Florida Catch & Release rules in place for Snook, Redfish and Spotted Seatrout (Red Tide/Fish Management)

Snook have been plentiful during 2020 fishing trips.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will extend catch-and-release measures for snook, red drum and spotted seatrout for an additional year via an Executive Order.

All three species will remain catch-and-release through May 31, 2021, in all waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line south through Gordon Pass in Collier County.

Snook fishing in Southwest Florida (Fort Myers, Lee County) has been very good in 2020, but anglers are required by recently revised Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation law to release all snook, redfish and spotted sea trout that they catch through May 2021.  Forrest Fisher Caption and Photo

These temporary regulation changes were made to help conserve these popular inshore species that were negatively impacted by a prolonged red tide that occurred in late 2017 through early 2019.

Learn more about regulations for these species by visiting MyFWC.com/Marine and clicking on “Recreational Regulations.”

View the Commission meeting presentation at MyFWC.com/Commission by clicking on “Commission Meetings” and the agenda under “February 19-20, 2020.”

 Red Tide Map_050119


Soutwest Florida spotted seatrout remains CATCH & RELEASE ONLY through May 31, 2020

Spotted seatrout will remain catch-and-release through May 31, 2020, in waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line south through Gordon Pass in Collier County. This includes all waters of Tampa Bay. Red drum and snook are also included in these red tide-related catch-and-release measures. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several rule changes for spotted seatrout at its December Commission meeting that will go into effect across the state Feb. 1, 2020, but these new rule changes do not replace the current catch-and-release only measures in southwest Florida. 

Spotted seatrout will remain catch-and-release only in that region through May 31, 2020, even after the new statewide regulations go into effect Feb. 1. 

The Commission plans to discuss the catch-and-release measures for southwest Florida at its February meeting and may consider reopening snook early.

At its May meeting in Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) extended several fisheries management conservation measures for red drum, snook and spotted seatrout in areas of southwest Florida impacted by a prolonged red tide that occurred from November 2017 through mid-February 2019.

The extension for red drum, snook and spotted seatrout will go into effect May 11 and will apply from the Pasco-Hernando county line south (including all waters of Tampa Bay) through Gordon Pass in Collier County. Previously approved catch-and-release measures, including no harvest of spotted seatrout over 20 inches, remain in effect through May 10.

Changes effective May 11:

  • Snook and red drum will remain catch-and-release only for an additional year through May 31, 2020.
  • Spotted seatrout will be catch-and-release only, including no commercial harvest through May 31, 2020.

The approved changes will give these important fisheries additional time to recover from red tide. Staff will continue monthly monitoring of local red drum, snook and spotted seatrout populations throughout the coming year to help determine whether these species are rebuilding under the temporary management measures.

Staff will also revisit the snook extension in early 2020 to determine if that species may be reopened to harvest earlier than May 31, 2020.

The staff has been working with partners including Coastal Conservation Association Florida, Duke Energy and Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium to raise and release red drum and snook into southwest Florida waters to help address red tide impacts.

Learn more about these and other fisheries at MyFWC.com/Marine.

Links for more information:

Earn $100 Reward in North Carolina Fishing Program


The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries is offering anglers a special reward for reporting and returning any tags caught with certain fish species Division researchers are studying the migration, growth, habitat use and population status of striped bass, red drum, spotted sea trout and southern flounder in North Carolina.  Other recent division tagging studies include dolphin, yellow perch and white perch.  
Such fish tagging programs are a vital part of a fishery manager’s tools for assessing fish populations. Conducted properly, tagging can yield a wealth of information about movement patterns, habitat utilization, population structure and mortality rates of fish.  
All fishermen who encounter tagged fish are asked to return the tag data.  It is only through returned tag and species information that the division collects the data necessary for this tagging program to succeed.


When you encounter a tagged fish, please cut off the tag(s), then write down the tag number, catch date, location and total length of the fish.  Save the tag and other information, and call the division at 800-682-2632 or report the tag on-line at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/report-tag-online Those who return red tags to the division with the catch information will receive a $100 reward.  Those returning yellow tags will receive a hat, $5 or other reward.  All tag returns are also entered into a division end of year drawing.


This study began on July 1, 2014. This project is funded through the Coastal Recreational Fishing License program.

Hats off to the principal investigators that include Steve Poland – Spotted Seatrout (Steve.Poland@ncdenr.gov); Sean Darsee – Striped Bass (Sean.Darsee@ncdenr.gov); Michael Loeffler – Southern Flounder (Michael.Loeffler@ncdenr.gov); Lee Paramore – Red Drum (Lee.Paramore@ncdenr.gov); Laura Lee – Stock Assessment (Laura.Lee@ncdenr.gov).