Where to find Florida fishing regulations – and what you should know

Like all states, Florida has set rules and regulations that you must adhere to when fishing. These regulations are subject to change from time to time because they are designed to protect the different species and prevent them from being overfished. As the situation changes, the rules will change to match. For this reason, you need to stay updated on the regulations regarding the species you’re fishing and the type of fishing you plan to do.

These laws normally apply to how many fish you’re allowed to keep per fishing trip per day. This is often referred to as the catch and release law because once you caught your limit, you must release any other fish that you catch of the same species. It also refers to the size of the fish. Most species must be a certain size to keep. Anything under that size must be released.

Florida fishing can be an incredible experience and something that you and your family can do together. It’s also a great way to spend the day with friends enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery. However, a day filled with fun and adventure can easily be ruined when you’re hit with huge fines because you broke the fishing regulations.

Where to Find Fishing Regulations for Florida

Obtaining the information you need is not too difficult but it will take some effort on your part. Most sports stores such as Gander Mountain and Bass Pro shop will carry a copy of the fishing rule book that you can pick up to gather the information you need. Some of the bass and tackle shops may carry them as well.

Another way to find this information is to go online and pull up the websites to the “Department of Game and Fishery” or the “Wildlife Resources Commission” for the state of Florida. From the home page you will be directed to the information you seek. If you live near one of the home offices you could visit them in person or if you have any questions, there should be contact information on their site where you can call or send an email requesting the information you need.

Many anglers make the mistake of going over the regulations once and then they don’t check them again. Since these rules are subject to change, this could get you in trouble. It’s vital that you stay updated so you don’t have a perfectly good fishing trip ruined by being fined for something you knew nothing about. It’s up to you to be a responsible fisherman and follow all of Florida’s fishing regulations.

What You Should Know about these Regulations
It’s important to know that the regulations are not the same for all boaters. The rules that govern a small fishing boat may not be the same as it would for a party boat or a charter service. The rules will be different for the different species and the time of year when you’re fishing. For example, many of the rules will be stricter during spawning season than any other time to ensure the fish have a chance to lay their eggs.

It’s important to learn how to identify the different species. Some of them look a lot alike and you may think you have one type of fish when in reality, you have another one. This could result in some stiff fines all because you didn’t take the time to learn how to identify your catch.

Never guess at the size of the fish. You should have a way to measure them to make sure they are not below the legal size. Some will be obvious and you’ll know they’re big enough but some could be close and if you’re checked and they measure below (even a little) the legal size, you will be fined.

You also need a fishing license when fishing in Florida unless you’re under or over a certain age. Fishing without a license if you’re required to have one will result in paying a fine. If you plan on going both saltwater and freshwater fishing, then you’ll need a license for both. One allows you to fish in freshwater and the other

allows you to fish in saltwater and they’re not interchangeable. You’re not allowed to carry saltwater fishing gear with you on a boat when fishing in freshwater either so keep this in mind when preparing for your fishing trip.

Florida fishing regulations must be enforced in order to ensure the species will multiply and grow. Without these laws, many fish species would be overfished to the point of extinction. This is why you will be fined if caught breaking the laws and some of these fines can be very expensive. Learn and obey all the regulations associated with Florida fishing before heading out on your trip for your own sake and for future of the fish.

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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