Trophy Catfish Lakes




Four options being considered for changes to catfish regulations, based on the observation that more anglers are willing to release fish to catch trophy fish.

Options are: one for quality fisheries; one for large reservoirs that are harvest oriented; another for trophy fisheries; and a fourth for lakes where overharvest is an issue.

For about 80 percent of lakes that offer good or quality fisheries the department is suggesting a daily 25-fish limit to include no more than 10 over 20 inches and no minimum length limit. The regulation is expected to provide ample harvest as well as allowing some fish to maximize their growth potential.

The proposed regulation for large lakes that are harvest oriented is 25 fish with no minimum length limit, but no more than five over 30 inches. This regulation is geared toward not only rod and reel fishermen, but also those using trotlines and juglines. Rod and reel fishing is the most popular form of catfish fishing, but Tibbs said the department wants to encourage fishermen to continue other traditional methods.

The department recognizes a small number of fisheries as trophy fisheries and is suggesting a daily limit of 25 fish, with five over 20 inches, but only one of those over 30 inches.

“Changing from seven (the current over-20 reg) to five makes a significant change in our modeling,” Tibbs said. He added the regulation would be a vast improvement over slot limits that are currently used on lakes Lewisville, Richland Chambers and Waco.

Tawakoni could be one of the lakes under this regulation, but not immediately. Tawakoni is part of a research project and would temporarily remain under its current regulations.

On lakes where overharvest is an issue the proposed limit is 15 per day with a 14-inch minimum length limit.

Of course there would also be exceptions for Caddo Lake, Texoma and Toledo Bend, boundary water lakes where regulations are shared with other states.

Tibbs concluded that the regulations TPWD are proposing are more effective in every case than what they are replacing. In most cases the regulations would not change anything because catfish are typically underexploited on Texas lakes. With the vast majority of the lakes under a statewide regulation of no minimum length limit, it would simplify things for fishermen.

The department has run its proposals by a number of catfish fishermen, guides and tournament participants during three webinars to mostly positive reviews. There have been some concerns from tournament fishermen about the one-over-30 regulation on trophy lakes and some other issues. There were also concerns about rod-and-reel fishing versus trotlines and juglines, but those were more social issues than regulatory.
Tibbs said the department still wants to hear from more interested fishermen and that at this point the proposals are not written in stone.

“I also wanted to emphasize that these options may change based on angler input before we present them to the commission in January. After that, there will be a lot more opportunity for angler input as well,” Tibbs said.

Every August, the Commission conducts an annual public hearing to receive input from partners, stakeholders and constituents concerning any issues relating to Department policies, goals, programs, and responsibilities. Anyone who is interested in speaking to the Commission is encouraged to attend.

The next scheduled Commission Meeting is August 26-27, 2020

 




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Lake Sam Rayburn Weather Forecast

Wednesday

Sunny

Hi: 81

Wednesday Night

Clear

Lo: 55

Thursday

Sunny

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Thursday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 59

Friday

Mostly Sunny

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Lake Sam Rayburn

Fishing Report from TPWD (Oct. 20)

GOOD. Water stained; 74 degrees; 2.51 feet low. Fishing is still looking the same as we head into the weekend. Largemouth bass continue to feed-up on shad in shallow water. The topwater action is good using topwater frogs and spinnerbaits. Schooling bass are good on crankbaits off the flats in 6-15 feet of water and Carolina jigs in 18-25 feet of water off of points. Crappie continue to migrate to deeper water 20-25 feet and North into the river and creeks. Topwater frog bite is better in the early mornings with a crankbait bite off flats.

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