Florida Fish & Wildlife Resources
FL Fishing Licenses, RSS Newsfeeds, Photos, Wildlife, Fishing Rules / Regulations, Fees & Permits
Marco Island Living presents the latest news and RSS feeds from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. The FL Fish & Wildlife Commission handles the state regulations, licenses and permits for Florida Fresh- Water and Saltwater Fishing, Hunting and Trapping. Find the Florida Fish and Wildlife Department News below.Ask us about Florida Fish and Wildlife or share comments. To feature your business, contact us.
State of Florida Fish & Wildlife News Feed
Southwest FL Fish & Wildlife News
- Boca Grande Pass gear restriction boundary shifts
Boca Grande Pass gear restriction boundary shifts -
Sands shift and when they do, sometimes, buoys must be moved and boundaries changed. That’s what happened recently in Boca Grande Pass. Recent changes to the buoys marking Boca Grande Pass will affect tarpon anglers and others fishing in the Pass during the months of April, May and June.
Earlier this year, several buoys marking Boca Grande Pass were moved by the U.S. Coast Guard to better align with the shifting channel. One buoy specifically (Flashing Red Buoy #12) was a reference point marking the boundaries of Boca Grande Pass for the purposes of specific gear restrictions. Red buoy #12 was removed and replaced with a new buoy (Charlotte Harbor Channel LB 6). This new buoy is about a quarter mile east-southeast of the old buoy.
Regulations that apply within this area defined as Boca Grande Pass include:
- Fishing with gear that has a weight attached to a hook, artificial fly or lure in such a way that the weight hangs lower than the hook when the line or leader is suspended vertically from the rod is prohibited year-round.
- No more than three fishing lines may be deployed from a vessel at any one time during the months of April, May and June.
- No person shall use, fish with or place in the water any breakaway gear during the months of April, May and June.
To learn more about tarpon, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Tarpon.”
- Lake Istokpoga hydrilla and emergent plant treatments scheduled
Lake Istokpoga hydrilla and emergent plant treatments scheduled -
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will conduct aquatic plant control treatments via helicopter on portions of Lake Istokpoga during the first and second weeks of December, weather permitting. Plant species targeted for treatment are hydrilla, water primrose, cattail and pickerelweed.
Hydrilla is an invasive, exotic aquatic plant that is easily spread into other water bodies by clinging to boats and boat trailers. While recreational anglers and waterfowl hunters may see some benefits from the hydrilla there are other potential negative impacts to consider, including negative impacts to beneficial native habitat, navigation, flood control, potable and irrigation water supplies, recreation and the aesthetic qualities of lakes. The FWC attempts to balance these needs while managing hydrilla.
Water primrose, an emergent shoreline species, forms dense stands where cattails and pickerelweed also grow. Water primrose accelerates sedimentation and tussocks formation, which in turn degrades prime fish spawning areas and nesting and foraging habitat for endangered snail kites and other birds. Additionally, tussocks break loose from shoreline areas, float around the lake and push up against docks, flood control structures, irrigation intakes, boat ramps and canals, resulting in property damage, flooding, blocked access and navigation.
On Dec. 2, emergent plants (water primrose, cattail and pickerelweed), located on the long island west of Bumblebee Island, will be treated on 121.5-aces of the lake with Clearcast® and Clipper®. On Dec. 7, Aquathol K™ will be used to treat 900 acres of hydrilla in the northeast cove.
Aquathol K, Clearcast and Clipper are herbicides approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use in lakes. These treatments have no restrictions for fishing, swimming or irrigation.
For answers to questions about this treatment, contact Kelle Sullivan, regional biologist with the FWC’s invasive plant management section, at 863-534-7074.
Capt. Phil DeVille – 10,000 Islands Backwaters - Everglades National Park Fishing Tours, Port of the Islands, Naples, FL | 239-293-5480
Share Captain Phil's passion for the Ten Thousand Islands - Florida Everglades charter fishing trips. Fish for Snook, Red Fish, Trout, Snapper, Flounder and more from a 17' Mitzi Skiff Flats Boatfish. Over 15 varieties of edible fish and great sport fishing. Up to 189 species of birds may be seen in a single trip. View alligators, crocodiles, osprey, eagles, dolphin, and manatee.
Sunshine Tours and Charters, Rose Marina, 951 Bald Eagle Dr., Marco Island FL | 239-642-5415
Sunshine Tours offers the best in Offshore, Back Country and Near Coastal Fishing, Island Shelling and Sightseeing aboard one of our four fishing boats. Since 1984, Sunshine Tours has provide unsurpassed on-the-water experiences for locals and visitors alike. Shared and private fishing charters available.
Double R's Fishing & Tours Co. - 25000 Tamiami Trail East - Port of the Islands, Naples, FL 34114-9602 | 239-642-9779
Experience some of the best charter fishing south Florida has to offer. Our captains have 30+ years of experience to help make your Naples / Marco Island fishing trip one to remember. Fishing in an estuary is a unique esperience! You'll fish for Snook, Red Snapper, Drum Tarpon, Trout, Tripletail, Shark, Grouper, or Pompano. These are just a few of the many species in the 10,000 Islands.
Outgoing Charters - Captain Jesse Hill, Everglades City, Chokoloskee, Port of the Islands, FL | 239-825-6283
At Outgoing Charters the customer comes first. Whether it's family fun or hardcore fishing, Captain Jesse Hill is a 4th generation native guide who will cater to your specific wants and needs. Light tackle, back country fishing in Everglades National Park and the 10,000 Islands. Fish for redfish, snook and more. You'll enjoy a comfortable boat with quality gear. Captain Jesse's ultimate goal is to exceed your expectations.
Southwest FL Fish & Wildlife Fishing News
- Free Kids’ Fishing Clinic in Pensacola promises day of learning, fun
Free Kids’ Fishing Clinic in Pensacola promises day of learning, fun -
Teaching children a lifelong hobby, instilling appreciation for our marine environment and providing fun, family outings are the objectives for the Kids’ Fishing Clinic in Pensacola on April 8.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will offer a free Kids’ Fishing Clinic for children between the ages of 5 and 15 from 9 a.m. to noon at Vince J. Whibbs Sr. Community Maritime Park, 301 W. Main St., near the Blue Wahoos Stadium.
These free clinics enable young people to learn the basics of conservation stewardship, fishing ethics, angling skills and safety. In addition, environmental displays will offer participants a unique chance to experience Florida’s marine life firsthand.
Kids’ Fishing Clinics strive to achieve several goals, but the main objective is to create responsible marine-resource stewards by teaching children about the vulnerability of Florida’s marine ecosystems. In addition, organizers hope to teach fundamental saltwater fishing skills and provide participants a positive fishing experience.
Fishing equipment and bait are provided for kids to use during the clinic, but organizers encourage children who own fishing tackle to bring it. A limited number of rods and reels will be given away to participants upon completion of the clinic.
If conditions allow, participants will have the opportunity to practice their new skills and fish from the pier. This event is a photo catch-and-release activity. An adult must accompany all participants. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. and will end when 350 participants are registered.
Individuals or companies interested in helping sponsor this event or volunteering at the clinic should contact Scot Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or FWC’s Elizabeth Winchester at 850-617-9644.
To find out more about fishing clinics for kids, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing and select the “Youth & Student” option under “Education.”
- Free fishing derby for youth at Tenoroc Fish Management Area
Free fishing derby for youth at Tenoroc Fish Management Area -
Youth and families are invited to a free fishing derby Saturday, April 1, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Tenoroc Fish Management Area and Youth Conservation Center in Lakeland. The event, sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), does not require a fishing license. However, derby participants must preregister by calling the FWC at 863-648-3200, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The FWC wants to hook aspiring anglers on the thrill of fishing. The special event will be conducted on Derby Lake, a 17-acre reclaimed phosphate pit stocked with a variety of freshwater sport fish and catfish. The lake has three fishing piers and a 200-foot boardwalk for fishing, which provides access for anglers with disabilities.
There is a casting contest for kids, and other outdoor activities with prizes donated by local merchants. A free lunch will be provided.
Bait also will be provided free to kids 15 years of age and under. A limited number of loaner rods and reels will be available to this age group. Anglers 16 years of age and older must supply their own bait and tackle.Parents or guardians must accompany children.
For more information on freshwater fishing, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Freshwater Fishing,” or call the FWC’s Lakeland office at 863-648-3200.
- Spiny lobster season closes April 1
Spiny lobster season closes April 1 -
The spiny lobster recreational and commercial season closes to harvest in state and federal waters starting April 1, and will reopen Aug. 6. The two-day recreational sport season is the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July, which is July 26 and 27 this year.
Southwest FL Fish & Wildlife License & Permit News
- Go “wild” with your holiday shopping
Go “wild” with your holiday shopping -
It’s fun and easy to help Florida fish and wildlife, and the wild places they live, when you shop this holiday season. Did you know the proceeds from some gifts directly fund conservation? There are gifts to show your support of wildlife, and gifts that help you carry on the tradition of spending time with family and friends on Florida’s beautiful beaches, waterways and wildlife management areas. Check out our shopping list, because the holidays are almost here!
- Purchase a Florida fishing or hunting license (you can even buy a gift card!) by visiting GoOutdoorsFlorida.com, calling 888-347-4356 or stopping by a participating retailer. There are licenses for residents and visitors including a Youth Gold Sportsman’s License, which is good until a child turns 17. This license locks in the price, and gives a young person bragging rights as a card-carrying sportsman. Hunters and those who enjoy target shooting continue to be an important force in funding wildlife restoration and management. Through the super successful Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, which was passed in 1937, every time hunters and target shooters buy firearms, ammunition and archery equipment, a percentage of that money is designated for conservation. Wildlife Restoration Program dollars are then allocated to state fish and wildlife agencies (such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) for projects that restore, conserve and improve wildlife and their habitats. Giving a license as a gift is a great way to support conservation while putting a smile on the face of an outdoor lover.
- Fishing and boating gifts will not only please anglers on your list, but contribute to fisheries conservation as well! Funds from the purchases of fishing equipment and some boating items are collected and apportioned by the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and help manage America’s fishery resources.
- Florida wildlife T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, art and other gifts are available at WildlifeFlorida.com. Strut apparel featuring your favorite species while supporting the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida at the same time!
- If there’s a hunter in your life who uses a tree stand or other elevated stand, give the gift of safety. Put a big red bow on a full-body fall arrest harness system to protect that hunter from a fall. Learn about tree stand safety and more by taking a Florida hunter safety course.
- For the bird watcher or bird watcher-to-be, check out binoculars, Florida birding guides, T-shirts and the patch which promotes native birds and the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.
- If you give or get a kayak, canoe or paddleboard, make it look extra cool with colorful FWC manatee decals and sea turtle decals. The decals also look great on bikes, backpacks, guitar cases or computers. Available for a $5 donation at county tax collectors’ offices, with more options to order at MyFWC.com/Manatee or MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle.
- Vehicle license plates supporting Florida wildlife and habitats, including “Protect the Panther,” “Conserve Wildlife,” “Helping Sea Turtles Survive,” “Save the Manatee,” “Go Fishing” and “IHUNT” are available at county tax collectors’ offices or at BuyaPlate.com.
- Buy “Planting a Refuge for Wildlife,” the beautifully illustrated booklet that helps people entice butterflies, hummingbirds and other animals into their backyards.
- A personal floatation device, also known as a life jacket, can give someone you care about a safe boating experience. A newer model, such as an inflatable belt pack or suspender-style life jacket, could replace an older, bulkier life jacket.
- Registration of a family member or friend with TrophyCatchFlorida.com, along with the gift of a scale to weigh fish, makes that person eligible for a drawing for a bass boat. And any time a photo of an 8 pound or larger bass is submitted it to TrophyCatch following the rules, the angler contributes valuable conservation information and could be eligible for other prizes.
The purchase of most of these gifts contributes to the research, conservation, management and educational efforts that support Florida fish and wildlife as well as the wild places they live, including wildlife management areas throughout the state. WMAs are great places to visit for wildlife viewing and other recreational activities, including fishing, hunting and hiking, during the holidays and all year-round.
- Melt the butter; spiny lobster seasons start soon
Melt the butter; spiny lobster seasons start soon -
The 2016 spiny lobster season opens with the two-day recreational sport season July 27 and 28, followed by the regular commercial and recreational lobster season, which starts Aug. 6 and runs through March 31.
Planning on catching some of these tasty crustaceans? Here is what you need to know before you go.
No one wants a small lobster for dinner. Make sure you check the size. Measuring devices are required, and lobsters harvested while diving must be measured while they are in the water. If the carapace length is not larger than 3 inches, it must be left in the water (see image on how to measure spiny lobster).
To protect the next generation and your future chances to have lobster for dinner, harvest of egg-bearing females is prohibited. Lobsters have hundreds of thousands of eggs that are easily visible and attached under the tail. While most lobsters have completed reproduction by the start of the fishing season, finding lobsters with eggs is common in July and August.
Stick to the bag and possession limits so there will be enough lobsters for all your friends and family. During the two-day spiny lobster sport season, recreational divers and snorkelers can take up to six lobsters per person daily in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park waters or 12 lobsters per person daily in other Florida waters. You may possess no more than the daily bag limit of lobsters when you are on the water. When you are off the water, you may possess no more than the daily bag limit on the first day of the sport season and no more than double the daily bag limit on the second day. See the chart for an easy-to-read guide on the two-day sport season bag limits. During the Aug. 6-to-March 31 regular season, the daily recreational bag and on-the-water possession limit is six spiny lobsters per person for all Florida waters.
Two-Day Sport Season
Daily bag limit and max number you can possess while on the water
Max number you can possess off the water on July 27
Max number you can possess off the water on July 28
Monroe Co. and Biscayne National Park
All other Florida waters
While the waters may be less crowded at night, diving for spiny lobsters after the sun goes down is not allowed in Monroe County during the two-day sport season.
Know where you can go. Lobster harvest is always prohibited in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Spiny Lobster Sanctuary, certain areas of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. During the two-day season, all harvest of lobster is prohibited throughout John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Visit FloridaKeys.NOAA.gov/regs/mc_lobster.pdf to learn more about areas in Monroe County that are open to spiny lobster harvest.
Bring a cooler big enough to hold the entire lobster. Spiny lobsters must remain in whole condition until they are brought to shore. Also, do not take spiny lobster with any device that might puncture, penetrate or crush its shell.
Have the proper paperwork. A recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit are required to recreationally harvest spiny lobsters unless you are exempt from recreational license requirements. Information about these licenses and permits is available online at MyFWC.com/License or you may purchase your license today at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.
Do double duty while you are in the water and remove invasive lionfish. These nonnative species are often found in the same areas as spiny lobster, and they negatively impact Florida’s native wildlife and habitat. Help keep the lionfish population under control by removing them from Florida waters. If you plan to take lionfish with a spear, be aware of no-spearing zones and always check with your local law enforcement agency before planning your spearfishing trips. Visit MyFWC.com/Lionfish to learn more or to participate in the Lionfish Challenge reward program.
Safety first. Divers, even those who wade in, should stay within 300 feet of a properly displayed divers-down warning device (red with a white diagonal stripe on a flag or buoy, for example) when in open water and within 100 feet of a properly displayed divers-down warning device if on a river, inlet or navigation channel. Boat operators must slow to idle speed if they need to travel within 300 feet of a divers-down warning device in open water or 100 feet of one on a river, inlet or navigational channel.
Divers-down warning symbols displayed on vessels must be at least 20 inches by 24 inches. If you are using a flag, a stiffener is required to keep it unfurled and it must be displayed from the highest point of the vessel, must be visible from all directions and must be displayed only when divers are in the water. So when the divers are out of the water, don’t forget to take it down. Divers-down symbols towed by divers must be at least 12 inches by 12 inches. More information on divers-down warning devices is available online at MyFWC.com/Boating by clicking on “Boating Regulations.”
Additional information on recreational spiny lobster fishing, including how to measure spiny lobster, is available online at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Lobster.”
- FWC requests public input on venomous reptile rules
FWC requests public input on venomous reptile rules -
Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: http://bit.ly/29YqIVc
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants to know the attitude of the public regarding the possession and management of venomous reptiles by zoos, as well as individual residents in their homes. FWC Captive Wildlife staff was directed by the Commission in November 2015 to evaluate existing regulations and develop a range of regulatory options for the Commission’s consideration. In order to effectively receive information and direction from the public, the agency has developed an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/VR-Rule, and will be accepting survey responses and recommendations through July 27, 2016.
“This survey is designed to solicit opinions from members of the public about Florida’s venomous reptile rules, as well as gauge what they think about venomous reptiles being possessed in Florida in general. There are a number of questions designed to gather important input on how we can best move forward on this subject,” said Capt. Kara Hooker with the Captive Wildlife Section.
The FWC has also created a link for recommendations from the public on this subject at MyFWC.com/License/Captive-Wildlife.
FWC staff have been working with a Technical Assistance Group consisting of industry experts and other interested parties to refine proposed changes to existing rules, including a possible venomous reptile classification system. Staff will present a draft rule at a future Commission meeting.
“Our meetings with the TAG have been very productive and now we would like to get additional input from members of the public. This combined data will allow us to present a comprehensive package to help our Commissioners make an informed decision about future venomous reptile rules,” said Hooker.
Based on reviews of existing regulations and recommendations received, proposed changes to the existing rules include modified training, caging and handling requirements to increase biosecurity, and minimizing the risk to licensees and the general public due to escapes and/or bites from venomous reptiles.
Staff will present draft rule language regarding venomous reptile ownership at the September Commission meeting for consideration.
For more information about captive wildlife permitting, visit MyFWC.com/License and click on “Captive Wildlife.”
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