Thursday, January 11, 2007

Spotted Seatrout Hullaballoo

This was a nice catch by none other than Amazing Walter on Captain Randy’s boat (photo credit: Amazing Walter). It inspired me to write a little about the upcoming regulations for spotted seatrout in the lower Laguna Madre. Of course, these are my personal views and not any of others. First though I’d like to point out a fairly nice website that promotes a regional approach for the lower Laguna:

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is going out for comment on whether a regional plan would serve the lower Laguna best, since its catch rates have seemed to lag in recent years despite having fairly healthy populations. By comparison, the red drum fishery (redfish) is doing extremely well, which is a sign that speckled trout might be some kind of decline. I don’t think they are proposing any specific regulations at this time.

The current regulations are 10 per day between 15 and 25 inches, and one of these 10 fish can be over 25 inches. Anything over 25 inches is considered a “trophy” speck. Lowering the daily limit to something like 5 fish per day would have the effect of building the fish stocks - and having more trophy fish in the plus-25 category.

This is where it gets dicey. Some “elite” pro fishing guides actually want the tighter limits because they want to advertise their services for hunting trophy fish. While I’m not sure about the numbers, the population of local fishing guides seems to be increasing each year reported in our local paper here), which could become a serious issue in future years.

I am fairly sure the TPWD will consider the trophy spotted trout issue during the commenting process, which should end later this month.

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