FWC News Release

February 28, 2008
Contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554

The recreational harvest seasons for spotted seatrout in North Florida and for Gulf coast snook will reopen on March 1. This means that the sport harvest of spotted seatrout and snook will then be open in all Florida waters.

Spotted seatrout harvest is not allowed during February each year in Florida Atlantic coast waters north of the Flagler/Volusia counties line and in Gulf coast waters north of a line running due west from the westernmost point of Fred Howard Park Causeway, which is about 1.17 miles south of the Pinellas/Pasco counties line. This one-month closure helps maintain the abundance of spotted seatrout.

The maximum daily bag limit for spotted seatrout in reopened waters north of the established boundaries is five fish per person. In waters south of these boundaries, the daily limit is four fish per person.

The statewide slot limit for spotted seatrout is 15-20 inches total length. However, anglers may keep one spotted seatrout larger than 20 inches as part of the daily bag limits.

Spotted seatrout may not be harvested by any multiple hooks with live or dead natural bait, and snagging or snatch-hooking spotted seatrout is not allowed. Spotted seatrout may be taken only with hook-and-line gear and cast nets and must be landed in a whole condition.

The harvest of snook is not allowed in all of Florida’s Gulf, Everglades National Park and Monroe County coastal and inland waters in December, January and February each year to help protect snook populations during the colder months when snook are most vulnerable.

Anglers may harvest one snook between 28 and 33 inches total length per day from these reopened waters. In Florida’s Atlantic coastal and inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, anglers may keep one snook between 28 and 32 inches total length per day.

Licensed saltwater anglers must purchase a $2 permit to harvest snook. Snatch-hooking and spearing snook are prohibited, and it is illegal to buy or sell snook. Snook regulations also apply in federal waters.