AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is now accepting public comment on proposed changes to freshwater fishing regulations for 2019-2020. The proposed changes include modifications to the length limits and harvest regulations for largemouth bass, Alabama bass and alligator gar in certain areas. The proposed changes to alligator gar regulations also include a statewide nighttime prohibition on bow fishing, mandatory harvest reporting statewide except for Falcon Lake, and the creation of a drawing for harvest opportunity on the Trinity River.
TPWD will be taking public comment on the following proposed changes to the 2019-2020 Statewide Recreational Fishing Proclamation, with input to be considered before any action by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its March 20 public hearing:
- Lake Conroe: Change current regulations for largemouth bass from a 16-inch minimum length limit and 5-fish daily bag limit to a 14-inch minimum length limit and 5-fish daily bag limit.
- Lake Lakewood: Implement an 18-inch minimum length limit and three-fish daily bag for largemouth bass.
- Mill Creek Lake: Change from a 14- to 21-inch slot length limit and five fish daily bag limit for largemouth bass to a 16-inch maximum length limit and five-fish daily bag with an exception allowing for possession and weighing for bass 24 inches or greater for possible submission to ShareLunker program.
- Southeast Texas: Expand the area in Southeast Texas currently covered by the 12-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass to include Hardin County, Newton County (excluding Toledo Bend Reservoir), and Liberty County south of U.S. Highway 90.
- Alan Henry Reservoir: Modify the harvest regulations for largemouth and Alabama bass by removing Alabama bass from the current regulation (five-fish daily bag of which only two bass less than 18 inches may be harvested). Alabama bass would revert to the statewide limits (no length limit and five-fish daily bag in combination with largemouth bass).
- Trinity River: Enact a 48-inch maximum length limit for alligator gar on the Trinity River from the I-30 bridge in Dallas downstream to the I-10 bridge in Chambers County, including the East Fork of the Trinity River upstream to the dam at Lake Ray Hubbard.
- Trinity River: A drawing will be implemented to allow selected anglers to harvest one alligator gar over 48 inches in length per year from the Trinity River. The limited entry system would allow non-transferable harvest authorization for a set number of alligator gar. Authorizations would be selected and distributed through a random draw of interested applicants.
- Statewide: Between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise, no person may take or possess an alligator gar by means of lawful archery equipment or crossbow.
- Statewide: All persons who take an alligator gar from the public fresh waters of the state other than Falcon International Reservoir would be required to report the harvest via the department’s website or by mobile app within 24 hours of take.
The public is encouraged to provide comment on the proposed regulation changes. Opportunities to provide comments for or against these proposals include:
- Facebook Live Webinar: TPWD Inland and Coastal Fisheries staff will present proposed fishing regulation changes and answer questions in a Facebook Live webinar at noon Feb. 27 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Facebook page.
- Public hearings: TPWD staff will host several public hearings to receive input from stakeholders and constituents concerning the proposed regulation changes.
- Conroe: Monday, March 4 at 7 p.m. at the San Jacinto River Authority Board Room, 1577 Dam Site Rd. Conroe Texas 77304.
- Athens: Tuesday, March 5 at 7 p.m. at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center Hart-Morris Conservation Center, 5601 Peninsula Point Rd., Athens 75752.
- San Antonio: Tuesday, March 5 at 7 p.m.at the Lions Field Adult and Senior Center, 2809 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209.
- Livingston: Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. at the Polk County Judicial Center, 101 W Mill St Livingston, TX 77351.
- Online: Comments on the changes can be provided on the TPWD public comment page until March 19.
- Phone or Email: Ken Kurzawski (512) 389-4591, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In person: The TPW Commission will take public comment on the proposed changes at their meeting on Wednesday, March 20 in Austin. Public testimony will normally be limited to three minutes per person.