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Commissioner’s Message

Fishing Regulations Florida Freshwater Fishing

The familiar whizzz of the line when you cast, the plop of your bait into the water, and the sigh of relaxation as you breathe in the balmy air and let your worries drift away. This is how great memories start—fishing Florida’s vibrant freshwaters. These experiences unite us under the common goal of conserving Florida’s fisheries so that we can all fish another day. After all, the ultimate goal is always to get out there again.

Freshwater fishing is convenient and makes for a fantastic family outing. It gives us a chance to recharge from our busy days while feeling the quick bump of a bite and the rush of excitement that comes from reeling in that hard-fighting fish. Conserving Florida’s iconic fisheries for future generations will be possible only through a personal commitment from each of us to do our part. Your purchase of a fishing license is a simple way to support conservation. This 2017-2018 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Summary was created as a resource so that you can easily find the regulation information you need for fishing throughout Florida, plus fishing tips from pro anglers, suggestions from biologists on the best places to fish, and information on fishing camps and angler recognition programs.
One of those angler recognition programs is TrophyCatch, which offers great incentives for the catch, document, and release of largemouth bass weighing eight pounds or heavier, in Florida. You can register free for the program at and will automatically be entered to win a random drawing for a new Phoenix bass boat powered by Mercury and anchored by PowerPole. Unprecedented data collected from the more than 5,000 bass submitted to TrophyCatch has assisted the FWC in making informed decisions for the conservation of Florida’s natural resources and pursuing new research opportunities to ensure that Florida remains the Fishing Capital of the World.

If you’re new to fishing Florida’s freshwaters—welcome! If you’ve fished here before, we hope to see you out there one day. We invite each of you to explore and enjoy all that Florida’s freshwater habitats have to offer from the bright sun glimmering off your favorite lake, gliding your canoe or kayak down a crystal clear river, to feeling the tug of a trophy bass while fishing from the bank of your neighborhood pond. More information about freshwater fishing can be found at and you can contact a biologist at one of our regional offices. With more than three million acres of lakes, ponds and reservoirs, and approximately 12,000 miles of fishable rivers, streams and canals, finding a great spot to fish in Florida isn’t far away. So, get out there and enjoy Florida’s excellent fishing!

Brian Yablonski, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Chairman