Two major changes to speckled trout and redfish regulations will be discussed at Thursday’s meeting of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting.
Randy Pausina, LDWF’s head of fisheries, said commissioners have inquired about the possibility of reducing the speckled trout creel limit from 15 to 10 in the western part of the state to match more conservative regulations recently put in place by Texas, and also the possibility of reducing the minimum size limit for redfish to make fish under 16 inches legal.
“Texas recently dropped their spotted sea trout limit in most, if not all, of their bays over there, so there’s a lot of pressure on that side of the state to look at ours because we have more liberal regulations and a lot of people come over to Louisiana to fish and there’s always a conflict,” he said.
The same thing happened several years ago when Texas reduced their limit to 15, which prompted Louisiana to do the same in the western part of the state.
“Texas guides used to buy a Louisiana license and fish Calcasieu hard because it had more liberal limits and you could get better clients and theoretically a better fishing trip,” Pausina said. “So the voice from the western part of the state was to change that.
“And the position of the department was it’s not a biological issue, so the compromise was to do it in that part of the state as a social issue.”
Thursday's meeting will be for discussion of both topics without any action expected to be taken, he said.
Redfish-wise, Pausina said it’s possible that slightly reducing the legal size limit would not have a major impact on the fishery.
“It’s probably not that big of a deal because five fish are dying if everybody catches their creel, and whether they’re 14 inches or 16 inches they still haven’t reproduced yet because they haven’t moved offshore yet,” he said. “We’re culling them out before they move offshore to start reproducing, so it’s probably feasible with red drum.”
Pausina reiterated that the items were for discussion only on Thursday and no final action would be taken, but he expects the commission to charge him with providing information at future meetings on what impact these possible changes would have on the respective fisheries.
“We can come back in a month or two with the matrix table for spotted sea trout, and probably later in the fall for the red drum,” he said.