CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently updated some of the rules related to fishing. After the freeze of 2021, TPWD studied the effects it had on the local fish population. Experts found a reduction in the number of fish, especially among the Spotted Sea Trout. New rules were introduced regarding weight and length restrictions.

Calvin Atkinson, a TPWD Game Warden, explained the new rules. “They thought it best to change the regulation which was originally 15 to 25 inches, and five fish total per angler. They switched it to 17 to 23 inches, and only three fish per angler,” Atkinson said.

There are many types of fish in the Lower Laguna Madre area and it was important to protect the population numbers for all of them. “Spotted Sea Trout, your Red Drum, Flounder species, and the Black Drum are some of the more popular species down here in the Lower Laguna Madre that anglers target,” Atkinson said.

He said that even though many fish had either been stunned or killed during the freeze, TPWD only imposed limits on the Spotted Sea Trout.

Atkinson said the Coastal Fisheries Department was always conducting studies to keep an eye on the fish population. He said if an emergency situation was found during its research, a process was in place to change any guidelines quickly. “If they see that something needs to be changed immediately, then that would go to our commission and they could basically vote on an emergency order, an executive order, to change the bag and size limit.”

He added that only happens in rare cases and most of the time, the department made changes that went into effect at the beginning of the new fiscal year, on September 1.

Atkinson said most anglers he met were happy the tighter restriction had gone away. “The enforcement action right now, so far, people have been abiding by the size and bag limits. From what I can see, they’re very happy it went back to the old regulation because now they can keep five fish instead of three.”

Atkinson said game wardens are always out enforcing TPWD rules, and state laws. He reminds everyone to make sure their water safety equipment is working properly before heading out and to have a valid fishing license.

He also encourages people to download the TPWD Outdoor Annual app, to find out about the regulations surrounding hunting, fishing, and boating.