Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Presenters:  Ken Kurzawski
Robin Riechers

Action
2012-2013 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations
March 29, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  This item presents the proposed 2012-2013 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations for adoption.  The proposed amendments would:

II.      Discussion:  Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking fisheries resources for recreational purposes is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 61 and 67.  Statutory authority to regulate commercial fisheries is delegated to the Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 47 and 66.  The proposed rules are based upon suggestions from the public, statutory requirements, and commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable.  The potential changes are intended to increase recreational opportunity, decrease regulatory complexity where possible, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the fisheries resources of the state.

The Regulations Committee at its January 2012 meeting authorized staff to publish the proposed rules in the Texas Register for public comment.  The proposed rules appeared in the February 17, 2012, issue of the Texas Register (37 TexReg 873, 975).  A summary of public comment on the proposed rules will be presented at the time of the hearing.

III.     Recommendation:  Staff recommends that the Commission adopt the proposed motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to §53.2, concerning License Issuance Procedures, Fees, Possession, and Exemption Rules and §§57.971, 57.972, 57.973, 57.975, and 57.981, concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 17, 2011, issue of the Texas Register (37 TexReg 873, 875).”Attachments – 2
  1. Exhibit A – Proposed License Reciprocity Rule
  2. Exhibit B – Proposed Recreational and Commercial Fisheries Rules

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit A

FEES
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §53.2, concerning License Issuance Procedures, Fees, Possession, and Exemption Rules.

         The proposed amendment would alter the provisions of subsection (d)(4) to specify that residents of the State of Oklahoma who are 65 years of age or older are exempt from the fishing license requirements of the State of Texas. Oklahoma recently raised the minimum age at which Texas residents are exempt from the licensing requirements of Oklahoma, from 64 to 65. In order to be consistent with the requirements of Parks and Wildlife Code, §41.008, which authorizes the department to agree with any other state to license sport fishing by residents of the other state at the same fee as Texas residents are licensed in that state, the department is altering the minimum age under Texas rules for fishing license exemption.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Mr. Ken Kurzawski, Program Director, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be fiscal implications to state government as a result of enforcing or administering the rule. Those implications will be positive, since the effect of the rule is to raise the age at which Oklahoma residents qualify for exemption from fishing license requirements in Texas. The department has no way to predict a value for such a revenue increase, since it is impossible to know how many persons in the state of Oklahoma are 64 years of age and intend to fish in Texas in any of each of the next five years.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Mr. Kurzawski also has determined that for each of the first five years the rule as proposed is in effect:

         (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rule as proposed will be accurate department regulations.

         (B) There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

         (C) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect affect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers “direct economic impact” to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services. Since the proposed rule does not affect small businesses or microbusinesses, the department has determined that the proposed amendment will not impose any direct adverse economic effects on small businesses or microbusinesses. Accordingly, the department has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis under Government Code, Chapter 2006. There will be no fiscal implications for persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

         (D) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rule as proposed will not impact local economies.

         (E) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rule.

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Ken Kurzawski, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4591 (e-mail: ken.kurzawski@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §41.0086, which authorizes the department to agree with any other state to license sport fishing by residents of the other state at the same fee as Texas residents are licensed in that state.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 41.

         §53.2. License Issuance Procedures, Fees, Possession, and Exemption Rules.

                 (a) – (c) (No change.)

                 (d) The following categories of persons are exempt from fishing license requirements and fees:

                         (1) – (3) (No change.)

                         (4) non-residents 65[64] years of age or older who are residents of Oklahoma;

                         (5) – (6) (No change.)

                 (e) – (f) (No change.)

         This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

        Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit B

STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL
AND COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATIONS

Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§57.971, 57.972, 57.973, 57.975, and 57.981, concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations.

         The proposed amendment to §57.971, concerning Definitions, would alter the definition of “gear tag” to clarify that provisions governing the dating of gear tags do not apply to commercial crab traps. The provisions governing the use of crab traps under a commercial license require the use of gear tags, but there is no requirement that a gear tag be dated, since commercial licensees must document and report their catch.

         The proposed amendment to §57.972, concerning General Rules, would add provisions governing the use of the license log and the alternative license system. In 2010 the department restructured hunting and fishing regulations to separate hunting rules from fishing rules and recreational fishing rules from commercial fishing rules. In the process, the department overlooked two regulations that remained in Chapter 65, Subchapter (A) that affect red drum and tarpon with respect to license log requirements and procedures to be followed in the event that the department is ever in the position of implementing an alternative licensing system. The proposed amendment to §57.972 would migrate the applicable portions of those rules (i.e., those affecting fisheries) to Chapter 57 to allow intuitive reference.

         The proposed amendment to §57.972 also would implement provisions to address the spread of exotic aquatic species such as zebra mussels and silver and bighead carp. At the current time, these species are present in Texas in limited numbers or are confined to few locations. Although possession and transport of these species is prohibited under Chapter 57, Subchapter A, additional regulations are needed to prevent the accidental or incidental movement of these species from one water body to another. The proposed amendment consists of two provisions. The first would prohibit any person from leaving specified water bodies in the possession of live, nongame fishes. This would prevent the accidental capture and movement of silver and bighead carp as a result of bait-collecting activities for other nongame fishes, especially gizzard or threadfin shad, which are quite similar in appearance. These species can be easily misidentified at smaller sizes and within a large quantity of fish. Collection and use of nongame fishes for bait on those water bodies would be legal. The proposed provision would affect the Red River from the I-44 bridge in Wichita County to the Arkansas/Texas state line, including the Texas waters of Lake Texoma; Big Cypress Bayou downstream of Ferrell’s Bridge Dam on Lake O’ the Pines, including the Texas waters of Caddo Lake; and the Sulphur River downstream of the Lake Wright Patman dam to the Texas/Arkansas border.

         The second provision would impact waterbodies where zebra mussels have been found or have a high potential of occurrence. Zebra mussels have a free-swimming, microscopic larval stage called a veliger. Any water collected from water bodies where zebra mussels are present could contain veligers; thus, water transported from water bodies with known zebra mussel populations is a vector for the spread of zebra mussels. Under ordinary circumstances, the department would consider any person in possession of zebra mussel veligers to be in violation of Chapter 57, Subchapter A, which prohibits the possession of zebra mussels. Under the amendment as proposed, the department would not consider a person in possession of veligers to be in violation, provided live wells, bilges, and other receptacles or systems capable of retaining or holding water as a consequence of being immersed in a water body have been drained prior to the use of a public roadway. A person traveling on a public roadway via the most direct route to another access point located on the same body of water would not be required to drain or empty water. The proposed provision would affect Lake Lavon and the Red River from the I-44 bridge in Wichita County to the Arkansas/Texas border, including the Texas waters of Lake Texoma.

         The proposed amendment to §57.973, concerning Devices, Means, and Methods, would require the use of gear tags on throwlines and minnow traps in fresh water, and would reduce the length of time required for gear-tag replacement on employed devices from 30 days to 10 days. Under current rules, gear tags are required to affixed to most fishing devices that are typically left unattended, such as trotlines. In fresh water, only throwlines and minnow traps are not required to have a gear tag affixed to them when in use. The department has determined that because such devices continue to fish and represent a danger to birds and mammals when they are abandoned, it is necessary to require a gear tag to be employed when they are used. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §12.1105, the department is authorized to seize a device that is in or on water in violation of a regulation of the commission. By requiring throwlines and minnow traps to be affixed with a gear tag in order to be lawfully used, the department will be able to prevent abandoned throwlines and minnow traps to continue to be dangerous to fish and wildlife populations. In the course of investigating the need for the gear tag requirement for throwlines and minnow traps, the department also considered the current rule requiring gear tags to be replaced or re-dated at least every 30 days. In researching similar regulations in other states, the department determined that the Texas gear tag rules allowed the longest time period in the country between mandatory datings. Therefore, the proposed amendment to §57.973 would reduce from 30 days to 10 days the time period that any device for which a gear tag is required could be left in the water without being re-dated or re-tagged with a new gear tag. The department considers that 10 days would allow any person at least two weekends of fishing effort before having to re-tag or re-date a device.

         The proposed amendment to §57.973 also would restrict the use of passive taking devices (trotlines, juglines, and throwlines) on Lake Naconiche in Nacdogdoches County. Like Naconiche will be opened to the public in 2012. Angling effort is expected to be high, especially during the first several years. Since the largemouth bass population is still developing, it is important to prevent harvest of smaller bass to ensure that a quality population is established. Restrictions on the use of passive taking devices (trotlines, juglines, and throwlines) will provide additional protection for the expanding fish populations and is more compatible with other uses planned for this small reservoir (i.e., swimming and water skiing).

         The proposed amendment to §57.973 also would implement a two-device restriction on the number of pole-and-line fishing devices that a person may use simultaneously while fishing from a dock, pier, jetty, or other man-made structure on a state park. Because of easy access, proximity to population centers, and waiver of fishing license requirements, state parks are popular fishing destinations. State parks are important angling destinations because they are good places to introduce people to the angling experience, particularly youth and families. The department has received complaints that some persons are monopolizing pier/jetty/dock space at state parks by using multiple fishing devices, usually fishing poles. Therefore, the proposed amendment would restrict the number of devices that a person could employ while fishing in a state park from a pier, jetty, dock, or other man-made structure. Each person would be allowed to use two fishing poles; no other fishing devices would be allowed. The proposed amendment is necessary to ensure equitable distribution of angling opportunity and prevent user conflicts.

         The proposed amendment to §57.975, concerning Freeze Event Closures, would clarify that no person may take, or attempt to take, aquatic life in an affected area during a freeze closure.  The current rule specifically prohibits the take of fish by hook and line, pole and line, or throwline in an area closed during a freeze event. There has been some confusion on the part of anglers who interpret the current rule to allow the harvest of fish by hand, dip net, or other means that are not specifically prohibited under §57.975. This interpretation is erroneous. Under current §57.973, it is unlawful to take, attempt to take, or possess fish caught in public waters of this state by any device, means, or method other than as authorized, and devices that are unlawful under §57.973 would still be unlawful in an area that has been closed due to a freeze event. The cumulative effect of §57.973 and §57.975 is to prohibit the take of fish by any means in an area closed during a freeze event. To eliminate confusion about the legality of other fishing methods, the department seeks to make this clear.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981, concerning Bag, Possession, and Length Limits, would change minimum length limit for largemouth bass back to the statewide 14-inch limit on three reservoirs: Aquilla Reservoir (Hill County); Lake Fort Phantom Hill (Jones County); and Lake Proctor (Comanche County).

         Aquilla Reservoir is a 2,366-acre reservoir with scarce amounts of native aquatic vegetation.  Nearly 35% of the reservoir is covered in standing timber, and this habitat has declined drastically since impoundment (1986).  A recent study indicated the reservoir could be losing as much as 218 acre-feet of volume each year through erosion and sedimentation from within its watershed. An 18-inch minimum length limit was implemented in 1994 to increase the density of largemouth bass and provide greater availability of largemouth bass greater than 18 inches for angler catch.  Largemouth bass densities and population indices spiked between 1998 and 2002; however, these indices are currently below pre-regulation values.  Largemouth bass densities remain improved over pre-regulation numbers but are also well below the spike observed in 2000 and 2002.  Creel survey information indicates that few anglers are fishing for bass. The department has determined that the largemouth bass fishery is habitat-limited, and the 18-inch minimum length limit is no longer effective or needed. Therefore, the proposed amendment would restore the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit.

         Fort Phantom Hill is a 4,213-acre reservoir that was impounded in 1938 and is operated by the city of Abilene.  A 16-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass was implemented in September 1994.  The goals of the regulation were to increase relative abundance of 14 to 16-inch largemouth bass and to increase angler catch rates. Mean electrofishing catch rates of 14 and 16-inch bass were similar under the two length limits.  Population indices were slightly higher but statistically similar. Angler catch rates varied little under the two regulations.  Water level elevation likely has a large influence on the largemouth bass population in this reservoir. A model using water level elevations from April-July, and the difference in elevation from the previous October to the next July accounted for 92% of the variation in catch rates of small (less than 8 inches) largemouth bass from 1996-2009. Similar to other West Texas reservoirs where a 16-inch minimum length limit was attempted, there appears to be no additional benefit to anglers compared with a 14-inch limit. Therefore, the proposed amendment would restore the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit.

         Lake Proctor is a 4,537-acre reservoir that was impounded in 1963. A 16-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass was implemented in September 2002 to prolong a “boom” phase following severe drought conditions that lasted from 1998-2001. Increased water levels in 2001 resulted in an extremely large 2001 year class of largemouth bass. The increase to a 16-inch minimum length limit was designed to improve size structure for a longer period of time than could be achieved under the 14-inch limit. The post-drought changes that occurred in the largemouth bass population at Lake Proctor were similar to changes that occurred in other largemouth bass populations from area reservoirs that experienced the same drought-related problems but had a 14-inch minimum length limit.  Essentially, either limit provided the same protection to a recovering largemouth bass population. Additionally, the 16-inch limit failed to provide long-term improvements beyond what a 14-inch limit would provide. Therefore, the proposed amendment would restore the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would change the daily bag limit for striped bass back to the statewide five-fish limit on Possum Kingdom Reservoir (Palo Pinto County). Possum Kingdom is a 15,588-acre reservoir that was impounded in 1941.  In 2001, golden alga caused a fish kill that greatly reduced the abundance of striped bass. In response to this fish kill, striped bass were stocked to rebuild the population. Also, the daily bag limit for striped bass was decreased from five to two in September 2002. Fish kills continue to negatively affect the rebuilding the striped bass population. Catch rate of striped bass in gillnets has decreased from 9.3 fish per net night in 1999 to 0.2 per net night in 2011. Striped bass take between two and four years for at Possum Kingdom to attain the legal length limit of 18 inches. The periodic fish kills prevent many fish from attaining legal size.  Increasing the daily bag to allow angler to take additional fish when they are infrequently present would better utilize the resource.

         The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would implement an 18-inch minimum length limit and five-fish daily bag for largemouth bass and prohibit use of juglines, trotlines, and throwlines on Lake Naconiche (Nacogdoches County), a reservoir that will open to angling September 1, 2012. The department plans to intensively manage this water body to enhance and protect the largemouth bass population.  Lake Naconiche was impounded in 2009 and will be 692 acres at full pool. Lack of rainfall has prevented the lake level from reaching full pool. The lake will open to angling September 1, 2012. Threadfin shad, bluegill, channel catfish, white and black crappie, and Florida largemouth bass were stocked in 2010 and 2011. Angling effort is expected to be high, especially during the first several years. Since the largemouth bass population is still developing, it is important to protect fish to 18 inches in order to prevent harvest of 14- to 18-inch bass and ensure that a quality population is established. Additionally, restricting the use of passive taking devices (trotlines, juglines, and throwlines) will provide additional protection for the expanding fish populations and is more compatible with other uses planned for this small reservoir (i.e., swimming and water skiing).

         The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would remove a reference to Town Lake in Travis County. In 2008, Town Lake was renamed Lady Bird Lake.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Ken Kurzawski, Program Director, Inland Fisheries Division, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of administering or enforcing the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Mr. Kurzawski also has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect:

         (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be the dispensation of the agency’s statutory duty to protect and conserve the fisheries resources of this state, the duty to equitably distribute opportunity for the enjoyment of those resources among the citizens, and the execution of the commission’s policy to maximize recreational opportunity within the precepts of sound biological management practices.

         (B) There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

         (C) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic affect on small businesses and micro-businesses. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small businesses. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers “direct economic impact” to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

          The department has determined that the proposed rules will not directly affect small businesses and/or micro-businesses. Therefore, the department has not prepared the economic impact statement or regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006.

         (D) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

         (E) The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rules.

         (F) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

4. Request for Public Comment

         Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Ken Kurzawski (Inland Fisheries) at (512) 389-4591, e-mail: ken.kurzawski@tpwd.state.tx.us; Jeremy Leitz (Coastal Fisheries) at (361) 825-3356, e-mail: jeremy.leitz@tpwd.state.tx.us; or David Sinclair (Law Enforcement) at (512) 389-4854, e-mail david.sinclair@tpwd.state.tx.us. Comments also may be submitted via the department’s website at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/feedback/public_comment/.

5. Statutory Authority

         The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.010, which authorizes the department to prescribe the form and manner of issuance of the licenses and tags authorized by Chapter 42; §46.0085, which authorizes the department to prescribe the form and manner of issuance of the licenses and tags authorized by Chapter 46; Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed; §66.007, which prohibits the possession or placement into public waters of exotic fish or shellfish except as authorized by rule or permit issued by the department; and §67.004, which requires the commission to establish any limits on the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, sale, or offering for sale of nongame fish or wildlife that the department considers necessary to manage the species.

         The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 42, 46, 66, 61 and 67.

         § 57.971. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All other words and terms in this subchapter shall have the meanings assigned in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code.

                 (1) — (21) (No change.)

                 (22) Gear tag—A tag …, and except for saltwater trotlines and crab traps fished under a commercial license, the date the device was set out.

                 (23) – (46) (no change.)

         §57.972. General Rules.

                 (a) – (g) (No change.)

                 (h) Harvest Log.

                         (1) The provisions of this subsection apply to any person in possession of a license lawfully purchased by any means other than through an automated point-of-sale system.

                         (2) A person who takes a red drum in excess of the maximum length limit, or a tarpon shall complete, in ink, the harvest log on the back of the hunting or fishing license, as applicable, immediately upon kill, or, in the case of fish, upon retention.

                 (i) Alternative Licensing System.

                         (1) The requirements of this title that require the attachment of license tags to wildlife resources do not apply to any person in lawful possession of a license that was sold by the department without tags for red drum or tarpon. A properly executed wildlife resource document must accompany any red drum in excess of maximum size limits, or tarpon, until the provisions of this title and Parks and Wildlife Code governing the possession of the particular wildlife resource cease to apply.

                         (2) The provisions of this section do not exempt any person from any provision of this subchapter that requires or prescribes the use of a wildlife resource document.

                 (j) No person may leave a body of water listed in this subsection while in possession of a live nongame fish:

                         (1) the Red River below Lake Texoma downstream to the Texas/Arkansas border;

                         (2) Big Cypress Bayou downstream of Ferrell’s Bridge Dam on Lake O’ the Pines, including the Texas waters of Caddo Lake; and

                         (3) the Sulphur River downstream of the Lake Wright Patman dam to the Texas/Arkansas border .

                 (k) A person who leaves a water body listed in this subsection while in possession of a harmful or potentially harmful species listed in §57.111 of this title (relating to Definitions) that is invisible to the unaided human eye is not in violation of §57.112 of this title (relating to General Rules), provided that:

                         (1) all live wells, bilges, and other similar receptacles and systems that are capable of retaining or holding water as a consequence of being immersed in a water body have been drained prior to the use of a public roadway; or

                         (2) the person is travelling on a public roadway via the most direct route to another access point located on the same body of water.

                         (3) This subsection applies to the following bodies of water:

                                  (A) the Red River from the I-44 bridge in Wichita County to the Texas/Arkansas border, including the Texas waters of Lake Texoma; and

                                  (B) Lake Lavon.

         §57.973. Devices, Means and Methods.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Game and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line only in:

                         (1) community fishing lakes; however, on community fishing lakes that are not within or part of a state park, no person may employ more than two pole-and-line devices [(i.e., poles or lines)] at the same time;

                          (2) sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of state parks, and no person may employ more than two pole-and-line devices at one time on any dock, pier, jetty, or other manmade structure within a state park;

                         (3) – (6) (No change.)

                 (c) – (e) (No change.)

                 (f) Device restrictions. Devices legally used for taking fresh or saltwater fish or shrimp may be used to take crab as authorized by this subchapter.

                         (1) – (2) (No change.)

                         (3) Crab trap. It is unlawful to:

                                  (A) – (H) (No change.)

                                  (I) fish a crab trap in public salt waters for non-commercial purposes without a valid gear tag. Gear tags must be attached within 6 inches of the buoy and are valid for 10[30] days after date set out;

                                  (J) – (N) (No change.)

                         (4) – (7) (No change.)

                         (8) Jugline. For use in fresh water only. Non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish may be taken with a jugline. It is unlawful to use a jugline:

                                  (A) with invalid gear tags. Gear tags must be attached within six inches of the free-floating device, are valid for 10[30] days after the date set out, and must include the number of the permit to sell non-game fish taken from fresh water, if applicable;

                                  (B) – (C) (No change.)

                                  (D) in Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

                         (9) (No change.)

                         (10) Minnow trap (fresh water and salt water). It is unlawful to use a minnow trap [in salt water] that is not equipped with a gear tag. A gear tag is valid for 10[30] days after the date it is set out.

                                  (A) – (B) (No change.)

                         (11) Perch traps. For use in salt water only.
                                  (A) (No change.)
                                  (B) It is unlawful to fish a perch trap that:
                                          (i)-  (ii) (No change.)
                                          (iii) that is not marked with a floating visible orange buoy not less than six inches in height and six inches in width. The buoy must have a gear tag attached. Gear tags are valid for 10[30] days after date set out.

                         (12) – (19) (No change.)

                         (20) Throwline. For use in fresh water only.

                                  (A) (No change.)

                                  (B) It is unlawful to use a throwline in Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

                                  (C) It is unlawful to use a throwline that is not equipped with a gear tag. A gear tag is valid for 10 days after the date it is set out.

                         (21) Trotline.

                                  (A) (No change)

                                  (B) It is unlawful to use a trotline:

                                          (i) (No change.)

                                          (ii) with invalid gear tags. Gear tags must be attached within three feet of the first hook at each end of the trotline and are valid for 10[30] days after date set out, except on saltwater trotlines, a gear tag is not required to be dated;

                                          (iii) – (v) (No change.)

                                  (C) In fresh water, it is unlawful to use a trotline:

                                          (i) (No change.)

                                          (ii) in Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Fayette County Reservoir in Fayette County, Pinkston Reservoir in Shelby County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

                                  (D) (No change.)

                         (22) (No change.)

         §57.975. Freeze Event Closures.

                 (a) Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

                         (1) Affected area — an area of coastal water where fishing from the bank is possible and where game fish are known or expected to take refuge from cold weather conditions.

                         (2) Freeze — a period of cold weather that begins when the air temperature drops to or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and creates a risk of depletion of one or more game fish species.

                 (b) The Executive Director shall provide appropriate notice to the public that a freeze has occurred and fishing in the affected area or areas is prohibited. The Executive Director shall provide appropriate public notice as to when fishing in the affected area or areas is allowed to resume.

                 (c) No person shall take or attempt to take any aquatic life by any means[fish with a hook and line, pole and line, or throwline] in an affected area during a freeze after the Executive Director has given notice to the public that a freeze has occurred and fishing in the affected area is prohibited and before the Executive Director gives notice that fishing may resume.

         This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

         Issued in Austin, Texas, on

         The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed; and §67.004, which requires the commission to establish any limits on the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, sale, or offering for sale of nongame fish or wildlife that the department considers necessary to manage the species.

         The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 61 and 67.

         §57.981. Bag, Possession, and Length Limits.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) There are no bag, possession, or length limits on game or non-game fish, except as provided in this subchapter.

                         (1) – (4) (No change.)

                 (c) Exceptions to statewide daily bag, possession, and length limits shall be as follows:

Figure: 31 TAC §57.981(c)(1)
Species and Location (County) Daily Bag Minimum Length (Inches) Special Regulation
Bass: largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and Guadalupe bass, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
In all waters in the Lost Maples State Natural Area (Bandera). 0 No limit Catch and release only.
Bass: largemouth and spotted.      
Lake Alan Henry. 5 No limit It is unlawful to retain more than two bass of less than 18 inches in length.
Caddo Lake (Marion and Harrison). 8 (in any combination with spotted bass) 14 - 18 inch Slot limit (largemouth bass); no limit for spotted bass. It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 14 and 18 inches. No more than 4 largemouth bass 18 inches or longer may be retained. Possession limit is 10.
Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge and Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby). 8 (in any combination with spotted bass) 14 (largemouth bass); no limit for spotted bass. Possession limit is 10.
Bass: largemouth.      
Conroe (Montgomery and Walker), [Fort Phantom Hill (Jones),] Granbury (Hood), Possum Kingdom (Palo Pinto, Stephens, Young), [Proctor (Comanche),] and Ratcliff (Houston). 5 16  
Lake Nacogdoches (Nacogdoches). 5   It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass of 16 inches or greater in length. Largemouth bass 24 inches or greater in length may be retained in a live well or other aerated holding device for purposes of weighing, but may not be removed from the immediate vicinity of the lake. After weighing, the bass must be released immediately back into the lake unless the department has instructed that the bass be kept for donation to the ShareLunker Program.
Lakes [Aquilla (Hill) ,] Bellwood (Smith), Braunig (Bexar), Bright (Williamson), Brushy Creek (Williamson), Bryan (Brazos), Calaveras (Bexar), Casa Blanca (Webb), Cleburne State Park (Johnson), Cooper (Delta and Hopkins), Fairfield (Freestone), Gilmer (Upshur), Jacksonville (Cherokee), Marine Creek Reservoir (Tarrant), Meridian State Park (Bosque), Naconiche (Nacogdoches), Old Mount Pleasant City (Titus), Pflugerville (Travis), Rusk State Park (Cherokee), and Welsh (Titus). 5 18  
Nelson Park Lake (Taylor) and Buck Lake (Kimble). 0 No limit Catch and release and only.
O.H. Ivie Reservoir (Coleman, Concho, and Runnels). 5 No limit It is unlawful to retain more than two bass of less than 18 inches in length.
Purtis Creek State Park Lake (Henderson and Van Zandt), and Raven (Walker). 0 No limit Catch and release only except that any bass 24 inches or greater in length may be retained in a live well or other aerated holding device for purposes of weighing, but may not be removed from the immediate vicinity of the lake. After weighing, the bass must be released immediately back into the lake unless the department has instructed that the bass be kept for donation to the ShareLunker Program.
Lakes Bridgeport (Jack and Wise), Burke-Crenshaw (Harris), Davy Crockett (Fannin), Grapevine (Denton and Tarrant), Georgetown (Williamson), Madisonville (Madison), San Augustine City (San Augustine), and Sweetwater (Nolan). 5 14 - 18 inch Slot limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 14 and 18 inches in length.
Lakes Athens (Henderson), Bastrop (Bastrop), Buescher State Park (Bastrop), Houston County (Houston), Joe Pool (Dallas, Ellis, and Tarrant), Kyle (Hays), Lady Bird (Travis) Mill Creek (Van Zandt), Murvaul (Panola), Pinkston (Shelby), Timpson (Shelby), [Town (Travis),] Walter E. Long (Travis) and Wheeler Branch (Somervell). 5 14 - 21 inch Slot limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 14 and 21 inches in length. No more than 1 bass 21 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lakes Fayette County (Fayette), Gibbons Creek Reservoir (Grimes), and Monticello (Titus). 5 14 - 24 inch Slot limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 14 and 24 inches in length. No more than 1 bass 24 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lake Fork (Wood, Rains and Hopkins). 5 16 - 24 inch Slot limit It is unlawful to retain largemouth bass between 16 and 24 inches in length. No more than 1 bass 24 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Bass: smallmouth.      
Lakes O. H. Ivie (Coleman, Concho, and Runnels), Devil's River (Val Verde) from State Highway 163 bridge crossing near Juno downstream to Dolan Falls and Wheeler Branch (Somervell). 3 18  
Lake Meredith (Hutchinson, Moore, and Potter). 3 12 - 15 inch Slot limit It is unlawful to retain smallmouth bass between 12 and 15 inches in length.
Bass: striped and white bass, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge and Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby). 5 No limit No more than 2 striped bass 30 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 10 (in any combination) No limit No more than 2 striped or hybrid striped bass 20 inches or greater in length may be retained each day. Striped or hybrid striped bass caught and placed on a stringer, in a live well or any other holding device become part of the daily bag limit and may not be released. Possession limit is 20.
Red River (Grayson) from Denison Dam downstream to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson). 5 (in any combination) No limit Striped bass caught and placed on a stringer, in a live well or any other holding device become part of the daily bag limit and may not be released.
[Lake Possum Kingdom (Palo Pinto, Stephens, Young) and] Trinity River (Polk and San Jacinto) from the Lake Livingston dam downstream to the F.M. Road 3278 bridge. 2 (in any combination) 18  
Bass: white.      
Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion), Texoma (Cooke and Grayson) and Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby), and Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge. 25 No limit  
Carp: common.      
Lady Bird Lake (Travis). No limit No limit It is unlawful to retain more than one common carp of 33 inches or longer per day.
Catfish: blue.      
Lakes Lewisville (Denton), Richland- Chambers (Freestone and Navarro), and Waco (McLennan). 25 (in any combination with channel catfish) 30-45-inch slot limit It is unlawful to retain blue catfish between 30 and 45 inches in length. No more than one blue catfish 45 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Catfish: channel and blue catfish, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Lake Livingston (Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, and Walker). 50 (in any combination) 12  
Trinity River (Polk and San Jacinto) from the Lake Livingston dam downstream to the F.M. Road 3278 bridge. 10 (in any combination) 12 No more than 2 channel or blue catfish 24 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion), Kirby (Taylor), Palestine (Cherokee, Anderson, Henderson, and Smith), and Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby), Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to I.H. 10 bridge. 50 (in any combination) No Limit No more than five catfish 20 inches or greater in length may be retained each day. Possession limit is 50.
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 15 (in any combination) 12 No more than one blue catfish 30 inches or greater in length may be retained each day.
North Concho River (Tom Green) from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam, South Concho River (Tom Green) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam. 5 (in any combination) No limit  
Community fishing lakes. 5 (in any combination) No limit  
Bellwood (Smith), Dixieland (Cameron), and Tankersley (Titus). 5 (in any combination) 12  
Catfish: flathead.      
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson) and the Red River (Grayson) from Denison Dam to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson). 5 20  
Lakes Caddo (Harrison and Marion), Toledo Bend (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby), and Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge. 10 18 Possession limit is 10.
Crappie: black and white crappie, their hybrids and subspecies.      
Caddo Lake (Harrison and Marion), Toledo Bend Reservoir (Newton, Sabine, and Shelby) , and Sabine River (Newton and Orange) from Toledo Bend dam to the I.H. 10 bridge. 25 (in any combination) No limit  
Lake Fork (Wood, Rains, and Hopkins) and Lake O' The Pines (Camp, Harrison, Marion, Morris, and Upshur). 25 (in any combination) 10 From December 1, through the last day in February, there is no minimum length limit. All crappie caught during this period must be retained.
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 37 (in any combination) 10 Possession limit is 50.
Drum, red.      
Lakes Braunig and Calaveras (Bexar), Coleto Creek Reservoir (Goliad and Victoria), Fairfield (Freestone), and Tradinghouse Creek (McLennan). 3 20 No maximum length limit.
Shad, gizzard and threadfin.      
The Trinity River below Lake Livingston in Polk and San Jacinto Counties. 500 (in any combination) No limit Possession limit 1,000 in any combination.
Trout: rainbow and brown trout, their hybrids, and subspecies.      
Guadalupe River (Comal) from the second bridge crossing on the River Road upstream to the easternmost bridge crossing on F.M. Road 306. 1 18  
Walleye.      
Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson). 5 18  

                 (2) (No change.)

         This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s legal authority to adopt.

         Issued in Austin, Texas on

 


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