days. The emergency rule can be extended 1 time for 60 days, which leads to the possibility of having an emergency rule in place for 180 days. The rule can be pulled down at any time if the need for the emergency rule no longer exists.
TPWD director of coastal fisheries Robin Riechers said the changes have the potential to increase the spawning biomass by 27 percent over a generation.
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