Anglers fishing in Louisiana must follow new speckled trout regulations starting Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. The state’s past bag limit of 25 seatrout per day was shortened to 15 specks per angler, with guides and crew no longer allowed to box a limit while on a charter.
Secondly, a 12-incher is no longer a keeper. The old minimum size limit of 12 inches total length is gone, replaced with a new slot of 13 to 20 inches. Of note, two seatrout over the 20-inch max — overslot fish — can be kept as part of a daily bag limit.
“The timing probably isn’t the best, considering the number of casual anglers who fish the week [of Thanksgiving],” says Louisiana angler Todd Masson, who runs the popular Marsh Man Masson YouTube fishing channel. “We simply no longer have the population to support 25 fish at 12 inches. The change should have been made years ago, but the species is highly fecund and short-lived so the rebound should be rather quick.”
CCA Louisiana supports the new creel limit of 15 fish as a reasonable move in the spirit of conservation. “Fishery managers are quick to propose recreational creel and size limit adjustments, but recreational changes cannot be the only remedy,” said CCA Louisiana, in a statement. Other factors must be considered as part of the overall seatrout rebuilding plan, including coastwide and regional forage reduction, marine habitat and reef degradation, bycatch, fisheries restocking programs, stock evaluation protocols and programs, and ecosystem level management.
The new seatrout regulations are scheduled to sunset at midnight on Jan. 1, 2028. State scientists will provide an up-to-date stock assessment on seatrout before the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission’s April 2027 meeting. The updated assessment affords the commission the ability to modify the regulations, if needed.