BOB MAINDELLE: New regulation on catfish harvesting in effect on September 1st | Outdoor sports
Hunting and fishing licenses for 2021-2022 went on sale from August 15. As the new hunting and fishing license year begins on September 1, new catfish harvest regulations will come into effect, which will impact Belton Lake as well as other lakes in the State. .
According to a March 2021 press release from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted the following changes to the length limits and bag limits for blue catfish and river catfish:
Current statewide regulations for blue catfish and catfish consist of a minimum length limit of 12 inches and a daily catch limit of 25 fish that combines the two species. The changes remove the minimum length limit (fish of any length can be caught) and retain the daily bag of 25 fish. However, of the 25 blue or river catfish that could be caught per day, anglers will be limited to harvesting no more than 10 fish that are 20 inches or larger.
Two new exceptions to the national regulations for blue catfish and catfish have been adopted. The first category follows the minimum length limit and daily bag limit of 25 fish for blue catfish and catfish in statewide regulations, but still limits the number of fish from 20 inches or more that could be caught per day to five and still limits the number of fish 30 inches or more that could be harvested to one. A total of 12 locations have been approved for this category. Here are the locations and their current regulations.
Six sites currently regulated statewide: Lakes Belton (Bell and Coryell counties), Bob Sandlin (Camp, Franklin and Titus counties), Conroe (Montgomery and Walker counties), Hubbard Creek ( Stephens County), Lavon (Collin County), and Ray Hubbard (Collin, Dallas, Kaufman and Rockwall Counties).
Three locations currently under a 30 to 45 inch slot length limit: Lewisville (Denton County), Richland-Chambers (Freestone and Navarro Counties) and Waco (McLennan County).
Two locations currently with no minimum length limit and a daily catch limit of 50 fish, but with catch limits of five fish measuring 20 inches or more: Kirby (Taylor County) and Palestine (Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson and Smith).
Lake Tawakoni (Hunt, Rains and Van Zandt counties) is currently subject to similar regulations: no minimum but with harvest limits of seven by 20 inches and two by 30 inches.
The latest new exemption category is a minimum length limit of 14 inches and a combined daily bag of 15 fish for blue catfish and catfish. The locations for this category, which are currently subject to statewide regulations, are: Braunig Lakes (Bexar County), Calaveras (Bexar County), Choke Canyon (Live Oak and McMullen Counties) ), Fayette County (Fayette County) and Proctor (Comanche County).
In addition, two tanks will be added to an existing category of regulation on blue catfish and catfish: no minimum length limit and a limit of 50 bags of fish with the additional restriction that no more than five fish of 30 inches or more could be harvested per day. These reservoirs are Livingston Lake (Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity and Walker Counties), which has a minimum length limit of 12 inches and a daily catch limit of 50 fish, and Sam Rayburn Lake (Jasper County), which is currently subject to statewide regulations. .
So to sum up the new regulation regarding Belton Lake, as of September 1, there will be no minimum length limit for blue catfish and river catfish. In addition, the daily bag limit for blue catfish and river catfish will be 25 fish. Of these 25 catfish, a maximum of five catfish can be 20 inches or larger. Also, out of these 25 catfish, a maximum of one catfish can be 30 inches or larger. These limits apply to both species combined.
To sum up the new regulation regarding Stillhouse Hollow Lake, as of September 1 there will be no minimum length limit for Blue Catfish and River Catfish. In addition, the daily bag limit for blue catfish and river catfish will be 25 fish. Of these 25 catfish, a maximum of 10 catfish can be 20 inches or larger. These limits apply to both species combined.
John Tibbs, the state’s catfish management coordinator and one of two local biologists responsible for fisheries management at Belton and Stillhouse Hollow, said:
“These new regulations are based on a considerable amount of catfish data and are designed to improve or at least maintain the quality of the fishery in Texas reservoirs. Statewide regulations will provide some protection for fish between 20 inches and 30 inches, which will improve the quality of the fishery in high harvest reservoirs. The special regulation on Belton will reduce the catfish harvest to between 20 and 30 inches, which will increase the number of blue catfish reaching 30 inches. This means that over the next several years Belton anglers are expected to see an increase in the number of blues in the 20-30 inch size range, as well as more trophy blue catfish. “