Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries management staff are considering changes to freshwater fishing regulations at water bodies located in Cooke, Tom Green, Grayson, and Williamson counties for 2020-21. Staff previewed the potential changes to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at their meeting this week in Austin.
At Moss Lake near Gainesville in Cooke County, staff are considering modifying the 14-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass to a 16-inch maximum length limit to encourage the harvest of smaller fish. This change would aim to reduce competition for forage and habitat and improve the growth potential of largemouth bass in the lake. Additionally, this change would reduce confusion for anglers with identification of spotted versus largemouth bass in the lake.
At Lake Texoma and the Texas waters of the Red River below the Denison Dam, staff are considering modifying harvest regulations for blue, channel, and flathead catfish to standardize the regulations for these species on both sides of the reservoir and the river. For blue and channel catfish, the potential changes would specify no minimum length limit, a 15-fish daily bag limit, and anglers could harvest only one blue catfish 30 inches or greater. For flathead catfish, the change would specify no minimum length limit and a five-fish daily bag limit. In addition to standardizing regulations with Oklahoma and making harvest limits less complicated for catfish anglers, the potential changes could increase protection of larger blue catfish on the Texas side of the river.
In January, Inland Fisheries staff will present these possible changes to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. If the Commission approves, the proposed changes will be published in the Texas Register, which begins the process of official public comment. Prior to that, anglers wishing to comment on the potential changes can direct them to Ken Kurzawski, TPWD Inland Fisheries Director of Information and Regulations, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 512-389-4591.