New limits on size, numbers of speckled trout to go into effect Monday
BATON ROUGE (WVUE) - The rules have changed for anglers looking to catch some speckled trout on Louisiana waters: starting Monday, November 20, they’re only allowed to catch 15 speckled trout per angler per day, and those fish must be at least 13 inches long and no greater than 20 inches.
Currently, there is no maximum limit on the number of speckled trout that can be captured from Louisiana waters, with the only limit being no more than 25 per angler per day.
The new rules come down from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (or LDWF).
The agency said it has been monitoring speckled trout populations and has seen the population growing younger and younger.
“The vast majority of our trout population is made up of one-year-old fish and less,” said Patrick Banks, Assistant Secretary over Fisheries at LDWF. “We’ve just seen some problems with that population, not necessarily in the numbers, the overall numbers, but in the size and age and distribution of that population.”
Banks said the new rules are designed to benefit the overall population growth of speckled trout in estuaries like the ones Capt. Brad Dalfonso with Speck Dat Charters takes tourists and locals out to fish almost every day.
“Speckled trout is a local favorite, man, all your locals love speckled trout. Your two primary target species are speckled trout and redfish,” he said. “That’s what your locals want. That’s your really good eating fish, clean white fillet on it. It’s a very, very sought after fish for sure.”
Dalfonso said he’s in favor of tighter regulations on the speckled trout population, with the hopes of seeing a major rebound down the road.
“Everybody’s got to realize: one fish, two pieces of meat, so that’s still 30 pieces of meat. It’s still a good bit of fish,” he said. “It’s going to help sustain the amount of fish that are breeding in an area. A 12-inch speckled trout is a very fertile fish, and she can actually spawn, and if they change it to 13, she’ll be able to spawn at least twice.”
The new rules would “sunset” (or end) on January 1, 2028, unless the agency decides to renew or modify them.
Banks said LDWF would be keeping a close eye on the population and doing an updated stock assessment to present to the LDWF board prior to the rules ending.
“It’s quite an important fish and an important part of our angling community, and so our goal is to try to make sure we have a healthy population moving forward so that folks can go out and at least catch some fish into the future,” he said.
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