Closed Months Eliminated for Florida Seatrout

Those nagging and confusing closed months for recreational spotted seatrout are being eliminated in Florida, though commercial takes are being increased from three to five months in specified regions, and commercial boat limits doubled when two licensed fishermen are aboard.

In short, both recreational and commercial takers gained modest increases from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, effective Feb. 1, 2012. A stock assessment had reported large gains in seatrout populations.

Non-commercial anglers will no doubt welcome the no-closure month change, although they opposed the decision to double the commercial boat limit from 75 to 150 fish to for the market.

Anglers did cheer the commission’s defeat of a proposal to allow commercial seining of the state’s most popular inshore sportfish, even though the FWC chair Kathy Barco and staff had favored the expanded netting of trout.

Barco at first refused to let a speaker show the size of the seine nets but other commissioners let the 100-foot net be stretched out before the group.

Personal bag limits and boundaries were kept as is, except that the Jacksonville area was allowed a one-fish bag increase to six per day. FS

Key Changes Include:

  • Removing all regional recreational season closures.
  • Splitting the state of Florida into four management zones instead of three.
  • Raising the recreational bag limit in Northeast Florida from five to six (That means there are three different daily bag limits of seatrout in Florida: 4 per day in Southeast and Southwest regions; 5 per day in Northwest region; and 6 per day in Northeast region.)
  • Increased commercial seasons based on region—from three months to five months in the northwest, southwest (June 1 – Oct. 31) and southeast (May 1 – Sept. 30) regions, and from three months to six months in the northeast region (June 1 – Nov. 30).
  • Allowing spotted seatrout to be sold 30 days after the close of the commercial season.
  • Allowing two commercially licensed fishermen to keep a commercial vessel limit of 150 seatrout.

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  • Greg Whaley

    I think the commissioners all fell down and bumped their heads…hard. I agree that the opening for the recreational guys is not an entirely bad thing, but here in southwest Florida we were under the impression at first that the closure would be changed to match the northwest region, which would have opened trout to us for November and December and closed them in February. Everyone I spoke to was good with that. Now they've eliminated closures entirely and thrown it wide open for the commercial guys to rape and pillage even more than they do now. There is already enough illegal catching being done by many of them now in the Charlotte Harbor area. This will only make it worse. Way to go you morons.

    • John Davis

      Commerical guys dont get a complete open year.. You do get the complete year as a recreational fisherman.. Headline says it…
      Commerical in you area can fish from June 1st thru October 31st.

  • Ed Maurer

    How close into shore are nets allowed? In North Carolina inshore netting is allowed and it's had devastating effects.

    • FLSportsman

      For the most part, gill netting has been banned since November 1994 after the Net Ban. Still, some netting is allowed nearshore in the form of seine nets and oversize cast gillnets. Mostly, Florida has protected its inshore waters, but designating seatrout a gamefish is the next logical step.

  • Ron Muir


  • Spanish Sardine

    Someone got Paid. Trout are just starting to come back in good numbers after almost been wipped out due to the redtide a few years ago. Don't they have bigger fish to fry!!. I wish they close Redfish, Snook and Trout completely. Let them be catch and release only. Let's make Florida, THE REAL FISHING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

  • rudamchu

    @spanishsardine, don't be such an extremist. Sounds as if you don't enjoy eating the fish you mentioned…well I, as well as others like myself, do like to eat them every so often. You don't have to make fishing only a sport for those who don't necessarily eat much fish. There are those of us that enjoy the sporting aspects and once in a while be rewarded by fresher fish than that which we buy in the market.

  • don

    i think we should close all commercial fishing for seatrout make seatrout a gamefish thats the only reason i live in fla please don;t take this away from me viet nam veterian don

  • eater fisherman

    Spanish Sardine speaks like a true charter boat capt.

  • bill zaring

    Just plain wrong.I have seen trout fishing improve the last two years around PIS and CH and it will surely go the other way now.Nice going morons.

  • Larry Shell

    OMG!!!!! isn't anything sacred in this world anymore… For thousands of locals and tourists a like, make the speckled trout a gamefish and ban any and all commercial fishing of this species. If allowed to net these fish
    these commercial boats will destroy this great fish within no time… They have already destroyed so much of our fish population and now this… Just remember Florida depends about boating, fishing and beautiful beaches to draw tourists from all over the world… if you destroy what brings in the money, you will kill the golden goose.
    You better think about this and think about it hard