How many bass and peacock bass can you keep in Florida? Florida Bag And Length Limits For Fish Largemouth Bass Peacock Bass

How many largemouth bass and peacock bass can you keep in Florida?  Although South Florida bass fishing guides practice catch – photo or video – and release… some of our readers want to know the Florida bag and length limits for Largemouth bass, peacock bass and other game fish routinely fished for in South Florida.

Florida has a general bag  length and limit and special bag length and limits.  Here are both as defined by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

Special bag and length limits apply to some lakes, rivers and Fish Management Areas. Other fishes considered to be nongame fishes have no bag or possession limits, except as noted in individual Fish Management Area regulations. (Note:  Total length is the maximum length of the fish, with the mouth closed and the tail fin pinched together. The best way to obtain this length is to push the fish’s snout up against a vertical surface with the mouth closed and the fish laying along a tape measure, then pinch the tail fin closed and determine the total length. Do NOT pull a flexible tape measure along the curve of the fish.

Possession limit is two days’ bag limit. It is illegal to transport or possess more than two days’ bag limit of fish per licensed angler without a commercial license. Exceptions are fish legally acquired from aquaculturists (fish farmers) for use in aquaria, for brood stock, pond stocking or properly marked for the market. No native freshwater fish or their eggs may be taken or possessed except as permitted by these rules nor shall anyone wantonly or willfully waste the same.

Black bass (largemouth, Suwannee, spotted, and shoal bass, individually or in total), only one of which may be 22 inches or longer in total length.  (See Map for zones).

  • In south Florida: only one bass may be 14 inches in total length or longer. (See Mapfor zones).
  • South and east of the Suwannee River: black bass less than 14 inches in total length must be released immediately. (See Map for zones).
  • In the Suwannee River, areas north and west of the Suwannee River, and in any tributary river, creek or stream of the Suwannee River: black bass less than 12 inches in total length must be released immediately. (See Map for zones).

50 Panfish including bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), flier, longear sunfish, mud sunfish, shadow bass, spotted sunfish (stumpknockers), warmouth and redbreast sunfish, individually or in total.

25 Black Crappie (speckled perch).

20 Striped bass, white bass, and sunshine bass (individually or in total), of which only 6 may be 24 inches or longer in total length.

  • In the Suwannee River, areas north and west of the Suwannee River, and in any tributary, creek or stream of the Suwannee River:  the bag limit for striped bass is 3, each of which must be at least 18 inches in total length (20 fish combined bag limit).

Butterfly peacock bass, only one of which may be 17 inches or longer in total length.

It is illegal to possess grass carp or alligator gar without a permit.

Special Bag and Length Limits for Florida:

  • Jim Woodruff Reservoir, Lake Seminole: 10 black bass, each must be at least 12 inches or greater in total length; 15 striped bass, white bass and sunshine bass (individually or in total), of which no more than two may be 22 inches or longer in total length; 30 crappie (speckled perch), in total; 50 panfish (does not include crappie); 15 pickerel (chain, grass and redfin). Possession limit is 50 fish total, regardless of species.
  • St. Marys River and it tributaries: 10 black bass, all of which must be at least 12 inches in total length; two striped bass, sunshine bass or white bass, both of which must be at least 22 inches in total length; 30 crappie (speckled perch); 50 total panfish (does not include crappie); 15 pickerel (chain, grass and redfin).
  • Lake Talquin, Leon and Gadsden counties: Black bass less than 18 inches in total length and crappie less than 10 inches in total length must be released immediately.
  • Lake Jackson, Leon County: Black bass less than 18 inches in total length must be released immediately.
  • Lake Kerr, including Little Lake Kerr: Black bass caught from 15 to 24 inches in total length must be released immediately. Black bass bag limit is three, of which only one may be 24 inches or longer in total length.
  • Wildcat Lake, Marion County (Ocala National Forest): Black bass must be released immediately.
  • Edward Medard Reservoir, Hillsborough County: Black bass caught from 15 to 24 inches in total length must be released immediately. Black bass bag limit is three.
  • St. Johns River Water Management Area (Farm 13, including the Stick Marsh), Indian River and Brevard counties: Black bass must be released immediately.
  • S.N. Knight Tract, Indian River County (locally known as Kenansville Lake): Black bass must be released immediately.
  • Lake Weohyakapka (Walk-in-Water), Polk County: Black bass from 15 to 24 inches in total length must be released immediately. Black bass bag limit is three, only one of which may be 24 inches in total length or longer.
  • Lake Okeechobee, including Harney Pond Canal (C-41) north of S.R. 78 to water control structure S-71; Indian Prairie Canal (C-40) north of S.R. 78 to water control structure S-72; all of Taylor Creek and Nubbin Slough; C-38 Canal/ Kissimmee River south of water control structure S-65E to S.R. 78, and C-41-A Canal, from the intersection of the C-38 Canal upstream to the S-84 structure, Okeechobee County: Black bass less than 18 inches in total length must be released immediately; crappie (speckled perch) less than 10 inches in total length must be released immediately.
  • Lake Trafford (Collier County): Black bass less than 18 inches in total length must be released immediately. Black bass bag limit is five, only one of which may be 22 inches in total length or longer.

Now that you know the Florida bag and length limits for fish including largemouth bass and peacock bass… here is something important to consider.  There are many debates over whether bass fisherman should keep and eat bass.  One raging debate is about conservation.  Some say bass fisherman keep bass hurts the bass population.  Others say is helps “thin the herd” which is good.

No matter what side of that debate you are on – due to the years and years of dumping in the Florida everglades – there is no way I will eat bass caught there.  Sadly, the Florida everglades is not what it used to be.  Be careful eating what you catch there.

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