Spotted seatrout: new zones, regulations, and Western Panhandle seasonal closure effective Feb. 1
Several rule changes for spotted seatrout go into effect Feb. 1, including a closure to spotted seatrout harvest in the new Western Panhandle management zone. Spotted seatrout are one of Florida’s most popular inshore fisheries. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) made these changes after reviewing the results of a recent stock assessment and gathering input from anglers. These changes were made to benefit spotted seatrout populations while continuing to provide quality fishing opportunities.
The new rule changes do not replace the current catch-and-release only measures for spotted seatrout in southwest Florida. Spotted seatrout, red drum and snook remain catch-and-release through May 31, 2020, in waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line south through Gordon Pass in Collier County. The Commission may discuss whether to modify the current catch-and-release measures for southwest Florida at the February meeting.
The following rules go into effect Feb. 1, 2020:
- Western Panhandle (Escambia County through the portions of Gulf County west of longitude 85 degrees, 13.76 minutes but NOT including Indian Pass/Indian Lagoon).
- Big Bend (remaining portion of Gulf County plus Indian Lagoon, and Franklin County through Fred Howard Park Causeway in Pinellas County).
- Western Panhandle: three fish (was five).
- Big Bend: five fish (no change).
- South Florida: three fish (was four).
- Central East: two fish (was four).
- Northeast: five fish (was six).
Learn more about spotted seatrout by visiting MyFWC.com/Marine and clicking on “Recreational Regulations” and “Spotted Seatrout.”