The Ultimate Guide to Legal Fish in Texas

Looking to add some variety to your seafood repertoire? Check out our guide to the best legal fish in Texas. From catfish to tilapia, we’ve got you covered.

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Anglers fishing in Texas waters need to be aware of the laws and regulations governing fishing. These laws are designed to conserve fish populations so that they can be enjoyed by future generations.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) regulates fishing in Texas. Anyone age 17 and Older must have a valid Texas fishing license to fish in public waters. A license is not required to fish from a public pier or from land that is owned or leased by the state, such as state parks. A fishing license can be obtained online or at any TPWD office or retail license agent.

There are different types of fishing licenses available, including annual, short-term, senior citizen, disabled veteran, and combination hunting and fishing licenses. The type of license you need depends on the type of fish you want to catch and how long you plan to fish. Some licenses also allow you to hunt deer or turkey in addition to fishing.

In addition to having a valid fishing license, anglers must also follow size and bag limits for each type of fish. Size limits ensure that fish are old enough to reproduce before they are caught, while bag limits help prevent overharvesting of popular species.

It is also important to know where you can and cannot fish. Each body of water in Texas has its own set of rules regarding access, season dates, and baits and lures that can be used. Some waters may be closed entirely to protect sensitive habitats or threatened or endangered species.

The following guide provides an overview of the most popular gamefish in Texas, as well as information on size and bag limits, seasons, and locations where they can be found. With this information, you can ensure a fun and legal fishing trip for the whole family.

What is the Texas Open Water Bag and Size limit?

The daily bag limit is the maximum number of a single species or a combination of different species of fish, shellfish, or other aquatic invertebrates that one person can legally harvest in a single day. The possession limit is the maximum number of fish (of a given species or combination of species) that one person can legally have in their possession, whether fresh or frozen, whether filleted or whole.

In Texas, you are allowed to keep up to 5 game fish per day with no more than 3 from a single body of water. You may only keep 1 alligator gar per day and there is no size limit for this fish. All other game fish have a 14-inch minimum length limit except for blue catfish, Channel catfish, flathead catfish, and white bass which have an 18-inch minimum length limit. For a more detailed list visit:

The maximum number of blue crabs that can be taken per day is 35 by traps only. There is no daily bag or possession limit for crab taken by dip net, cast net or by hand as long as it does not exceed the limits for taking fish by these means (5 game fish/day with no more than 3 from any one body of water). For additional information on fishing for blue crabs visit:

What is the Texas Saltwater Bag and Size limit?

The Texas Saltwater Bag and Size limit is the maximum amount of a certain fish species that a person can take from Texas waters in a single day. The bag limit is the maximum number of fish of a certain species that an individual can possess at any one time, regardless of whether they are caught in Texas or brought in from another state.

The size limit is the minimum length (measured from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail) that a fish must be in order to legally keep it. Only one fish per day per person may be taken over the specified minimum length.

The following saltwater fish have a bag limit of five fish per person per day, with no minimum size limit: black drum, flounder, red drum (redfish), sheepshead, and spotted seatrout (speckled trout). All other saltwater game fish have a bag limit of four fish per person per day.

Some common saltwater game fish found in Texas waters include: blue marlin, black Drum, catfish (all species), flounder, grouper, king mackerel, mangrove snapper, pompano, red snapper, sailfish, sharks (all requiem species), sheepshead, Spanish mackerel, speckled trout (spotted seatrout), swordfish, tilefish, tuna (all species), yellowtail snapper.

What is the Texas Alligator Gar Bag and Size limit?

Alligator gar are opportunistic feeders, preying on a wide variety of fish, but prefer live fish. Due to their large size, they were once a popular game fish. Alligator gar are the largest species in the gar family, and can reach lengths of 10 feet (3.0 m) or more and weights of over 300 pounds (140 kg). Females grow much larger than males and can live for over 50 years.

The Texas alligator gar bag limit is 2 fish per person with a minimum size limit of 36 inches.

What is the Texas Amberjack Bag and Size limit?

Amberjack is a saltwater fish that lives in the Gulf of Mexico. It is a member of the jack family, which includes fish such as yellowfin tuna and mahi mahi. The Texas amberjack limit is 2 fish per person with a minimum size of 28 inches.

What is the Texas Blue Catfish Bag and Size limit?

The Texas blue catfish bag limit is 25 fish per person, per day. There is no minimum size limit for blue catfish in Texas.

What is the Texas Red Drum Bag and Size limit?

The Texas Red Drum bag limit is 5 fish per person, with a minimum size limit of 18 inches and a maximum size limit of 30 inches. The daily bag and possession limit for red drum in Texas is 5 fish per person. All fish must be at least 18 inches long and no more than 30 inches long.

What is the Texas Snapper Bag and Size limit?

The Texas snapper bag limit is 5 fish per person with a minimum size limit of 16 inches.

What is the Texas Spotted Seatrout Bag and Size limit?

The spotted seatrout, also called speckled trout, is a popular saltwater fish found in bays along the Texas coast. It is related to other seatrout speciesfound in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic coast of the United States. The Texas spotted seatrout is distinguished from other seatrout by the number and distribution of spots on its body. The back, upper sides, and dorsal fin of this fish are covered with numerous small spots; whereas, other seatrouts have few or no spots on their dorsal fins.

What is the Texas Tarpon Bag and Size limit?

The Texas tarpon bag limit is two fish per person per day, with a minimum size limit of 75 inches fork length. The Texas tarpon size limit is the largest of any state in the Gulf of Mexico, and the bag limit is twice the size of most other states in the region.

What is the Texas Shark Bag and Size limit?

Since sharks are such a large and popular fish in Texas, there are special regulations in place to help control their numbers. The state has a Shark Bag and Size limit, which helps to ensure that only a certain number of sharks are caught each year.

The Texas Shark Bag and Size limit is designed to protect the state’s shark population from overfishing. This limits the amount of sharks that can be caught each year, and helps to ensure that the population remains healthy. The bag limit for sharks is two per person, per day. The size limit is 4 feet 6 inches total length for all species of sharks.

These regulations help to keep the shark population healthy, and allow people to enjoy fishing for these magnificent creatures.

What is the Texas Swordfish Bag and Size limit?

In Texas, the swordfish bag limit is 1 fish per person, per day, with a minimum size limit of 47 inches fork length. Swordfish must be landed whole and in one piece. The use of barbless hooks is required when fishing for swordfish in federal waters (3-200 nautical miles).


After reading this guide, you should now have a good understanding of the different types of fish that are legal to catch in Texas. Remember to always check the regulations before heading out on your fishing trip, as they can change from time to time. And most importantly, have fun and enjoy your time spent outdoors!

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