The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is proposing changes to fishing regulations for the alligator gar, the largest and longest-lived freshwater fish in the state, to be voted on at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting March 20 in Austin.
The proposed changes are intended to help the Department conserve and prevent the overharvest of older, mature alligator gar.
The proposed regulation includes four components.
The first change includes instituting a 4-foot maximum length limit on the Trinity River. This limit means anglers (a person who fishes with a rod and line) could not harvest any alligator gar over that length from the Trinity River from the I-30 bridge in Dallas downstream to the I-10 bridge in Chambers County including the East Fork of the Trinity River upstream to the dam at Lake Ray Hubbard.
“The 4-foot maximum would conserve these larger fish and redirect harvest towards younger, more abundant smaller fish. It also ensures there are plenty of large, recreationally-valuable fish remaining for anglers to catch and release, which attracts anglers from around the world,” said Craig Bonds, TPWD Inland Fisheries Director.
The second component of the proposed regulation changes would create a drawing to allow selected anglers to harvest one alligator gar over 48 inches in length per year from the Trinity River.
The final two proposed rules would be in effect statewide. First, a proposed regulation change would prohibit nighttime bow fishing statewide for alligator gar 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise. The last component of the proposed regulation changes would require all anglers harvesting alligator gar statewide to report their harvest within 24 hours online or through a mobile app, similar to what is currently required for eastern turkey.
Statewide, a one-fish-per-day bag limit would remain in effect.
All of the proposed rules will be available for review in the Texas Register on Feb. 15.
The public is encouraged to provide comment on each of the four individual components of the proposed regulation changes through public hearings, online or phone, and e-mail.