State flounder fishing ban goes into effect

Anglers fishing in the Laguna Madre. By Diana Eva Maldonado, Coastal Current Weekly

Alarmed by a population drop in one of the most popular fish species in the state, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has announced a ban on taking flounder which begins Monday and will last through Dec. 15.

The ban means flounder cannot be in an angler’s possession.

The dates for the new ban occur in the fish’s primary spawning season, and TPWD biologists hope the reprieve from fishing pressure maximizes the chances of increasing the species’ numbers.

On Dec. 15, the normal year-round season for flounder will be reinstated, with a 15-inch length limit which became effective in 2020.

The new ban on flounder fishing comes during what had been the peak time for anglers to target the prized flounder. Concentrations of fish during their spawning run make them easier targets for a full stringer.

“We cannot regulate any factor other than harvest,” said Robin Riechers, TPWD coastal fisheries division director. “By allowing more fish to spawn, we preserve as much recruitment potential as possible and help maintain a sustainable fishery into the future.”

Texas Game Wardens will be writing citations for any angler found in possession of flounder for the next six weeks.

Biologists with TPWD have been concerned about flounder populations for two decades, and have instituted changes in length and bag limits intended to help the population recover.

rkelley@valleystar.com