General Statewide Bag and Length Limits
Special bag and length limits apply to some lakes, rivers (this page) and Fish Management Areas. Other fishes considered to be nongame fishes have no bag or possession limits, except as noted in individual Fish Management Area regulations.
No person shall take in any one day more than the following bag limits of freshwater game fish:
- 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 minimum length limit for largemouth bass.
- No person shall kill or possess any Suwannee, shoal, spotted, or Choctaw bass that is less than 12 inches in total length.
- Chipola River and its tributaries: No person shall kill or possess shoal bass on the Chipola River or its tributaries. Any shoal bass that are caught must be released immediately.
- 50 Panfish including bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), flier, longear sunfish, mud sunfish, shadow bass, spotted sunfish (stumpknocker), warmouth and redbreast sunfish, individually or in total.
- 25 Crappie (speckled perch).
- 20 Striped bass, white bass , and sunshine bass (individually or in total), of which only 6 may be 24 inches or longer in total length.
- In the Suwannee River, areas north and west of the Suwannee River, and in any tributary, creek or stream of the Suwannee River: the bag limit for striped bass is 3, each of which must be at least 18 inches in total length (20 fish combined bag limit)(See map).
- 2 Butterfly peacock bass, only one of which may be 17 inches or longer in total length.
- 10 Alabama shad, American shad, hickory shad, and blueback herring (individually or in total), which may only be taken with hook and line gear.
- 25 American eels, must be nine inches or greater in total length. The recreational bag limit for American eels is 25 per angler per day. Wholesale/Retail purchase exemption. Recreational anglers purchasing American eel as bait may possess more than the legal bag limit provided that the eels were purchased from a licensed dealer.
- No person shall have in his possession more than two days’ bag limit of freshwater game fish (see Rule 68A-23.005 for details).
- Each angler is responsible for his or her own bag limit. It is illegal to transport or possess more than two days’ bag limit of fish per licensed angler without a commercial license. Exceptions are fish legally acquired from aquaculturists (fish farmers) for use in aquaria, for brood stock, pond stocking, or properly marked for the market.
- No native freshwater fish or their eggs may be taken or possessed except as permitted by these rules nor shall anyone wantonly or willfully waste the same.
- It is illegal to possess grass carp or alligator gar without a permit; these fish must be released immediately.
- Keep game fish intact: black bass, striped bass and white bass or their hybrids, peacock bass, or black crappie and panfish (for black crappie and panfish, only in waters where minimum-length or slot-size limits for these fish apply) may not be filleted, nor their head or tail fin removed, until the angler has completed fishing for the day.
Triploid grass carp are used for aquatic vegetation control and may not be stocked or harvested without a permit. They grow to over 40 pounds.
Alligator gar are found only in the panhandle rivers and grow to more than 120 pounds. Their gator–like snout is distinct. Due to their limited numbers, harvest is restricted to individuals with a valid scientific collector’s permit.
The species of sturgeon found in Florida—Atlantic (Acipenser oxyrinchus), Gulf (A. o. desotoi), and shortnose sturgeons (Acipenser brevirostrum)—are protected both federally and in the state of Florida. No person shall take, possess or sell any sturgeon or parts thereof, or their nests or eggs, except as allowed by specific federal or state permit or authorization. People who inadvertently catch one must immediately release it alive back to the water.
Fish images by Duane Raver, Jr.