General Statewide Freshwater Fishing Regulations

 
 
General Statewide Freshwater Fishing Regulations
FLORIDA F R E S H W A T E R                                                      2018–2019


 FISHING REGULATIONS
                                                            General Statewide
                                                           Freshwater Fishing
                                                                 Regulations
                                                                                      pages 12–14




                                                                                          See page 4


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Please visit MyFWC.com/Fishing/Freshwater for the most current regulations     C ce en se al yo
                                                                             FW li r
General Statewide Freshwater Fishing Regulations
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General Statewide Freshwater Fishing Regulations
F ISHIN G R EG UL AT I O NS                                                                                         MyFWC.com
                                                                                                                         Visit MyFWC.com/Fishing for up-to-date
                                                                                                                         information on fishing, boating and how to




CONTENTS
                                                                                                                         help ensure safe, sustainable fisheries for
                                                                                                                         the future.


                                                                                                                         FLRules.org
                                                                                                                         For the latest rules, always visit
                                                                                                                         FLRules.org. FWC rules are in chapter 68.


                                                                                                                         Fish and Wildlife Alert
                                                                                                                         Reward Program
                                                                                                                         Report fishing, boating or hunting law
                                                                                                                         violations by calling toll-free
                                                                                                                         1-888-404-FWCC (3922);
                                                                                                                         on cell phones, dial *FWC or #FWC
                                                                                                                         depending on service carrier; report viola-
                                                                                                                         tions online at MyFWC.com/Law or text:
                                                                                                                         Tip@MyFWC.com.


                                                                                                                         Stop the Spread of
                                                                                                                         Nonnative Species
                                                                                 Photo courtesy of TakeMeFishing.org     It is illegal to introduce any nonnative fish
                                                                                                                         or any other nonnative organism into the
                                                                                                                         waters of the state. To find out more visit
                                                                                                                         MyFWC.com/WildlifeHabitats.
Commissioners’ Message......................... 2             Use of Fish for Bait................................. 13

TrophyCatch.............................................. 4   Taking Mussels & Clams......................... 13
                                                                                                                         The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commis-
Introduction & FWC Offices...................... 6            Special Regulations for                                    sion does not allow discrimination on the basis of race,
                                                              Triploid Grass Carp, Alligator Gar,                        color, sex, religion, national origin, age or disability. If
Fishing License Requirements & Fees....... 8                  Atlantic, Gulf and Shortnose Sturgeon.... 13               you believe you have been discriminated against in any
                                                                                                                         program, activity or facility of this agency which receives
Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration (SFR).....9             Statewide Bag & Length Limits............... 14            Federal financial assistance, you should contact/write to:

                                                                                                                         Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,
Freshwater Fishing Tips                                       Special Bag & Length Limits................... 14          Office of Human Resources, 620 South Meridian Street,
from the Pros.....................................10–11                                                                  Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600; Telephone 850-488-6411
                                                              Fish Identification Chart.................... 16–17
Freshwater License Exemptions.............. 12                                                                           or contact/write to: Civil Rights Accessibility Coordinator
                                                                                                                         for Public Access, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife
                                                              Freshwater Fisheries
Methods of Taking Freshwater Fish......... 12                                                                            and Sport Fish Restoration Program, 5275 Leesburg
                                                              Conservation Highlights.......................... 18       Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041; Telephone 703-358-2349
Game & Nongame Freshwater Fish.......... 12                                                                              or 703-358-2131.
                                                              Fish Management Area Regulations........ 21
Prohibited Gear for Taking                                    Summer Fishing Camps for Youth............ 24
Marine Fish in Fresh Water..................... 12
                                                              Frequently Answered Questions.............. 27
Methods of Taking Bait........................... 13
                                                              Fish Consumption Advisory..................... 28
Restricted Species................................. 13




       Buy your license online!

       When you buy your                                       You can obtain a license 24 hours a day
                                                               at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com and begin
       license online, it’s fast,                              fishing immediately!
       convenient and saves                                    Licenses are also available toll-free at
       time and travel.                                        1-888-FISHFLORIDA (1-888-347-4356).                       On the cover
       Download the FWC Fish-Hunt-FL                           Processing fees apply to telephone and
                                                               Internet sales.                                           Photo courtesy of TakeMeFishing.org
       app for your iPhone or Android for
       instant access.
General Statewide Freshwater Fishing Regulations
COMMISSIONERS’ MESSAGE




                                                                                                           Williamstown, MA | Birmingham, AL




New strategies and strong partnerships                                                                About This Guide
keys to future of fishing
Florida is world famous for our wonderful climate and diverse natural resources, which offer          This high-quality guide is offered to you by
residents and visitors abundant opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities, such as fishing,           the Florida Fish and WIldlife Conservation
boating, hunting and shooting sports. Management of our valuable fisheries and wildlife               Commission's Division of Freshwater
depends on public participation in these activities as they help support the Wildlife and             Fisheries Management through its unique
Sport Fish Restoration program. Many state fish and wildlife conservation programs are                partnership with J.F. Griffin Publishing, LLC.
supported through the purchase of fishing and hunting licenses, as well as a federal excise
tax on sport fishing equipment, pleasure boats, taxes on motorboat fuels, firearms, ammuni-           The revenue generated through ad sales
tion and archery equipment.                                                                           significantly lowers production costs and
   Florida is part of a national effort to recruit new anglers, retain current participants, and      generates savings. These savings translate
reactivate those who have dropped out of the sport. By working with communities and the               into additional funds for other important
fishing industry, Florida will enhance programs to recruit, retain and reactivate anglers (“R3”) —    agency programs.
increasing support for fish and wildlife programs. The FWC has developed a R3 Fisheries
Action Plan to guide the agency’s outreach, education and marketing efforts, as well as evalu-        If you have any feedback or are inter-
ate its current programs and initiatives.                                                             ested in advertising, please contact us at
   You can contribute to Florida’s R3 efforts by becoming an ambassador for fishing. Invite a         413.884.1001 or at www.JFGriffin.com
friend, neighbor, co-worker, or family member who does not fish to accompany you on your
next fishing trip! Share with family and friends how revenue from fishing licenses and equip-                     Graphic Design:
ment purchases help fund wildlife and habitat management.                                                 Jon Gulley, Dane Fay, John Corey,
   Another way you can plug into Florida’s R3 efforts is by volunteering for the FWC’s Kids               Evelyn Haddad, Chris Sobolowski
Fishing Derbies or High School Fishing Program. (To volunteer, visit MyFWC.com and click
on “Get Involved.”) Share your knowledge and skill with the next generation! We hope you’ll                 J.F. Griffin Publishing, LLC is proud to print the
                                                                                                            official Florida Freshwater Fishing Regulations
join us and our partners to help secure the future for fishing and conservation.                            summary on post-consumer recycled paper.




                                                                                                           Place Cover, etc.




     Freshwater Rule Changes
     • Mosaic Fish Management Area, Polk and Hardee counties: Change to Haul                                This guide is also
        Road Pit.                                                                                            available online at
     • Tenoroc Fish Management Area, Polk County: Changes to general regulations,
        Lakes B and 5, and Picnic Lake. Added Lake 10, Lake Coronet, and Long Lake.
       Check specific Fish Management Area rules on pages 21–26 for additional details.


2   2018–2019                                                                               Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
General Statewide Freshwater Fishing Regulations
General Statewide Freshwater Fishing Regulations
ANGLER RECOGNITION PROGRAMS

TrophyCatch                                         This angler-provided data has assisted with the        Stay in the Know
Catching a trophy bass in Florida is a thrill not   FWC’s recent freshwater black bass regulation          Want to know which lakes are hot or who holds
easily forgotten. The great thing about fishing     change and will continue to play a key role            the top spot for the biggest bag weight so far
is that whether you’re an avid fisherman or         in management decisions for Florida’s fresh            this season? Visit TrophyCatch.com to sign up
just a novice angler, you have an equal chance      waterbodies. TrophyCatch citizen-scientist             for program email updates and be sure to “Like”
at reeling in the catch of a lifetime! When         data also influences FWC research projects             us on Facebook.com/TrophyCatchFlorida and
you do, be sure that you catch, document,           such as genetic studies on trophy bass, lake and       follow us at YouTube.com/TrophyCatchFlorida
and release your largemouth bass and share          river studies to determine the ecological health       for the latest catches and information.
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incentives from program partners like Bass          waterbodies where the most trophy-sized bass           possible without you and TrophyCatch part-
Pro Shops! The TrophyCatch program rewards          are caught, and a research partnership with the        ners! So, please keep the following partners in
its citizen-scientist anglers for documenting       University of Florida to determine the proper          mind when you need to refill your tackle box
and releasing their                                 way to hold a trophy-sized bass for minimal            or outfit your boat or vehicle: Bass Pro Shops,
Florida largemouth                                  stress and improved recovery times, among              Mercury Marine, Phoenix Boats, Enigma Fish-
bass weighing eight                                 other studies. Details can be found at bit.ly/         ing, Rapala, SpiderWire, and others. Many
pounds or heavier. All                              TrophyResearch. TrophyCatch data enhances              thanks to you and to our TrophyCatch partners
that you need to par-                               the FWC’s understanding of bass population             for the support and investment in the conser-
ticipate is your fish-                              dynamics, helps inform public policy and the           vation of Florida’s trophy bass.
ing gear, scale and a                               development of environmental regulations,
camera to capture the                               as well as fosters the public will to protect,
required weight photo                               enhance, and restore Florida’s freshwaters—so
or video of the entire                              keep submitting those catches!
fish (head to tail) on a
scale with the weight
clearly legible.

TrophyCatch Research                                                                                       Big Catch and
TrophyCatch anglers are citizen-scientists that
provide unprecedented and extremely valu-                                                                  State Records
able data about trophy-sized bass to the FWC.                                                              Let the Big Catch angler recognition program
                                                                                                           help you celebrate memorable-sized catches
                                                                                                           of 33 freshwater species! Turn to pages 16–17
                                                                                                           to view the Big Catch species and their quali-
                                                                                                           fying sizes, as well as state record catches. If
                                                                                                           you catch a possible state record, obtain an
                                                                                                           application at bit.ly/FL-RecordFish and call
                                                                                                           your nearest regional office (see page 6).
                                                     TrophyCatch Season 5 Champion Dominic
                                                     Montalto with a replica mount of his 16 lbs. 12 oz.
                                                     bass caught in an Estero, Florida pond.




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4   2018–2019                                                                                    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
General Statewide Freshwater Fishing Regulations
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General Statewide Freshwater Fishing Regulations
INTRODUCTION

This free booklet is your guide to Florida’s      and living in a healthy environment to be             taxes from the sale of outdoor recreation sup-
freshwater fishing laws and regulations. The      extremely important to Floridians and visi-           plies enhancing and promoting the resource.
Florida Wildlife Code is the final authority on   tors and are also striving to make Florida the           Fifteen percent of Florida's SFR funds went
fishing laws (www.FLrules.org). The publisher     undisputed “Bass Fishing Capital of the World.”       to boating access — building and repairing
strives to ensure this information is accurate       The FWC uses the best scientific manage-           ramps and courtesy docks. The remainder went
but assumes no liability for errors that may      ment possible to help fulfill its mission of “Man-    to fresh and saltwater fisheries conservation
occur. In addition, rules can change between      aging fish and wildlife resources for their long-     projects such as habitat restoration, fish stock-
publications. Contact the Florida Fish and        term well-being and the benefit of people.” To        ing, artificial reefs construction and youth fish-
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) if         fund those efforts, the Legislature sets fishing      ing clinics.
you have questions not adequately covered in      license fees and exemptions, as well as penal-           The FWC encourages all anglers to buy a
this booklet. This publication is valid from      ties for violating fish and wildlife conservation     license (GoOutdoorsFlorida.com). Even if you
July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019.                   laws. State law guarantees money from the             are legally exempt, you can contribute to the
   Florida remains the “Fishing Capital of the    sale of fishing licenses goes to the FWC and          future of our fisheries resources by buying a
World,” due to great resources and responsible    cannot be diverted.                                   license and helping the FWC keep your fed-
management. We consider the quality of life          In 1950, Congressmen Dingell and Johnson,          eral tax dollars in Florida to support sportfish
that is associated with recreational activities   at the request of anglers and the fishing indus-      restoration.
                                                  try, created the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Resto-        Recreational fishing is an enjoyable, whole-
                                                     ration (SFR) program, wherein fishing tackle       some experience that reflects a happy and
                                                        was assessed an excise fee and the monies       healthy lifestyle. Moreover, it is the No. 1 gate-
                                                          returned to the states for fish restoration   way activity to get youth connected to nature
                                                           projects. The “Wallop-Breaux” amend-         in active outdoor recreation, which can reduce
                                                           ment in 1984 added import duties on          obesity, improve grades and, most of all, add
                                                            sport fishing equipment, pleasure           enjoyment to their lives.
                                                            boats and yachts as well as taxes on           The FWC is working hard to ensure safe and
                                                            motorboat fuels. The result is one of       sustainable recreational fishing for all of our
                                                           the most successful “user-pays, public-      citizens and guests and depends on your license
                                                          benefits” programs in the world, with         fees to make sure there are fish for tomorrow.



     Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

     Managing fish and wildlife resources for their
     long-term well-being and the benefit of people.

     620 South Meridian Street                                                        NORTHWEST
     Farris Bryant Building
     Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600
     850-488-4676                                                           
     800-955-8771 TDD                                                                                            

     Commissioners                            FWC regional offices
                                                                                                              Gil-
                                                                                                             christ


     Bo Rivard                                Northwest Region                          NORTH CENTRAL
     Chairman, Panama City                    3911 Highway 2321                                                         
     Robert A. Spottswood                     Panama City, FL 32409                                                                        NORTHEAST

     Vice Chairman, Key West                  850-265-3676

     Joshua Kellam                            North Central Region
     Palm Beach Gardens                       3377 East U.S. Highway 90
                                              Lake City, FL 32055                                                        
     Gary Lester                              386-758-0525
     Oxford
                                              Northeast Region
     Gary Nicklaus                            1239 Southwest 10th Street
     Jupiter                                  Ocala, FL 34471                                           SOUTHWEST

     Sonya Rood                               352-732-1225
                                                                                                                                                 
     St. Augustine                            Southwest Region
     Michael W. Sole                          3900 Drane Field Road
     Tequesta                                 Lakeland, FL 33811
                                              863-648-3200
     Staff                                                                                                                   SOUTH
                                              South Region
     Eric Sutton                              8535 Northlake Blvd.
     Executive Director                       West Palm Beach, FL 33412
     Dr. Thomas H. Eason                      561-625-5122
     Assistant Executive Director


6   2018–2019                                                                                Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
General Statewide Freshwater Fishing Regulations
General Statewide Freshwater Fishing Regulations
LICENSES

     Fishing license requirements and fees
     License, permit, and issuance fees and exemptions are established by the Legislature. In addition to the cost of licenses and permits specified in
     this section, license agents charge issuance fees for selling licenses and permits. For up-to-date license information, visit MyFWC.com/License.
     Anglers may use credit cards to purchase licenses and permits 24 hours a day at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or by calling toll-free 888-FISH-
     FLORIDA (347-4356). This enables anglers to obtain and use licenses immediately. Handling fees will apply on all Internet and telephone sales.
     License sales are nonrefundable.
       Licensing requirements follow the species of fish you are fishing for, regardless of where you are fishing. Please see the “Frequently answered questions”
     on page 27 for more information. For fishing license exemptions, please see page 12, but remember anyone can buy a license to contribute to conservation.

      Resident Freshwater Fishing Licenses
      For purposes of fishing in Florida, a “resident” is defined as any person who has declared Florida as his or her only state of residence as evidenced by a valid Florida driver
      license or identification card with both a Florida address and a Florida residency verified by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV). If the person
      does not have a Florida driver license or identification card on record with HSMV, a Florida voter information card, declaration of domicile, or homestead exemption may be
      used as proof of Florida residency. Active military personnel stationed in Florida, including their spouses and dependent children residing in the household, are considered
      residents when purchasing fishing licenses.
      Freshwater Fishing (valid 12 months from specified start date)                                                                                                          $17.00
      Youth Freshwater Fishing (optional for children under the age of 16 and valid until 17th birthday—a fishing license is not required until age 16)                       $17.00

BEST 5-Year Freshwater Fishing                                                                                                                                                $79.00
BUY (valid 5 years from specified start date)
      Freshwater/Saltwater Fishing Combo (valid 12 months from specified start date)                                                                                          $32.50
      Freshwater Fishing/Hunting Combo (valid 12 months from specified start date)                                                                                            $32.50
      Freshwater/Saltwater Fishing/Hunting Combo (valid 12 months from specified start date)                                                                                  $48.00
      Resident 64+ Silver Sportsman's License includes Freshwater Fishing and Hunting licenses; and Wildlife Management Area, Archery,
      Muzzleloading Gun, Crossbow, Deer, Turkey and Florida Waterfowl permits                                                                                                 $13.50
      (valid 12 months from specified start date)
      Resident 64+ Silver Sportsman's License includes Freshwater Fishing and Hunting licenses; and Wildlife Management Area, Archery,
      Muzzleloading Gun, Crossbow, Deer, Turkey and Florida Waterfowl permits                                                                                                 $67.50
      (valid five years from specified start date)
      Sportsman's License includes Freshwater Fishing and Hunting licenses; and Wildlife Management Area, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, Crossbow,
      Deer, Turkey and Florida Waterfowl permits                                                                                                                              $80.50
      (valid 12 months from specified start date)
      Gold Sportsman's License includes Hunting, Saltwater Fishing and Freshwater Fishing licenses; and Wildlife Management Area, Archery,
      Muzzleloading Gun, Crossbow, Deer, Turkey, Florida Waterfowl, Snook and Lobster permits                                                                                $100.00
      (valid 12 months from specified start date)
      Youth Gold Sportsman’s License
      (optional for children under the age of 16 and valid until 17th birthday—a fishing license is not required until age 16—hunter safety certificate required—            $100.00
      includes same licenses and permits as Gold Sportsman’s License)
      Military Gold Sportsman's License includes same licenses and permits as Gold Sportsman’s License
      Available at county tax collectors’ offices with current military identification card for Florida residents who are active duty or fully retired members of the U.S.    $20.00
      Armed Forces, Armed Forces Reserve, Florida National Guard, Coast Guard or Coast Guard Reserve. Fully retired veterans may renew online.
      (valid 12 months from specified start date)
      5-Year Gold Sportsman’s License
      (includes Freshwater Fishing, Hunting and Saltwater Fishing licenses; and Wildlife Management Area, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, Crossbow, Deer, Turkey,                $494.00
      Florida Waterfowl, Snook and Lobster permits)


      Nonresident Freshwater Fishing Licenses
      Freshwater Fishing (valid 12 months from specified start date)                                                                                                          $47.00
      3-Day Freshwater Fishing (valid 3 consecutive days from specified start date)                                                                                           $17.00
      7-Day Freshwater Fishing (valid 7 consecutive days from specified start date)                                                                                           $30.00


      Lifetime Licenses (For Florida Residents Only)
      Lifetime licenses are available to Florida residents only. Funds generated from sales of these licenses are invested, creating an endowment to support long-term conservation
      of Florida’s fish and wildlife resources. Costs of lifetime licenses are less than what would be spent on annual licenses, permits and fees, and are valid in Florida even if you
      move out of state.
      LIFETIME SPORTSMAN'S LICENSE
      (includes Hunting, Freshwater Fishing and Saltwater Fishing licenses; Deer, Wildlife Management Area,
      Archery, Turkey, Muzzleloading Gun, Crossbow, Florida Waterfowl, Snook and Lobster permits)
      4 years or younger                                                                                                                                                     $401.50
      5-12 years                                                                                                                                                             $701.50
      13 years and older                                                                                                                                                     $1,001.50
      LIFETIME FRESHWATER FISHING LICENSE
      4 years or younger                                                                                                                                                     $126.50
      5-12 years                                                                                                                                                             $226.50
      13 years or older                                                                                                                                                      $301.50


     8     2018–2019                                                                                                   Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration — A legacy of success
             How often do you see                                       has been the best thing for anglers since      to saltwater fisheries. In freshwater,
                                                                        fishing reels were invented.                   the FWC uses this money to improve
             people or businesses                                                                                      fisheries habitat, stock fish, conduct
                                                                        Today, SFR uses a small excise tax on
             wanting to be taxed                                        fishing reels and other fishing tackle, as
                                                                                                                       research and manage fish populations.
             and happy about it?                                        well as a motor boat fuel tax, to fund
                                                                                                                       We also conduct aquatic education
                                                                                                                       programs and provide valuable fishing
             In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt                   sport fish restoration and boating access
                                                                                                                       and conservation tips to anglers.
             signed the Federal Aid in Wildlife                         programs. It is working. There are now
             Restoration Act. This Act has been key                     at least 77 percent more anglers than
             to implementing the North American                         in 1950. Purchases of tax-related items
             Model of Wildlife Conservation (see                        by anglers have increased by nearly
             MyFWC.com). Between 1941 and 1950,                         200 percent in dollars (adjusted for the
             sport-fishing businesses paid a federal                    consumer-price index) since 1955.
             excise tax that was deposited in the                       Anglers and fishing businesses want to
             general treasury of the United States but                  know the benefits they receive in return.
             did not directly benefit manufacturers                     To help answer this, Andrew Loftus
             or anglers. In 1950, sportsmen and                         Consulting and Southwick Associates
             businesses teamed with conservation-                       analyzed data on excise taxes invested,
             minded policy makers to redirect these                     fishing participation, and angler
             existing federal excise taxes to the                       purchases of excise-tax related products
             Restoration Program (aka: SFR, Dingell-                    for a 2011 report to the Association of
             Johnson or Wallop-Breaux).                                 Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The report
             The concept was to restore sportfish                       found that excise-tax related return-on-
             populations and improve public access,                     investment ranged from 1,585 percent
             so more people can enjoy fishing and so                    in 1970 to 2,643 percent in 1980.
             fishing sales would increase. SFR came                     In Florida alone, SFR provided
             about as a result of anglers wanting to                    $11 million in 2014, of which 15 percent
             see more money directed toward restoring                   ($1.8 million) went to boating access.
             the nation’s recreational fisheries, and                   Freshwater fisheries conservation               Your purchase of fishing equipment and motor
             ensuring better fishing opportunities for                  received $4.5 million (down from                boat fuels supports Sport Fish Restoration and
             themselves and future generations. It                      $5 million in recent years). The rest went      boating access facilities.




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BTI AD_JFPublishing_SixthPg_BB_FLFreshwaterIssue_April2018.indd
                                                 4/20/2018 10:47:42
                                                                 1 AM
F R E SH WAT E R F ISHIN G T IP S F R O M T H E PR O S




Fishing Basics and
Fishing Cover for Bass
Kenzie Harrelson, Osceola Anglers High School Fishing Club
                                                    Fishing freshwater lakes in Florida is so excit-    but don’t let that discourage you. Be open to
                                                    ing whether you are catching TrophyCatch fish       anything and everything. Different types of
                                                    or just hanging out with friends and family!        fishing work best different times of year and
                                                    When I first started fishing, I quickly learned     being aware of the ever-changing eating habits
                                                    that structure and vegetation are key points        of Florida largemouths will help you target fish
                                                    when targeting fish. From lily pads, Kissim-        year-round. When fishing, keep in mind that
                                                    mee grass and pencil reeds to thick mud mats,       even the spots that are not exactly perfect may
                                                    hydrilla, brush piles and eel-grass there are       be some of the best spots to fish. Try working
                                                    endless places for fish to be caught. When          the lure in different ways and be confident with
                                                    starting out fishing, don’t let others intimidate   the types of bait you are throwing. You never
                                                    you. Even the pros started out as beginners         know what may get that giant TrophyCatch to
                                                    and not every day of fishing will be your best,     smash your bait!




                                                         High School Fishing
                                                         The FWC, along with partners Fishing League Worldwide Foundation and The Bass
                                                         Federation’s Student Angler Federation, support the creation and success of high
                                                         school fishing clubs in Florida. For more information about this exciting program
                                                         visit www.HighSchoolFishing.org.




Spring Fishing
Cole Thompson, Osceola Anglers High School Fishing Club
When the winter cold fronts start to fade and          Another effective technique can be throw-
Florida begins to heat up, it really is one of      ing a vibrating jig. I prefer a ⅜ ounce black-
the best times to be fishing in Florida. This       and-blue chatterbait, rigged with a 3 ½-inch
means that fish will begin feeding more and         swimbait for the trailer. This noisy little bait
get a lot more active. There are many ways to       can help you cover a lot of water and attract
catch Florida bass during this time. The tech-      a lot of attention from roaming fish ready to
niques I like best involve moving baits and         feed. The rod I prefer to handle each of these
covering a lot of water to find those active fish   techniques is the 7'3" medium-heavy Enigma
looking for a quick meal. A bait of choice is a     High Performance Titanium Series matched
weightless swimbait in a color that resembles       with a 7:1 gear ratio reel. The next time you’re
a bluegill or shiner. A fast retrieve, usually on   on a Florida lake try this out. Good luck and
top of the water, can be very effective when        tight lines!
fishing a big area of sparse vegetation such as
lily pads, hydrilla, and Kissimmee grass.




10    2018–2019                                                                               Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Tips from the Pros
Topwater Tips
Bernie Schultz, Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster
Classic, and FLW Championship pro angler
So much in fishing depends on knowing when            balsa topwaters come through grass that’s just
and how much to move your lure. This is espe-         beginning to top out on the surface.
cially true when it comes to topwaters. Bass will         Tandem-prop models like an X-Rap Prop are
oftentimes study a surface lure before ever decid-    a different story. I work them much slower. I'll
ing to strike it, especially in the Sunshine State.   cast to or slightly past the target area, then let the
Florida-strain largemouth are notoriously slow        lure sit for a few seconds. Once the splash rings
to react, especially under extreme heat or cold.      dissipate, I'll give the lure two short pulls—just
    So how do you know when or how much to            enough to get the props turning and no more
move a topwater lure? The answer, of course,          than 6 or 8 inches per pull—then I let it sit again.
starts with the type of topwater—whether it’s         At that point, I feel I've alerted any fish in the
a popper, chugger, prop bait, etc. Some are           area to the lure’s presence. Then it’s a matter of
designed more for perpetual movement, while           patience, allowing the fish a chance to approach
others work better using a stop-and-go type of        the lure and waiting for a reaction.
retrieve. If I’m throwing a popper (like a Rapala         The first fish or two will tell you a lot. Did they
SkitterPop or Storm Cover Pop) at schooling bass,     crash the bait? Did they approach and refuse it?
I’ll work the lure aggressively—making it spit        It’s the pause and subsequent movement of the
and slide across the surface. That usually gets a     lure that will dictate the outcome. So experiment.
good response. If I’m trying to draw bass from        If the fish are slow to react, try a slower presen-
grass, lily pads, cypress trees or some other type    tation with longer pauses between pulls. There
of dense cover, I’ll chug the lure more and give      will be exceptions, but this is a good starting
it longer pauses.                                     point. And remember, sometimes just letting it
    Prop baits are similar. Some work well when       lie still is the best approach.
fished quickly and aggressively—usually the tail-         Again, patience and confidence are key. Apply
spinner variety, like the Rapala SkitterProp. For     them with the right surface lure and you could
a treble-hook lure, it’s amazing how well these       easily fool the biggest fish in the lake.



Fish Vegetation for Big Florida Bass
John Cox, 2016 FLW Forrest Wood Cup Winner
                                                      Growing up in Debary, Florida, the St. Johns              second go by before you set the hook, that can
                                                      River and Lake Monroe were, and still are,                increase your hook set chances.
                                                      my favorite places to catch big bass. Due to                 The second way I like to fish vegetation in
                                                      Florida’s warm weather, the lakes and rivers              Florida is to pitch a creature bait with some
                                                      can sustain vegetation like cattails, hydrilla,           weight ranging from ½ to 2 ounces depending
                                                      and lily pads virtually year-round, where big             on if I am flipping or punching. For this I prefer
                                                      bass love to hide and ambush bait. Although               to use a 7'9" rod that has a mod/fast action
                                                      there are many ways to fish this vegetation,              with extra heavy power. Use a typical flipping
                                                      there are two ways that often lead to landing             technique, but you want to make sure you have
                                                      a true bucket mouth.                                      a soft lure placement (no water ripples) and
                                                         The first way is to work a frog on top of the          you want to take your time and really hit every
                                                      pads and grass. I prefer a powerful rod for this,         pad, stump, and lane you see. Once you catch a
                                                      like a 7'4" mod/fast action, heavy power rod.             fish or two, remember the type of pad or grass
                                                      For pads I start working the frog over the cover,         they were holding on, and use that knowledge
                                                      pausing it when you get to pad openings and               to prioritize the rest of your casting decisions.
                                                      lanes. For grass I may burn it in a little faster,        Once you feel the double tap, use that extra-
                                                      but still pause it when I see a good ambush               heavy power to set the hook and hold on! There
                                                      point. The explosion of the top water strike              is nothing like catching a big Florida bass!
                                                      is so addicting! Just be sure to let that half a


                                                                             Note: Neither the FWC nor the State of Florida endorse any individual company or product.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission                                                                                            2018–2019            11
ME T H O D S O F TA K IN G F ISH

Game and nongame                                     and minnow traps not more than 24 inches in          ■■ By the use of cast nets in the South and
freshwater fish                                      length and 12 inches in diameter, with a fun-
                                                     nel entrance not more than 1 inch in spread.
                                                                                                             Northeast regions, in Citrus County, and in
                                                                                                             the Southwest Region, except that posses-
Game Fish: black bass, crappie, bluegill, redear        *NOTE: Statutory provisions (790.052(3),             sion or use of cast nets in waters adjoining
sunfish, warmouth, redbreast sunfish, spotted        F.S.) made it lawful for persons to own, possess,       Saddle Creek Fish Management Area, Polk
sunfish, flier, mud sunfish, longear sunfish,        and lawfully use firearms and other weapons,            County, confined by Morgan Combee Road,
shadow bass, peacock bass, white bass, striped       ammunition, and supplies for lawful purposes            U.S. Highway 92 and Fish Hatchery Road
bass and sunshine bass.                              including fishing, camping, or lawful hunt-             are prohibited.
                                                     ing or going to or returning from a fishing,         ■■ Using a bow and light at night. Night bow-
Nongame Fish: all freshwater fish are defined as     camping, or lawful hunting expedition. Conse-           fishing tournaments do not require a permit
nongame fish, except grass carp and fish defined     quently, although firearms may not be used to           in the Northwest Region.
as freshwater game fish. Note: Alligator gar         take fish, they can be in possession of someone      ■■ By netting and impounding at night from
require a scientific collector’s permit to take.     with legally taken fish.                                Sept. 1 to May 1 in specified waters of North-
                                                                                                             west Florida. Nets used to take nongame fish
Methods of taking freshwater fish                    Nongame fish may be taken:                              (typically suckers) in these specified waters
Game fish may only be taken with pole-and-           ■■ With pole-and-line, or rod-and-reel, and by          must be less than 100 feet in length, have a
line or rod-and-reel. There is no limit on the          bush hook, setline or trotline baited with cut       minimum 3-inch stretched mesh and shall
number of rods an angler may use.                       bait or other substance; but not including live      be continuously attended to ensure immedi-
   Freshwater fish may not be taken by use of           game fish or any part of any game fish; bush         ate release of any trapped game fish. Contact
any free-floating, unattached device, or by tak-        hooks, setlines or trotlines (limited to 25          the Northwest Regional office for details
ing of fish or wildlife with firearms, explosives,      hooks total) are permitted for taking nongame        (page 6).
electricity, spear gun, poison or other chemi-          fish for personal use, but only in those areas    ■■ For personal use by any person possessing
cals. The taking of fish by underwater swim-            where trotlines may be lawfully used in accor-       a valid freshwater fishing license by the use
ming or diving is prohibited. It is unlawful to         dance with the Wildlife Code of the State of         of not more than one slat basket or one wire
sell, offer for sale or transport out of the state      Florida. Refer to the “Commercial Freshwater         trap, made as specified in Rule 68A-23.003,
any freshwater game fish unless specifically            Fisheries Rules and Regulations Summary.”            FAC, and used only in those waters where
permitted by the FWC, except that licensed              Bush hooks, setlines and trotlines must be           use of wire traps or slat baskets is permitted
anglers may transport two days’ bag limit of            clearly and legibly marked with the harvester’s      for commercial purposes. Refer to the “Com-
legally harvested game fish.                            name and address while being used or pos-            mercial Freshwater Fisheries Rules and
   It is illegal to possess any freshwater fish         sessed in or upon the waters of the state.           Regulation Summary.” Passive fishing gear
along with gear that cannot legally be used          ■■ At night by bow and arrow, and gigs.                 such as slat baskets or wire baskets must be
to take freshwater fish, including gear types        ■■ During daylight hours by manually operated           clearly and legibly marked with the har-
listed above and below for taking nongame               spears, gigs, snatch hooks, crossbow or bow          vester’s name and address while being used
fish or bait. An exception is game fish may             and arrow from a boat or from shore except           or possessed in or upon waters of the state.
be possessed together with cast nets having             at the spillways of the Eureka and Rodman
a stretched mesh size not greater than 1 inch;          dams on the Oklawaha River or on the spill-       Prohibited gear for taking
minnow dip nets not more than 4 feet in diam-           way of the Jim Woodruff Dam on the Apala-         marine species in freshwater
eter; minnow seines having a stretched mesh             chicola River or in Miami-Dade County             ■■ Spearfishing: Use of any hand or mechani-
size not greater than 1 inch, a length not more         canals south of the C-4 and east of the L-31N        cally propelled, single or multi-pronged
than 20 feet and a depth not more than 4 feet;          and L-31W canals inclusively.                        spear or lance, barbed or barbless, to harvest



      License Exemptions: You do not need a freshwater fishing license if...
      • You are a child under 16 years of age.         • You freshwater fish in your county               • You possess a Resident Freshwater
                                                         of residence on your homestead or                  Commercial Fishing License.
      • You are a Florida resident 65 years of
                                                         the homestead of your spouse or
        age or older and you possess proof of                                                             • You are freshwater fishing on
                                                         minor child, or if you are a minor child
        age and residency, such as a Florida                                                                License-Free Freshwater Fishing Days:
                                                         hunting or freshwater fishing on the
        driver’s license or ID, or an optional                                                              first weekend in April (April 6-7, 2019)
                                                         homestead of your parent.
        no-cost Resident 65+ Hunting and                                                                    and the second weekend in June
        Fishing Certificate.                           •         You are a Florida resident                 (June 8-9, 2019).
                                                                  certified as totally and
      • You are a resident who is fishing with
                                                           permanently disabled and you possess           A fish pond is a man-made pond
        live or natural bait, using poles or lines
                                                           a Florida Resident Disabled Person             constructed for the primary purpose
        that are not equipped with a fishing-
                                                           Hunting and Fishing Certificate.               of fishing, entirely within the property
        line-retrieval mechanism, and you are
                                                                                                          lines of the owner and with no surface
        fishing for noncommercial purposes in          • You are a resident who is a member of
                                                                                                          water connection to public waters.
        your home county. However, you must              the Armed Forces of the United States,
        have a valid fishing license to fish by          you are not stationed in this state, and         • You are fishing in a fish pond of 20
        any method in a fish management                  you are home on leave for 30 days or               acres or less that is located entirely
        area. This is often referred to as the           less, upon submission of orders.                   within the private property of its owner.
        cane-pole exemption.
                                                       • You have been accepted as a client               • You are fishing in a fish pond of 20
      • You are fishing in the St. Mary’s River          for developmental disabilities services            acres or more, whose owner has
        or Lake Seminole (but not including              by the Agency for Persons with                     purchased a fish pond license at a fee
        tributary creeks in Florida) and have a          Disabilities. The agency must furnish              of $3 per surface acre.
        valid Georgia fishing license.                   proof to such clients.


12    2018–2019                                                                                 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
or attempt to harvest any marine species              ■■ Minnow dip nets not more than 4 feet in           Use of fish for bait
   while diving in freshwater is prohibited.                diameter.                                         ■■ Black bass, peacock bass or any part thereof
■■ Spearfishing for mullet in fresh water is             ■■ Minnow seines having a stretched mesh size           may not be used as bait.
   prohibited; however, gigging from above                  not greater than 1 inch, a length not more than   ■■ No live nonnative fish, except variable platys
   water is permitted.                                      20 feet, and a depth not more than 4 feet.           and fathead minnows, may be transported
                                                         ■■ Minnow traps not more than 24 inches in              to or between waters for use as bait. Live
Methods of taking bait                                      length and 12 inches in diameter, with a funnel      goldfish and carp may not be used as bait.
Freshwater shrimp and golden shiners of any                 entrance not more than 1 inch in spread.          ■■ Whole pickerel or panfish (e.g., bluegill,
size, or other freshwater nongame fish, includ-          ■■ Any game fish taken by these methods must            redear sunfish, redbreast sunfish, spotted
ing catfish, less than 8-inches total length may            be released immediately.                             sunfish, flier, warmouth) or parts thereof may
be taken for bait by the following methods,              ■■ Taking of bait for the purpose of sale requires      be used as bait for sportfishing by the angler
unless specifically prohibited:                             a commercial fishing license.                        who caught them. Whole pickerel or bream
■■ Cast nets having a stretched mesh size not                                                                    or parts thereof may not be used as bait for
   greater than 1 inch in fresh waters of the                                                                    trotlines or bush hooks or any method other
   state, unless specifically prohibited.                                                                        than by rod and reel or pole and line.
                                                                                                              ■■ Panfish less than 4 inches in total length
                                                                                                                 raised by a licensed aquaculture facility may
                                                                                                                 be purchased and used for bait.
     Taking and possession of freshwater mussels
                                                                                                              Restricted species
     Certain families of freshwater mussels may be                          Sizes indicated are average       Live specimens of Conditional (68-5.002(1),
     collected for personal use. The bag limit for                              adult dimensions for          F.A.C.) and Prohibited (68-5.003(1), F.A.C.)
     freshwater mussels from these families is 10 per                      identification purposes only.      nonnative species may not be possessed.
     person (or 20 half shells). The possession limit is                                                      Northern black bass (Micropterus salmoides
     two days bag limit (see images to right and FAQ,                                                         salmoides) are on the conditional nonnative
     page 27).                                                                                                species list. Stocking northern black bass is
                                                                                                              prohibited. Pure Florida bass (Micropterus
     Mussels shall be taken by hand-picking only. Use                                                         salmoides floridanus) may only be purchased
     of brailles, crowfoot bars, or other mechanical                        3 inches           3½ inches
                                                                                                              from permitted hatcheries with pure Florida
     methods is prohibited. Freshwater mussels, live                         Florida             Paper
                                                                           Shiny Spike                        bass stocks authenticated by the FWC. (See
     or dead, may not be taken for later sale.                                                 Pondshell
                                                                                                              MyFWC.com/Fishing, select "Freshwater
                                                                                                              Fishing," then select "Pond Management" and
     Other clams                                                                                              "Commercial Sources of Fish." For details see
     Species of freshwater mussels from other families, such                                    1½ inches     Chapter 68-5, F.A.C. at www.FLrules.org.)
     as the Asian clam, have no bag or possession limits.




     Protected Sturgeons
     The species of sturgeon found in Florida—Atlantic (Acipenser oxyrinchus), Gulf
     (A. o. desotoi), and shortnose sturgeons (Acipenser brevirostrum)—are protected
     both federally and in the state of Florida. No
     person shall take, possess or sell any sturgeon
     or parts thereof, or their nests or eggs, except
     as allowed by specific federal or state permit or
     authorization. People who inadvertently catch one
     must immediately release it alive back to the water.




     It is illegal to possess grass carp
     or alligator gar without a permit.
     Triploid grass carp are used for                      Alligator gar are found only in the
     aquatic vegetation control and may not                panhandle rivers and grow to more than
     be stocked or harvested without a                     120 pounds. Their gator–like snout is
     permit. They grow to over 40 pounds.                  distinct. Due to their limited numbers,
                                                           harvest is restricted to individuals with
                                                           a valid scientific collector’s permit.

                                                                                                               Making Hunting & Fishing Dreams Come True
                                                                                                                         for YoungsTers, 21 & unDer, with
                                                                                                                            LiFe-THreaTening iLLnesses

     Grass carp illustration by Ted Walke; Alligator gar by Duane Raver, Jr.                                              Toll Free: 866-345-4455
                                                                                                                         www.HuntofaLifetime.org



Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission                                                                                           2018–2019       13
BAG & LENGTH LIMITS

Statewide bag                                               of the Suwannee River, and in any tributary,        are in compliance with TrophyCatch rules
and length limits                                           creek or stream of the Suwannee River: the
                                                            bag limit for striped bass is 3, each of which
                                                                                                                and fish handling guidelines, may be in tem-
                                                                                                                porary possession of one bass 13 pounds or
Special bag and length limits apply to some                 must be at least 18 inches in total length (20      greater over the legal length limit and bag
lakes, rivers (this page) and Fish Management               fish combined bag limit)(See map page 20).          limit while waiting for FWC staff certifica-
Areas (pages 21–26). Other fishes considered          ■■ 2 Butterfly peacock bass, only one of which            tion. The fish must then be live-released in
to be nongame fishes have no bag or posses-              may be 17 inches or longer in total length.            the water body where it was caught.
sion limits, except as noted in individual Fish       ■■ 25 American eels, must be nine inches or            ■■ Keep game fish intact: black bass, striped
Management Area regulations.                             greater in total length. The recreational bag          bass and white bass or their hybrids, peacock
   No person shall take in any one day more              limit for American eels is 25 per angler per           bass, or black crappie and panfish (for black
than the following bag limits of freshwater              day. Wholesale/Retail purchase exemption.              crappie and panfish, only in waters where
game fish:                                               Recreational anglers purchasing American               minimum-length or slot-size limits for these
■■ 5 Black bass (including largemouth, Suwan-            eel as bait may possess more than the legal            fish apply) may not be filleted, nor their head
   nee, spotted, Choctaw and shoal bass, indi-           bag limit provided that the eels were pur-             or tail fin removed, until the angler has com-
   vidually or in total), only one of which may be       chased from a licensed dealer.                         pleted fishing for the day.
   16 inches or longer in total length. There is no
   minimum length limit for largemouth bass.          Notes:
   »» No person shall kill or possess any Suwan-      ■■ No person shall have in his possession more         Special bag
      nee, shoal, spotted, or Choctaw bass that
      is less than 12 inches in total length.
                                                         than two days’ bag limit of freshwater game
                                                         fish (see Rule 68A-23.005 for details).             and length limits
   »» Chipola River: No person shall kill or          ■■ Each angler is responsible for his or her own       See Fish Management Area regulations for bag
      possess any shoal bass in the section              bag limit. It is illegal to transport or possess    and length limits for lakes in the Fish Manage-
      between Peacock Bridge (Peacock Bridge             more than two days’ bag limit of fish per           ment Area system (Pages 21–26).
      Road; County Road 278, Jackson County)             licensed angler without a commercial license.       ■■ Jim Woodruff Reservoir, Lake Seminole.
      and Johnny Boy Landing (Johnny Boy                 Exceptions are fish legally acquired from              In the waters of and on the banks of the
      Landing Road, Calhoun County).                     aquaculturists (fish farmers) for use in               waters of Lake Seminole — bounded on
■■ 50 Panfish including bluegill, redear sunfish         aquaria, for brood stock, pond stocking, or            the west by Florida State Road No. 271,
   (shellcracker), flier, longear sunfish, mud           properly marked for the market.                        on the south by the Jim Woodruff Dam,
   sunfish, shadow bass, spotted sunfish              ■■ No native freshwater fish or their eggs may            on the east by a line immediately east of
   (stumpknocker), warmouth and redbreast                be taken or possessed except as permitted by           the Chattahoochee Marina, also known
   sunfish, individually or in total.                    these rules nor shall anyone wantonly or will-         as the Booster Club, running northwest
■■ 25 Crappie (speckled perch).                          fully waste the same.                                  across the lake to the tip of land at the
■■ 20 Striped bass, white bass, and sunshine          ■■ It is illegal to possess grass carp or alligator       junction of the Flint and Chattahoochee
   bass (individually or in total), of which only        gar without a permit; these fish must be               Rivers, west of Spring Creek; and on the
   6 may be 24 inches or longer in total length.         released immediately (see page 13).                    north by the Herman Talmadge Bridge
   »» In the Suwannee River, areas north and west     ■■ Anglers participating in TrophyCatch, who              across the Chattahoochee River: 10 black
bass, each must be 12 inches or greater in            Lake Talquin and State Road 20): Crappie                  Including:
   total length; 15 striped bass, white bass and         less than 10 inches in total length must be               »» Harney Pond Canal (C-41) north of St.
   sunshine bass (individually or in total), of          released immediately.                                        Rd. 78 to South Florida Water Mgmnt.
   which no more than two may be 22 inches            ■■ Silver Glen Springs in Lake and Marion                       District (SFWMD) structure S-71
   or longer in total length; 30 crappie (speck-         counties and Salt Springs in Marion                       »» C-41-A Canal, southeast of S-84
   led perch); 50 panfish (does not include crap-        County: Fishing is prohibited in and within               »» Indian Prairie Canal (C-40) north of St.
   pie); 15 pickerel (chain, grass and redfin).          50 yards of the springs.                                     Rd. 78 to SFWMD structure S-72
   Possession limit is 50 fish total, regardless      ■■ Rainbow Springs, Marion County: Fishing                   »» All of Taylor Creek and Nubbin Slough
   of species.                                           is prohibited from the headwaters of Rain-                   in Okeechobee County
■■ St. Marys River and its tributaries: 10               bow Springs to a point one mile down-                     »» C-38/Kissimmee River south of SFWMD
   black bass, each must be 12 inches or greater         stream on Rainbow River within Marion                        structure S-65E to St. Rd. 78
   in total length; two striped bass, sunshine           County.                                                   »» All of L-50 Canal in Glades County
   bass or white bass, both of which must be          ■■ Wildcat Lake, Marion County (Ocala                        »» Fisheating Creek to U. S. 27
   at least 22 inches in total length; 30 crappie        National Forest): Black bass must be                      »» All of Sportsman’s Canal (LD-3) in Glades
   (speckled perch); 50 panfish (does not                released immediately.                                        County
   include crappie); 15 pickerel (chain, grass        ■■ St. Johns River Water Management Area                  ■■ Perdido River: 10 black bass; 15 striped
   and redfin).                                          (Farm 13, including the Stick Marsh),                     bass, white bass and sunshine bass (only 5
■■ Lake Talquin, Leon and Gadsden counties               Indian River and Brevard counties: Black                  of which may be 22 inches or longer in total
   (including that portion of the Ochlock-               bass must be released immediately.                        length); 30 crappie (speckled perch, all of
   onee River lying between Lake Talquin              ■■ S.N. Knight Tract, Indian River County                    which must by 9 inches or longer); 50 panfish
   and the railroad trestle that is located              (locally known as Kenansville Lake): Black                (does not include crappie, possession limit
   immediately below U.S. Highway 90, that               bass must be released immediately.                        is 50 fish total, regardless of species).
   portion of the Little River lying between          ■■ Lake Okeechobee: Crappie (speckled perch)              ■■ Lake Jackson (Walton County): 5 black
   Lake Talquin and County Road 268, that                less than 10 inches in total length must be               bass (all of which must be 12 inches or
   portion of the Rocky Comfort Creek lying              released immediately. Lake Okeechobee, for                greater in total length, only one of which
   between Lake Talquin and County Road                  purposes of these rules, is defined as any                may be longer than 22 inches in total length);
   65-B, and that portion of Bear Creek lying            point lakeward of a boundary line delineated              15 striped bass, white bass and sunshine
   between Lake Talquin and Bear Creek                   by the following points:                                  bass (only 5 of which may be 22 inches or
   Road, those portions of Ocklawaha and                 »» Intersection of St. Rd. 78 and U.S. 441                longer in total length); 30 crappie (speckled
   Hammock creeks lying between Lake                     »» U.S. 441 SE to St. Rd. 5 (“80”)                        perch); 50 panfish (does not include crappie,
   Talquin and State Road 267, those por-                »» St. Rd. 5 (“80”) to St. Rd. 25 (U.S. 27)               possession limit is 50 fish total, regardless
   tions of Blount's, Freeman [Stoutamire],              »» St. Rd. 25 (U.S. 27) to St. Rd. 78                     of species).
   and Harvey and Polk creeks lying between              »» St. Rd. 78 to U.S. 441




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F L O R IDA F R E SH WAT E R F ISH

 Florida freshwater fishes are divided into game fish that have specific bag and length limits and may only be taken with pole-and-line or rod-
 and-reel, and nongame fish, which are all others. A license is required to take nongame fish, but additional gear types are allowed (see Page 12).
 Nonnative fish are those that do not occur in Florida naturally; most should be harvested and never released. Exceptions are peacock bass,
 which is a game fish, and triploid grass carp, which are stocked for vegetation control (see Page 13). Where applicable, state record (SR) weights
 and the Big Catch (BC) qualifying length or weight for adults are provided. See Page 4 or MyFWC.com/BigCatch for more details including
 youth qualifying sizes, slams, specialist, master, elite angler and the TrophyCatch citizen-science rewards program.




                                                                                                                                                                      Fish art by Duane Raver, Jr.; and Diane R. Peebles.
               BLACK BASS




                      Largemouth bass:                    Spotted/Choctaw bass:                      Shoal bass:                         Suwannee Bass:
                  SR 17.27 lbs; BC 24"/8.0 lbs           SR 3.75 lbs; BC 16"/2.0 lbs           SR 5.95 lbs; BC 16"/2.0 lbs           SR 3.89 lbs; BC 14"/1.5 lbs

               PANFISH
GAME FISH




                                     Black crappie:                              Bluegill:                               Redear sunfish:
                                SR 3.83 lbs; BC 14"/2.0 lbs              SR 2.95 lbs; BC 10"/1.0 lb                 SR 4.86 lbs; BC 11"/1.25 lbs




                          Flier:                        Redbreast sunfish:                          Warmouth:                                Spotted sunfish:
                 SR 1.35 lbs; BC 8"/0.5 lb            SR 2.08 lbs; BC 9"/0.5 lb               SR 2.44 lbs; BC 9"/0.5 lb                   SR 0.83 lbs; BC 7"/0.5 lb

               TEMPERATE BASS                                                                                                     CICHLID




                         Striped bass:                          White bass:                        Sunshine bass:                  Butterfly peacock bass:
                  SR 42.25 lbs; BC 30"/12.0 lbs           SR 4.69 lbs; BC 15"/2.5 lbs         SR 16.31 lbs; BC 20"/5.0 lbs         SR 9.08 lbs; BC 18"/4.0 lbs


               CATFISH
NONGAME FISH




                        Channel catfish:                       White catfish:                       Yellow bullhead:                     Brown bullhead:
                   SR 44.50 lbs; BC 25"/12.0 lbs         SR 18.88 lbs; BC 22"/5.0 lbs           SR 5.05 lbs; BC 14"/1.5 lbs          SR 7.02 lbs; BC 16"/2.0 lbs

               BOWFIN, SHAD, PICKEREL & GAR


                                                                                                                Longnose gar:
                                                   American shad:                                         SR 41.00 lbs; BC 40"/15.0 lbs
                                              SR 5.19 lbs; BC 18"/3.0 lbs
                        Bowfin:                                                  Chain pickerel:                                       Florida/Spotted gar:
               SR 19.00 lbs; BC 28"/8.0 lbs                                 SR 6.96 lbs; BC 22"/3.0 lbs                              SR 9.44 lbs; BC 28"/4.0 lbs

                   For details on state records and angler recognition programs visit: MyFWC.com/BigCatch
 16             2018–2019                                                                                     Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
ALASKAN MILLS.
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                              Jaguar guapote:                  Mayan cichlid:                     Oscar:
                          SR 2.78 lbs; BC 13"/1.5 lbs     SR 2.37 lbs; BC 11"/1.0 lb    SR 2.34 lbs; BC 11"/1.25 lbs
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                                                                                                                           During the event we provide a page where
                         SR 1.47 lbs; BC 12"/0.75 lb    SR 40.56 lbs; BC 30"/20.0 lbs   SR 9.57 lbs; BC 18"/5.0 lbs           the weights may be entered for each
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C O NSE R VAT I O N HI G H L I G H T S


Women in Conservation:                                                                                     “I taught my two
                                                                                                        boys to fish and we
                                                                                                        do so frequently,”

The Future is Female                                                                                    said White. “I am
                                                                                                        most proud that
                                                                                                        the 2017 regula-
                                                                                                        tions cover image
                                                                                                        was taken by my
By Amber Nabors                                                                                         son when we were
                                                                                                        fishing together.
A recent resounding theme in mainstream             Foundation, “Almost 42 percent of first-time        To have that mem-
media is that “the future is female” and that has   fishing participants are female” and “Fresh-        ory memorialized
certainly been the case for the FWC’s Division      water fishing has the highest rate of female        forever means a
of Freshwater Fisheries Management (DFFM)           and youth participation compared to other           lot to me as an
and fishing participation in Florida.               types of fishing.”                                  individual, as a
    DFFM has always strived for a diverse work-        Women compete in fishing tournaments as          woman, and as a mother,” White concluded.
place and has been proud to see an increase in      pro anglers and co-anglers, in college tourna-         The FWC’s TrophyCatch program was
the number of women joining the workforce           ments, and high school tournaments. Those           thrilled to award membership into the pro-
as biologists and in management positions.          numbers are growing as more female anglers          gram’s coveted Hall of Fame club to kayak
In 2008, women represented 28% of DFFM’s            start fishing recreationally and competitively      angler, Jean Wilson, during Season 5. Wilson
workforce. In 2016, women represented 35% of        at the high school level. In 2016, the FWC part-    caught a 15-pound largemouth bass on the
DFFM’s workforce—and these ladies certainly         nered with RBFF, Fishing League Worldwide           Wacissa River, along with many other tro-
aren’t just here to schedule meetings and push      (FLW), and the Student Angler Federation to         phy bass catches! Wilson is one of few female
papers around.                                      offer a grant program supporting new and            anglers who have qualified for the TrophyCatch
    Out of the 19 women currently employed in       existing high school fishing clubs in Florida.      Hall of Fame club, which awards anglers for
DFFM, six of them work as biologists with a         That program more than doubled the number           largemouth bass catches weighing 13 pounds
Bachelor’s degree or higher and three of them       of students participating in high school fishing    or heavier. Visit TrophyCatch.com to see all
work in upper-level management with a Bach-         statewide with a rate of 32 percent female stu-     of Wilson’s (and others’) trophy bass catches!
elor’s degree or higher. Nine of DFFM’s female      dent anglers participating. A similar program          “As a female kayak angler, I strive to show
employees serve as administrative staff and one     will be offered in 2018.                            women that fishing knowledge, skills, and
serves as a program manager with a Bachelor’s          “FLW heartily encourages women to par-           accomplishments can be attained by anyone,”
degree or higher. These ladies are leading scien-   ticipate in our tournaments,” said Dave Wash-       said Wilson. “I love sharing my passion for fish-
tific studies, conducting field work, managing      burn, Vice President of Operations at FLW.          ing and encouraging other women to pursue
large-scale programs and operations, and ensur-     “The fish don’t care who catches them, and          this incredible way of connecting with nature
ing that the Division runs smoothly and Florida’s   men and women compete at the same level,            and enjoying a sense of adventure.”
natural resources are managed appropriately.        on equal footing in FLW fishing tournaments.”          The FWC is proud of its many female staff
    Recreational fishing, much like scientific         Rosemary White, an avid female angler, con-      members and encourages anyone who is inter-
jobs and conservation work, has historically        servationist, and mother of two whose image         ested in conservation or scientific careers to
been “a boy’s club.” But, that is also changing     was on the cover of FWC’s 2017 Freshwater           pursue those interests. The future of Florida’s
as females continue to participate in recre-        Fishing Regulations stated that she strives         natural resources depends on the continued
ational and competitive angling at increasing       every day to “break the stigma that only men        passion for conservation work, regardless of
rates. According to the 2014 Special Report         are anglers and that women have to look a cer-      gender, race, or age. If you’re considering a career
on Fishing by the Recreational Boating &            tain way to participate in the realm of fisheries   with the FWC, please check out MyFWC.com/
Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and The Outdoor           and conservation.”                                  get-involved/employment/careers/.



   Jean Wilson with a 12 lbs. 12 oz.
   Wacissa River bass.




18    2018–2019                                                                               Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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