FWC approves proposed black crappie regulations

At its May meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) unanimously approved staff moving forward with proposed regulations changes to size and/or bag limits for black crappie on specific Florida waterbodies.

FWC’s freshwater fisheries management staff recommend:

Removing the 12-inch minimum length limit on Lake Jackson (Osceola County).
Removing specific size and bag limits on the following Fish Management Areas (they will return to statewide regulations of 25 fish daily bag limit and no minimum size limit):

Montgomery Lake
Watertown Lake
Suwannee Lake
Hardee County Park
Bobby Hicks Park Pond
Gadsden Park Pond
Manatee Lake
Largo Central Park Nature Preserve

“Anglers fish for specks (black crappie) when they want to have a fish fry,” said FWC Commissioner Gary Lester. “Black crappie remains a popular target for anglers and we commend staff’s dedication to ensuring crappie fisheries thrive in Florida.”

Staff completed a Black Crappie Management Plan in 2019 that called for a comprehensive review of black crappie regulations. Staff reviewed the biological aspects of regulations and gathered stakeholder input. While many anglers asked for a statewide minimum length limit, biological data indicated such a regulation would not improve most fisheries across the state and would unnecessarily restrict angler harvest opportunities on many waterbodies. Therefore, no statewide length limit was proposed.

FWC staff will advertise opportunities to provide additional public input before bringing final rule language for consideration at a future Commission meeting.

If you have questions about the proposed rules or the Black Crappie Management Plan, send an email to Crappie@MyFWC.com. Visit MyFWC.com/crappiemanagement for more information.