You should be aware that fishing season in Texas is throughout the year, in as much you possess a fishing license and authorization to hunt fishes in any type of water body, you can fish anytime. Nevertheless, specific restrictions are being enforced on some species of fish and certain water activities. Moreover, you must be aware of the current fishing rule and also keep yourself updated on the new ones.
Things you must consider when fishing in Texas
The Department of Texas Parks and Wildlife has put in place some kind of restrictions on most saltwater and freshwater species of fish. In the course of this write-up, you will get a load of those restriction but let us first get familiar with some cogent terms.
Daily Bag Limit:
This simply means the maximum number of fish species that you are permitted to hunt within 24 hours.
This is explained to starts at midnight and ends after 24 hours at midnight.
Minimal and Maximum Fish Length Limits:
Almost all fish species have minimal length limits and some species have maximum length limits. The former is set to forbid you from capturing extremely young fishes while the latter is set to forbid you from capturing extremely old fishes. However, this is done to control fish population.
Limitations for saltwater fishing
There are so many fish species of saltwater that have restriction around them. You can study those restriction on your own while we lay emphasis on those restrictions that are reliant on the time of year.
The normal daily bag limit is around 5 fishes with the exception for 1-30, November and 1-14, December. However, without considering the two periods, 2 fishes are the daily bag limit. Furthermore, flounder can only be captured using pole-and-line on 1-30, November. On December, 1-14, flounder can be captured using any legitimate means.
The daily bag limit of alligator gar fish is 1 at any time of the year throughout the US but this is different for Falcon Lake where the daily bag limit is 5. At Trinity River, the daily bag limit is 1 however alligator gar with the size of 48 inches are allowed to be reserved.
Capturing of mullet with the size over 12 inches is not permitted in October, November, December and January.
On 2nd of August, 2019, the red snapper season in federal waters off the Texas coast was shut down, earlier than it had been projected. This is applicable to the private leisure anglers.
Limitations for freshwater fishing
There is out rightly no special season-based limitations to fish on freshwater. You just have to put in mind the alligator gar regulations we have outlined earlier in this article.
Shrimping seasons in outside waters
The Department of Texas Parks and Wildlife explains some particular seasons for shrimping in outside waters. Check out the following seasons that are applicable to shrimping in outside waters.
Beyond 5 nautical miles: The open season is from 1st of December to 15th of May 15 and from 16th of July to 30th of November.
Inside 5 nautical miles: The open season is from 16th of July to 30th of November. Also, the winter closed season is from 5th of December to 15th of May. However, shrimping is only permitted from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 after sunset.
Inside 9 nautical miles: The summer closed season is always from 15th of May to 15th of July. In addition to that, the Exclusive Economic Zone (9-200 miles) may be shut down by the National Marine Fisheries Service whenever they discovered Texas waters has been shut down.
Beyond 5 nautical miles: They usually declare open season from 1st of December to 15th of May and from 16th of July to 30th of November. It is the similar to the Southern Zone.
Inside 5 nautical miles: The open season is from 16th of February to 15th of May and 16th of July to 30th of November. The winter closed season is from 1st of December till 15th of February. The periods are the same as that of the Southern Zone which is from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Inside 9 nautical miles: The Southern Zone regulations is also applicable here.
Shrimping seasons in bays
Bays also have their limitation as well which includes;
Bait shrimping in major bays and bait bays: The season is open throughout the year, however the hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Shrimping for other than bait purposes in major bays: The spring season is open from 15th of May till 15th of July while the fall season is open from 15th of August till 30th of November. The periods are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset for each season.
Fishing rules in Texas
- It his compulsory for anglers to report any alligator gar harvested within 24 hours of capture.
- The Trinity River has its maximum length limit on an alligator gar to be 4 feet (as outlined above). Besides that, it is highly prohibited to perform nighttime bow fishing on alligator gar.
- The largemouth bass daily bag and length limits have altered.
- You are now permitted to harvest up to 5 Alabama bass in a day.
- A coast-wide limit of 5 fishes is enforced on spotted sea trout.
- Except angling with synthetic traps, anglers are now expected to make use of non-stainless steel and non-offset circle hooks whenever they are hunting sharks in the state water bodies.
- Anglers should ensure that they follow the minimum length for cobia which is now 40 inches.
- The Department of Parks and Wildlife is in charge of red snapper season for private recreational anglers in federal waters
When to Fish In Texas?
You may decide to fish anytime of the year so far you have your fishing license but you have to carefully consider few restriction we have discussed earlier. However, make sure you maximize your capture by hunting at the right time.
Species of fish to watch out for in each month of the year
|Fish Species||Water Bodies|
|January||speckled trout||East Matagorda Bay|
|February||white bass||Nueces River|
|March||white bass||Sabine River|
|April||speckled trout||Baffin Bay|
|July||speckled trout||Sabine Jetties|
|August||redfish||Port O’Connor Jetties|
|October||king mackerel||Port Mansfield Offshore|
|December||speckled trout||Laguna Madre|
This calendar was designed for 2020 however it may also be applicable to 202l, except if the population fishes in Texas reduce drastically. Wherever and whenever you are fishing in Texas, you should be able to capture game but these recommendations should be close to the best times and places where you intend to hunt fish.
Questions and Answers that may clear your doubt
Are Texas fishing regulations the same as federal regulations?
Fishing activities are strictly under federal jurisdiction starting at 9 nautical miles off the coast of Texas. The Department of Texas Parks and Wildlife try as much as possible to keep with the federal rules but there may be differences sometimes.
Is a “Yo-yo” a legal fishing device in Texas?
No! It highly prohibited to capture fish from Texas public water bodies using yo-yo.
How can I get a detailed map of a reservoir in Texas?
Sporting and game stores sells maps of lakes, particularly those in the local vicinity. Also, majority of the fishing and outdoor magazines and newsletters provide different forms of map advertisement. Additionally you can surf the website for maps that shows water bodies: all you need to do is to launch your search engine and type the phrase, “Lake Maps.” The Department of Texas Parks and Wildlife, Inland Fisheries office located in Abilene provides free topographical maps (8-1/2″ x 11″) of several lakes.