Are you getting ready to fish in Texas? If so, you’ll have to follow fishing regulations for freshwater and saltwater fishing set by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. One of the most common questions visiting anglers have, is how many rods and reels can you use in Texas?
Anglers can use up to two rods while fishing in Texas. In community fishing lakes, fishing is done by rod and line only. It’s illegal to catch fish through foul-hooking, yanking, or snagging in Texas. In freshwater, anglers can’t use more than 100 hooks on all of their gear at one time.
Besides fishing rod regulations, Texas also has bag and length limits for game and non-game fish.
Keep on reading to learn everything you need to know about regulations on fishing gear, length, and bag limits in Texas.
Texas Fishing Rules and Regulations
All persons aged 17 or older need a fishing license to fish in the public waters of Texas. The type and the number of fishing devices used depend on where and what kind of fish you’re trying to land.
For example, game fish may be taken only by pole and line (which includes a reel) if not stated otherwise by the Texas Park & Wildlife Department. Also, it’s illegal to take fish with a hand-held device held underwater. But, a spear or spear gun can be used to take non-game fish.
Fishing gear in Texas isn’t limited only to fishing poles. Besides fishing rods, anglers can also use cast nets, sail lines, gigs, dip nets, spears, spear guns, and many more devices to land fish.
Here are some approved fishing devices and restrictions regarding their use:
A cast net is a type of net that can be thrown over an area of water. In Texas, using cast nets is only legal for taking non-game fish and other aquatic creatures including, crabs, crayfish, and shrimp.
The cast net can’t be larger than 14 feet in diameter. In saltwater, the cast nets can be used only for non-game fish taken for bait purposes.
A dip net is a mesh bag suspended from a frame attached to a handle. This fishing device is legal for landing non-game fish and other aquatic life, such as crabs, shrimp, and crayfish. A dip net can be used in landing fish caught by other devices.
A Gaff is a hand-held pole with an attached hook. This device can only be used to land fish caught by other legal fishing devices or methods.
A sail line is a type of trotline with one end of the line fixed to a wind-powered floating device or sail while the other end of the mainline is anchored on the shore. The sail line can’t be abandoned at any time, and no more than one sail line is allowed per person in Texas.
Non-game fish including, red drum, spotted, seatrout, and sharks, can be taken with a sail line.
Besides fishing gear restrictions and regulations, there are some other rules you need to be aware of before you embark on a Texas fishing trip.
Below, you’ll find bag and length limits for the different species of fish found in Texas state waters.
There is no minimum length limit for blue and channel catfish and the daily bag limit is five. The daily bag limit for flathead catfish is five and the minimum length is 18 inches.
The minimum length for white and black crappie, their subspecies, and hybrids is 10 inches. The daily bag limit is 25 in any combination.
White, Striped, and Yellow Bass
The minimum length for white bass is 10 inches, and the daily bag limit is 25. There’s a minimum length limit of 18 inches for striped and hybrid striped bass and a daily bag limit of five in any combination. There are no length or bag limits, as far as yellow bass is concerned.
The minimum length limit for largemouth and smallmouth bass is 14 inches. There is no minimum length for Guadalupe, Alabama, or spotted bass. Any combination of black bass species is subjected to a daily bag limit of five fish.
There is no minimum length limit for rainbow or brown trout, their hybrids, and subspecies. The daily bag limit is five trout in any combination.
The alligator gar is subjected to a daily bag limit of one for fish of any size. There is no bag limit for any other species of gar.
Anglers fishing for alligator gar need to know about Mandatory Harvest Reporting. All alligator gar taken from state public waters other than the Falcon International Reservoir must be reported within 24 hours to the department online or via a mobile app.
Common carp isn’t subject to a minimum length limit or daily bag limit.
There is no daily bag limit or minimum length limit on Redear, bluegill, warmouth, or other species of sunfish.
How Many Fishing Rods Can You Use at Once?
All person fishing in Texas public waters can use a maximum of two fishing rods at once. Anglers fishing in Texas doesn’t need to purchase a second-rod validation. However, all anglers age 17 or older must carry a current Texas-issued fishing license.
How Many Hooks Can You Have on a Rod and Reel in Texas?
When fishing in freshwater, anglers can have up to 100 hooks on all fishing devices combined. So, if you have two rods in the water, you may not have more than 50 hooks on any line.
How many fishing rods and reels anglers can use is determined by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Any person intending to take fish and other aquatic life in Texas public waters may use no more than two fishing poles simultaneously.
If you’re planning a fishing trip in Texas, peruse the state’s specific fishing rules and regulations; otherwise, you risk being fined for any unlawful behavior.