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My thoughts on the Speckled Trout Limits

My thoughts on the Speckled Trout Limits

Texas Speckled Trout Limit

I wrote this letter to Governor Abbott recently, I also posted the full letter on my Facebook page. Well the response was overwhelming, since it seems many of you agree with me I have decided that all of our voices are more important than just mine alone. I started this petition to raise even more awareness about the Texas Speckled Trout limit issue, please consider signing!

My name is Robert Hamilton. I’m am a fishing guide in Rockport TX. With all that is happening in Texas and across the country I can’t help but think this topic hasn’t been brought to your attention. The emergency move made by TPWD to change the Texas speckled trout limit from 5 fish to 3 was not popular among coastal fishermen. The least popular part of the new policy was the slot size from 17-23 inches. I think most anglers could understand temporarily reducing the limit from 5 fish to 3 . The slot limit has been the trying issue. As numerous people like myself explained at TPWD hearings last winter this would be more detrimental than helpful. In some areas, and during some times of the year catching fish in this slot is very difficult. The result is the excessive handling of would be keeper trout. This excessive handling kills many of the throw back fish. If they don’t die immediately, many fish are immediately eaten by dolphin that follow fishermen around many of the bays. Fishermen that target other species often catch trout over 23 that swallow the bait and die. I have cleaned thousands of trout over the years. Trout 17-23” appear to be the most prolific and have full bellies of eggs that will never be laid as well. I promise that more fish are dying and never being born, under the new limits. Fewer fish are reaching the dinner table as well. I’ve been fish guiding about 35 years and I can tell you the numbers of trout are about the same as before the freeze. This action approved by the TPWD commissioners you appointed is EXTREMELY unpopular in my world. Please consider recommending that TPWD reconsider this emergency action I suggest working with groups outside of CCA to gain real knowledge of what is happening. One such group the Coastal Bend Guides Association. ( CBGA)Most fishermen, including myself think 3 trout is ok temporarily., A new slot needs to be considered , for example 15-20. Perhaps allowing for one trout over that length per month/year that was somehow not fit to be released. The average trout fishermen really want to eat trout not hang them on the wall.

You can use the form below to sign my petition or if you prefer click here to contact a TPWD Commissioner via their page. *Contact information will only be shared with State Officials, none of your information will be used for commercial/marketing purposes.

If enough Texas fisherman contact the Governor and TPWD maybe we can get them to address the Texas Speckled Trout limit issue now instead of next year



Ask the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to change the Speckled Trout Slot Size

I respectfully ask that you consider immediately changing the slot size for Speckled Trout. In some areas, and during some times of the year catching fish in this slot is very difficult. The result is the excessive handling of would be keeper trout. This excessive handling kills many of the throw back fish. If they don’t die immediately, many fish are immediately eaten by dolphin that follow fishermen around many of the bays. Fishermen that target other species often catch trout over 23 that swallow the bait and die. Trout 17-23” appear to be the most prolific and have full bellies of eggs that will never be laid as well. More fish are dying and never being born, under the new limits imposed due to the freeze. Keep the 3 fish limit, but revisit the slot size (maybe 15-20") with the possibility of having a limited number of tags available for larger fish.

%%your signature%%

Sincerely, A concerned Texas Fisherman
680 signatures

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17 Responses

  1. Jimmy says:

    12-16” is the only slot that makes sense if you are trying to increase trout bio-mass/population.

  2. Larry Rabe says:

    Actually when it was a 10 fish limit before the 25” thing, was just right.

  3. Mike S. says:

    Today alone we caught 10 under size trout. And the darn porpoise that followed us through the flats ate every single one we released before they could get away.

  4. Take the slot out completely like you do with crappie certain times of the year. This eliminates the whole issue. No throw backs. Keep the first 3 trout. Problem solved

  5. Dusty Welborn says:

    14-23 with 1 over. So many 16in fish out there.

  6. This new size limit is not accomplishing anything it is doing more harm then good. When is TPWD going to listen to the people that fish all the time ?

  7. Cannon Chapman says:

    I believe the limit should remain at 3, however I think it should be along the lines of 14”-18” with 1 fish over 18”

  8. Doyle Hass says:

    I sent my daughter-in-law and granddaughter on a guide trip at POC a few weeks ago. Caught several limits at 15-16 inches, several belly up. Only 1 keeper trout kept! That’s not right to spend that kind of money for one keeper!

  9. Jeff says:

    Keep first five, do away with culling. Stop throwing back fish.

  10. Jimmy says:

    Keep 3 fish limit – zero over 23” for 3 more years. Also ban all live bait tournaments and make croaker a game fish therefore can’t fish with croaker – forever.

  11. Garrett Kidd says:

    3 Fish limit, 15”-20”
    1 fish over 20” per year.
    That’s if you want to see numbers sky rocket.

    • Robert Hamilton says:

      I’m on board with that. Except the trout may not read the memo.
      While redfishing I hook a lot of large trout that probably won’t make it. I do not target them though

  12. Tony Gonzalez says:

    My clients this year this year that didn’t get to take as many as usual, won’t be back! They’re going to Louisiana where they can keep 75 along with the guides limit. “Y’all can’t compete with that Captain”

  13. SCOTT MCCUNE says:

    If you keep up with current events you’ll know what I mean, if not it means that the regulations are meant to control you with false in information, fluctuating mandates and absolutely no consideration of the economy! These knee jerk regulations take a lot of time out of my life, I stay involved because it’s my livelihood at stake and the regulations are shoved down my throat anyway! The public was allowed ONLY 3 minutes to present their comments and as you read on you’ll understand I was cutoff ½ way through my presentation

    1) TWPD is using unreliable Biomass data collecting methods from the 70’s (that’s more than 50 years ago), on top of that the charts they submitted as data look like charts from my middle school classes (who the heck is in charge of the technology department?) because this is ridiculous!
    A) TWPD is not using highly available fishery data like from tournaments (why aren’t biologists there) or creating an associate fishing guide program (instead they use old methods and just keep killing fish)
    B) Everybody jokes about the boat ramp surveys because they are ridiculously out dated with absolutely no standard to work from such as modules to eliminate having a survey on days that it’s raining or the wind blowing 30 MPH (if TWPD wants to continue these time wasting surveys they should have a module that eliminate certain species from reporting by considering wind, tide, water temperature, air temperature and barometric pressure
    C) TPWD Kills fish with gill nets for DATA, are we certain these nets are placed in the appropriate places, I have never seen any around my hot spots in over 30 years (do we think these cubical office netters are efficient)
    D) The ridiculous 70’s style data charts are just smoke and mirrors They are technically obsolete (Where is the online real time app or technical presentation to drill down on time, place, air temperature, biometric pressure, water temperature and tide)
    E) TPWD is highly funded and It is ridiculous that the data is not presented better or even yet online in real time, this MUST be addressed! (I bet they want the payroll department to be up to date!)

    2) These elementary reactive regulation tactics hurting our fishery (the issues above show how ridiculously regulations have been shoved down the anglers throat and with misleading propaganda)
    A) If you do not include the statewide fishery you are playing favorites with your Houston elites! (and we all know what organizations are behind this not to mention the board)
    B) There is absolutely no considering socioeconomics in the regulations

    Page 1 of 3
    C) TWPD NEVER considers more nondetrimental regulations with no socioeconomic impacts like Trout tags for large fish, a more reasonable size limit of 14” -22” and regulating rouge fishing tournaments by making coordinators pay a fee to register tournaments, pay a fee per angler and submit weigh in data to the TWPD (this money should be earmarked for the hatchery)
    D) Example: The 5 trout limit was over reactionary causing terrible effects on the seagrass and other fishery species and by the way it was enacted with favoritism to different coast zones it had socioeconomic impacts

    3) Reflect on the numerous more effective and lasting regulations
    A) Unlimited Trout tags used like redfish tags
    B) Tournament regulations and fees such as previously stated
    C) Addressing the dolphin problem, even in the flats
    D) A more accurate size limit such as 14” – 22”

    4) Tons of Money
    A) A portion of the money brought into the TPWD by fisherman should be earmarked for the hatchery and transparent also using media to market the management as ecotourism
    B) TPWD has become a huge slow moving bureaucracy with favoritism running rampant i.e. the horrible Houston fishery
    C) There should be more transparent public information on ALL use of TPWD funds (we need to know how top heavy they are)
    D) NOAA and TPWD run over their constituents like bullies and NEVER listen to the public comments or economic (it’s really a WASTE of precious time and hard on conservationist’s hearts)
    E) Major nonprofit organizations who bring in millions of dollars in the name of conservation, the fishery and the elite within make favoring decisions that many of their members disagree without a voice or a vote. They should be held accountable and have transparent funding analysis by department to see how much they really give back
    F) The CCA is an advocate against guides on a few very important regulations, we should reevaluate giving trips to them! If the regulation gets applied I will be an advocate against guides giving to an organization that works against them
    G) All this being said the hatchery programs should be much larger and productive by now (where is the funding transparency from the CCA and TWPD)

    Page 2 of 3

    5) Extra: The small amount of elite wader/lure fisherman are regulating the water from the larger (90%) population of regular fisher people who may fish less than 4 times a year, don’t own a boat and by percentage the regular angler pays way more per fish!

    6) Guides are just a liaison for a licensed fisherman to get off the bank or learn a little about fishing (we make a lot of money for TWPD with licenses that would never be bought not to mention hotels, boat shops, restaurants, gift shops, tackle shops, auto shops, etc…)

    7) If you understand the CDC COVID rules, you might have a possibility of understanding the TWPD Trout regulation proposal that will be shoved down our throats. Make no mistake this is a government takeover just like Red Snapper

    Page 3 of 3

  14. Dan dunek says:

    If we don’t do something right now in 5 years you won’t have keeper trout period. We need to stop using the bays as a food source and look on it as sport. Killing a bunch of trout to get your limit is self defeating at best. Look at bass fishing as the model.

  15. Jeff Lobaugh says:

    First 5 fish caught and kept. Stop fondling them. Stop all excess of guides. Stop double guide trips.

    A lot of this seems to benefit the “commercial “ aspect and not the sportsman aspect.

    Leave the fish alone and the Good Lord will take care of them.

    There use to be a 12” 25 a day limit everyone had fish!

    Social Media is killing another part of our world.

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