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Spotted seatrout opens March 1 in Western Panhandle zone

Special to The Star
The Star

Spotted seatrout will reopen to recreational harvest in the new Western Panhandle management zone starting March 1. The zone includes all state and federal waters from Escambia through the portion of Gulf County west of 85 degrees, 13.76 minutes west longitude but NOT including Indian Pass/Indian Lagoon.

This February closure in the Western Panhandle is one of a suite of changes that went into effect Feb. 1, 2020, to address recent downward trends in spotted seatrout populations.

In addition to the closure, the new recreational bag limit for this zone is three fish per person, per day.

The new spotted seatrout size limit statewide is 15 to 19 inches total length, with one over 19 inches per vessel allowed.

Spotted seatrout, red drum and snook remain catch-and-release through May 31, 2021, in waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line south through Gordon Pass in Collier County.

Learn more about spotted seatrout by visiting MyFWC.com/Marine and clicking on “Recreational Regulations” and “Spotted Seatrout.”