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Commissioner’s Message

A new era for bass management

Thank you for taking time to review this 2016–17 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Summary. We hope you find the articles and information helpful as you plan your fishing trips in Florida’s abundant lakes, rivers, and ponds. We want to help you and your families enjoy great fishing trips that create lasting memories.

This year will mark a historic period in Florida’s management of largemouth and other black bass species. Statewide regulations for bass have been in existence since 1994 while the number of lakes managed under special regulations has increased. As part of the FWC’s Black Bass Management Plan (, FWC biologists worked for over two years to listen to angler opinions, evaluate bass populations statewide, and develop a proposal that will simplify all bass regulations, meet angler desires, and ensure that Florida continues to produce trophy bass into the future.

This guide is also filled with useful fishing tips from the pros, suggestions on where to go fishing, information about health concerns of eating fish, fishing camps for children and families, and Florida’s Angler Recognition Programs. Our TrophyCatch Program has entered its fourth season, rewarding anglers for catching, photodocumenting, and releasing largemouth bass weighing over eight pounds ( We are grateful to all our anglers and partners who make TrophyCatch a successful example of citizen-science to conserve our valuable trophy bass fisheries.

If you are a visiting angler to Florida, welcome! More information about freshwater fishing can be found at our website ( Please contact our closest Regional Office to speak to one of our biologists. Great fishing is always close by in Florida, all you need to do is enjoy!

Freshwater Rule Changes

Statewide black bass rules have been changed.

The new statewide bag and length limits for black bass are: 5 Black bass (including largemouth, Suwannee, spotted, Choctaw, and shoal bass, individually or in total), only one of which may be 16 inches or longer in total length. There is no statewide minimum length limit for largemouth bass.

Regulations for black bass species including Suwannee, shoal, spotted, and Choctaw bass have been changed.

No person shall kill or possess any Suwannee, shoal, spotted, or Choctaw bass that is less than 12 inches in total length.

Shoal Bass Conservation Zone

Chipola River: No person shall kill or possess any shoal bass in the section between Peacock Bridge and Johnny Boy Landing.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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