New black bass fishing regulations are in effect throughout Florida, which began Friday, July 1. This regulation change will streamline existing rules, allowing anglers to keep smaller, more abundant bass and protect larger bass in order to ensure that Florida continues to produce trophy bass in the future.
Before developing proposals for amending current regulations, the FWC staff received input from thousands of bass anglers, and blended angler desires and opinions with decades of fish population research.
“We are confident that these new regulations meet the desires of our bass anglers, ensuring that Florida lakes will continue to produce high quality fisheries,” said Tom Champeau, director of the FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries. “Florida’s reputation for trophy bass is one reason we are known as the Fishing Capital of the World and these new regulations will help provide our anglers with unforgettable fishing experiences.”
Florida contains five species of black bass: largemouth, Suwannee, shoal, Choctaw and spotted bass. Largemouth bass are the state freshwater fish and are found throughout Florida, while the other species are only found in rivers in the north central and northwest regions.
A summary of the new black bass regulations is below. Visit MyFWC.com/fishing and click on “Freshwater,” then “Regulations” for a copy of the complete regulations.
The previous three black bass fishing zones and 40 areas with special bass regulations have been eliminated.
All species of black bass are included in the five fish daily aggregate black bass bag limit. This is the same as the previous statewide rule.
Largemouth bass: Only one may be 16 inches or longer in total length per angler, per day, with no minimum length limit.
Suwannee, shoal, Choctaw and spotted basses: 12-inch minimum size limit, only one may be 16 inches or longer in total length.
One of the primary goals of the new regulations is to protect larger trophy bass desired by most anglers. The TrophyCatch program offers great prizes for anglers who document and release largemouth bass weighing eight pounds or heavier. Visit TrophyCatchFlorida.com for more details and to register for the program.