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What are the fishing regulations in Texas? : What are the fishing regulations in Texas?

What are the Fishing Regulations in Texas?

Key Takeaways

  • Anglers in Texas must have a valid fishing license with the appropriate endorsement depending on whether they are fishing in saltwater or freshwater.
  • There are prohibited activities in Texas, such as harming sea turtles or taking endangered fish species.
  • Specific areas in Texas have their own regulations to protect the unique ecosystem and fisheries resources, such as Redfish Bay State Scientific Area and Cedar Bayou.

When it comes to fishing in Texas, there are several regulations in place to ensure the sustainability and conservation of the state’s aquatic resources. These regulations cover a wide range of topics including licensing requirements, possession limits, and restrictions on certain activities. Let’s take a closer look at the fishing regulations in Texas.

Fishing License Requirements

One of the most important regulations for anglers in Texas is the requirement to have a valid fishing license. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), individuals need a fishing license with the appropriate endorsement to take or attempt to take fish, mussels, clams, crayfish, or other aquatic life in public waters. The type of endorsement required depends on whether you are fishing in saltwater or freshwater.

For fishing in coastal waters, anglers need a saltwater endorsement. This endorsement allows individuals to fish for saltwater species such as redfish, speckled trout, and flounder. On the other hand, if you are fishing in inland waters like lakes and rivers, you need a freshwater endorsement. This endorsement is necessary for targeting species like largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie.

It’s worth noting that there are exceptions to the fishing license requirement. Individuals under 17 years of age and those born before January 1, 1931, are exempt from needing a fishing license. Additionally, individuals with an intellectual disability who are fishing as part of medically approved therapy under the supervision of approved personnel are also exempt. However, these individuals may still need to obtain a special fishing license or permit.

Prohibited Activities

In addition to the fishing license requirement, there are certain activities that are strictly prohibited in Texas. These activities are aimed at protecting sensitive species and habitats, and promoting sustainable fishing practices.

One such prohibited activity is taking or disturbing sea turtles. Sea turtles are protected under federal and state laws, and it is illegal to harm or disturb them in any way. Similarly, it is also illegal to take or disturb endangered or threatened fish species. These species are protected to prevent their decline and ensure their long-term survival.

Another prohibited activity is uprooting seagrass plants. Seagrass is a vital habitat for many fish and marine species, and damaging or removing it can have significant ecological consequences. Additionally, using game fish as bait is also not allowed. This regulation aims to prevent the spread of diseases and parasites between different bodies of water.

Specific Area Restrictions

There are also specific area restrictions in Texas that anglers need to be aware of. For example, the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area has special regulations in place to protect the unique ecosystem and fisheries resources in the area. Anglers fishing in this area must adhere to these regulations to ensure the sustainability of the fishery.

Another area with restrictions is Cedar Bayou. Cedar Bayou is an important ecological and fisheries resource, and there are specific regulations in place to protect it. These regulations may include restrictions on fishing methods, possession limits, or even temporary closures during certain times of the year.

New Fishing Regulations

It’s important to stay updated on any new fishing regulations that may be implemented. The TPWD regularly reviews and modifies fishing regulations to ensure the best management practices for Texas fisheries.

One recent change to fishing regulations in Texas is the modification of harvest regulations for blue and channel catfish in five lakes. These changes are aimed at maintaining healthy catfish populations and providing anglers with sustainable fishing opportunities.

Other modifications include statewide limits for largemouth bass on Lake Nasworthy and catch-and-release only regulations for largemouth bass on Lake Forest Park. These changes are designed to protect and enhance the bass populations in these lakes.

In saltwater fishing, there have been several changes as well. The shortfin mako shark is now a prohibited species, meaning it cannot be targeted or harvested by anglers. To promote the survival of reef fish with barotrauma, anglers are required to use descending devices. Additionally, the bag limit for cobia is now set at 1.

Fishing License Options

When it comes to purchasing a fishing license in Texas, there are several options available for both residents and non-residents. Texas residents can choose from freshwater packages, saltwater packages, and all-water packages depending on their fishing preferences.

Non-residents, on the other hand, are required to have a non-resident fishing license to fish in Texas. This license allows individuals to fish in both saltwater and freshwater. It’s important to note that non-residents may also need additional endorsements, tags, or permits depending on the type of fishing they plan to engage in.

Other fishing license options include lifetime licenses for Texas residents, special licenses for individuals who are legally blind, fishing guide licenses for those who assist or transport others while fishing for compensation, and sport oyster boat licenses for recreational oyster harvesting.


As an angler in Texas, it is essential to be familiar with the fishing regulations in order to fish legally and responsibly. This includes obtaining the necessary fishing license and endorsements, respecting prohibited activities, and adhering to specific area restrictions.

By following the fishing regulations, anglers can help protect Texas’ aquatic resources and ensure the sustainability of fisheries for future generations to enjoy.

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Q: Why are fishing regulations important in Texas?

Fishing regulations are crucial for environmental sustainability and maintaining fish populations in Texas. They help prevent overfishing and protect the ecosystem.

Q: Do I need a fishing license to fish in Texas?

Yes, a fishing license is required in Texas for anyone aged 17 and above. It helps support conservation efforts and ensures responsible fishing practices.

Q: What are the fishing seasons and limits in Texas?

Fishing seasons vary for different species in Texas. It’s important to stay updated on specific regulations. Additionally, catch limits and size restrictions apply to certain fish species.

Q: Are there special fishing regulations in Texas?

Yes, Texas has specific regulations for fishing in public and private waters, as well as on certain bodies of water. Catch-and-release fishing also has its own set of regulations.

Q: How can I stay updated on fishing regulations in Texas?

To stay informed, research official sources such as the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. They provide accurate and up-to-date information on fishing regulations.

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