Anglers, prepare your rods and reels; the recreational harvest season for spotted seatrout in southern Florida will reopen on Jan. 1. The opening rings in 2012, a recreational closure-free year that will include several spotted seatrout management changes effective Feb. 1.
Recreational spotted seatrout management changes include:
- The removal of all recreational spotted seatrout closures, including the annual Feb. 1 closure that would have affected anglers in northeast and northwest Florida;
- An increased recreational bag limit of six fish in the northeast region of the state.
Spotted seatrout harvest has been closed in the southern region of the state since Nov. 1.
The southern region includes any Florida state waters and federal waters south of the Flagler-Volusia county line on the east coast and, in the Gulf, south of a line running due west from the westernmost point of Fred Howard Park Causeway, which is about 1.17 miles south of the Pinellas/Pasco county line.
The maximum daily bag limit for spotted seatrout in the southern region of the state is four fish per person. In northeast and northwest regions, the daily limit is five spotted seatrout per person until the new rules take effect Feb. 1.
The statewide slot limit for spotted seatrout is 15-20 inches total length, and anglers may keep one spotted seatrout larger than 20 inches as part of the daily bag limit.
Spotted seatrout may not be harvested by snagging or snatch-hooking or by any multiple hooks with live or dead natural bait. Spotted seatrout may be taken only with hook-and-line gear and cast nets, and must be landed in a whole condition.