LDWF to consider modifying size, bag limits for speckled trout during Oct. 1 commission meeting

LDWF to consider modifying size, bag limits for speckled trout during Oct. 1 commission meeting
FILE photo of an ice chest full of speckled trout caught in the coastal waters of southeastern Louisiana. (Source: BIGFISH)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will consider a proposed measure recommend by biologists to modify the recreational size and bag limits for spotted seatrout, commonly known as speckled trout, during a commission meeting Thursday, Oct. 1.

Currently, in most parts of coastal Louisiana, anglers can legally catch, or “bag,” 25 speckled trout per day that are at least 12 inches in length. There is an exception for specified areas of Cameron and Calcasieu parishes where the limit is 15 per person per day, with no more than two over 25 inches total length. Click here for more on Louisiana’s recreational fishing limits.

The measure proposes to increase the legal size limit of speckled trout to 13.5 inches per day and decrease the daily bag limit of speckled trout to 15 fish. Officials on the LDWF commission will vote either to implement or decline to implement the proposed changes to the speckled trout limits.

For a breakdown of who is on the LDWF commission, click here.

The LDWF commission meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 1 at the department’s headquarters, located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

Due to the ongoing, COVID-19 pandemic, only 40 members of the public will be allowed in the LDWF’s meeting room at one time. Face masks are required to enter LDWF headquarters.

The meeting will be streamed via Zoom for members of the public who cannot attend the meeting in person. You can register for the meeting webinar by clicking here. Officials say you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Members of the public will have the ability to comment via email if they are not able to attend the meeting.

You can send your comment to LDWF regarding the proposal to modify recreational speckled trout limits by emailing Comments@wlf.la.gov by 11:59 p.m., September 30, 2020. Your email must include “agenda item number 11” in the subject of your email. Officials say the body of the email should include your name and address before your comment.

No public comments will be accepted via Zoom, officials say.

LDWF biologists say the state’s stock of speckled trout is overfished, according to an assessment completed in 2019. The term “overfished” is defined by biologists as “the size of the spawning population of fish is below the minimum level established.”

Biologists say the species has been fishing rates of speckled trout have been too high in six of the last 10 years and the amount of fish capable of reproducing has been declining since 2009 and is currently at the lowest level observed since LDWF started assessing the state’s stock of speckled trout. Data also indicates the proportion of females age 3 and older has been declining since about 2012 and is at the lowest level observed in the assessment history, according to LDWF.

The loss of age diversity in the fish population decreases the population’s resiliency, biologists say. However, LDWF officials despite the decrease in the amount of speckled trout caught, the fishing efforts for speckled trout continue to increase.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.