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Redfish, Black Crappie Rule Changes Proposed in Florida

State Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission OKs proposals at May meeting.

Redfish, Black Crappie Rule Changes Proposed in Florida

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have approved proposed regulation changes for red drum and black crappie fishing.

The changes were approved at the commission's May meeting. The commission will further consider both proposals before a final rule hearing later this year.


FWC approved proposed management regions and regulation changes for redfish in state waters:

  • Modify the redfish management regions (see map below).
  • Prohibit captain and crew from retaining a bag limit when on a for-hire trip.
  • Reduce the off-the-water transport limit from six to four fish per person.
  • Increase the bag limit for the Big Bend region from one to two fish per person.
  • Reduce the eight-fish vessel limit in each of the proposed management regions: Panhandle, Big Bend, Northeast, four fish; Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor, Southwest, Southeast, two fish.
  • Allow only catch-and-release fishing for redfish in the Indian River Lagoon region.

"With this new management approach, this agency is committed to continuing to work with our partners and stakeholders in finding solutions for redfish," FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto said in a news release.

The modification of redfish management regions and regulations, as part of the new management approach, will better capture regional differences and improve angler satisfaction.

For current recreational redfish regulations in Florida, visit and click on "Recreational Regulations" and "Redfish." That page will be updated with the new regulations when they take effect.

Florida redfish
Proposed Florida redfish management regions

Black Crappie

The FWC unanimously approved moving forward with proposed regulations changes to size and/or bag limits for black crappie on specific Florida waterbodies

Black crappie changes proposed:

  • Removing the 12-inch minimum length limit on Lake Jackson (Osceola County).
  • Removing specific size and bag limits on the following Fish Management Areas (they will return to statewide regulations of 25 fish daily bag limit and no minimum size limit): Montgomery Lake, Watertown Lake, Suwannee Lake, Hardee County Park, Bobby Hicks Park Pond, Gadsden Park Pond, Manatee Lake, Largo Central Park Nature Preserve.

"Anglers fish for specks (black crappie) when they want to have a fish fry,” FWC Commissioner Gary Lester said. “Black crappie remains a popular target for anglers and we commend staff’s dedication to ensuring crappie fisheries thrive in Florida.”

FWC completed a Black Crappie Management Plan in 2019 that called for a comprehensive review of black crappie regulations. Staff reviewed the biological aspects of regulations and gathered stakeholder input. While many anglers asked for a statewide minimum length limit, biological data indicated such a regulation would not improve most fisheries across the state and would unnecessarily restrict angler harvest opportunities on many waterbodies. Therefore, no statewide length limit was proposed.

  • Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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