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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

  • Reminder: 2017 bay scallop season closure starts Sept. 25
    Reminder: 2017 bay scallop season closure starts Sept. 25 -

    The 2017 recreational bay scallop season will close Sept. 25 in all state waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line to the Suwannee River Alligator Pass Daybeacon 4 in Levy County, and from north and west of Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County.

    For updates and more information on bay scallops, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”

    2017ScallopZoneswithoutdates.jpg

  • Free family fishing day held at Suncoast Youth Conservation Center
    Free family fishing day held at Suncoast Youth Conservation Center -

    Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: http://bit.ly/2noJiMc

     

    Youth and families are invited to learn the basics of saltwater fishing for free Saturday, April 8, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center, 6650 Dickman Road, Apollo Beach.

    This free family fishing event, which is available to participants 7 years and older, is limited to 30 people and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Register now by emailing Samantha.Teehan@MyFWC.com.

    This event will loan participants all the necessary gear and tackle, and have instructors there to teach casting, knot tying, choosing lures and bait, and creating basic fishing rigs as well as how to throw a cast net.

    The Suncoast Youth Conservation Center, is a marine-focused conservation education center on the shores of Tampa Bay that provides exciting learning opportunities for youth and families. It’s part of the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, an FWC program dedicated to Creating the Next Generation That Cares about fish and wildlife conservation. This successful program works with 350 partners to introduce kids throughout Florida to fishing, boating, shooting sports and wildlife discovery.

Captain Phil DeVille Fishing Charters
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.
View Website


Sunshine Fishing Charters Marco Island FL
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.
Visit Website

Double R's Fishing and Tour Company
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.
Visit Website


Outgoing Charters Captain Jesse Hill
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.
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Everglades Fishing Captains | FL Fishing Charters

Southwest FL Fish & Wildlife Fishing News

  • Free Women’s Saltwater Fishing Clinic coming up in
    Free Women’s Saltwater Fishing Clinic coming up in -

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting a Women’s Saltwater Fishing Clinic in Crystal River on Saturday, Oct. 7.

    The free, day-long clinic is from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Fort Island Trail Park, 12073 W. Fort Island Trail, Crystal River.

    Advance registration is required. To register or get more information, email Heather Sneed at Heather.Sneed@MyFWC.com, or call 850-487-0554.

    Participants will take home a lifelong hobby and leave with a new appreciation for the marine environment. They will learn the basics of conservation stewardship, fishing ethics, angling skills, safety and the vulnerability of Florida’s marine ecosystems in a fun, laid-back atmosphere.

    Lessons include knot tying, cast netting, rod and reel rigging, how to be a responsible marine resource steward, marine fish and habitat identification, catch-and-release techniques and more.

    If conditions allow, women will have the opportunity to practice their newly learned skills by fishing from shore. This event is a catch-and-release activity. All participants must have a valid recreational saltwater fishing license unless exempt. Saltwater fishing licenses can be purchased at your local tackle shop or online. Learn more by visiting MyFWC.com/License.

    Fishing equipment and bait are provided during the clinic but participants are encouraged to bring their own gear.

  • Hey, kids! Let’s go fishing!
    Hey, kids! Let’s go fishing! -

    It’s time for the annual Lake Eaton Kids’ Fishing Derby at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Ocala Conservation Center and Youth Camp. The derby will be held Saturday, Oct. 14, starting at 8:30 a.m. for children ages 6-12.

    Advance registration is required, and space is limited to the first 100 children, who will also get a free derby T-shirt. To sign up, call the FWC’s Northeast Regional Office in Ocala at 352-732-1225 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., weekdays. The Ocala Conservation Center is 8.5 miles north of State Road 40 off County Road 314 in the Ocala National Forest.

    Everything the kids need to fish, including cane poles, bait and instruction, will be provided by the FWC. The kids will fish from a pier. For safety reasons and to avoid tangled lines, do not bring your own rod and reel to this event.

    In addition to fishing, there will be a casting contest, an arts and crafts activity, and an all-time favorite called “Bugs and Critters.” In this activity, the kids get to wade into the lake with dip nets and scoop up fish, bugs and other aquatic critters. An FWC biologist uses the experience to teach kids about the aquatic ecosystem. The kids will get wet, so they should bring a change of clothes and proper footwear.

    The FWC wants to thank its partners; without their support, this derby would not be possible. Partners are the Marion County Parks and Recreation, city of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department, U.S. Forest Service, Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, Fish Florida, Conrad Tree Service, and Pollard Bait Co. in Leesburg.

  • Gulf County bay scallop season to open Sept. 23
    Gulf County bay scallop season to open Sept. 23 -

    Suggested Tweet: Gulf County #scallop season to open Sept. 23. @MyFWC: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/1b85a4d #Florida 

    The Gulf County bay scallop season will open to harvest Sept. 23. The 2017 season was postponed earlier this year due to a naturally occurring algae bloom (Pseudo-nitzschia) in St. Joseph Bay that affects shellfish. Recent samples have indicated that the scallops in St. Joseph Bay are safe for human consumption and meet FDA requirements for opening harvest in the bay. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will continue testing of the bay.

    The 2017 season will be open for 16 days, with the last day of harvest being Oct. 8 and closing Oct. 9. This season opening includes all state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles) from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County. All other regulations apply, including a daily bag limit of 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel.

    The scallop population in Gulf County is also still recovering from a 2015 red tide.  Restoration efforts are underway in the southeast area of the bay south of Black’s Island. Swimming, boating, fishing or scalloping in the restoration area marked with FWC buoys is prohibited. The recent Pseudo-nitzschia algal bloom is not expected to impact the scallop population.

    The bay scallop season for Gulf County was originally scheduled to open July 25 and close Sept. 10.

    For updates and more information on bay scallops, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”

    In areas outside of Gulf County, waters from the Pasco-Hernando County line to the Suwannee River and from the Fenholloway River in Taylor County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County will close to harvest Sept. 25. The bay scallop season in state waters from the Fenholloway River in Taylor County to the Suwannee River in Dixie County closed Sept. 10.

    Help FWC’s scallop researchers by completing an online survey at svy.mk/bayscallops. Harvesters can indicate where they harvest scallops, how many they collect and how long it takes to harvest them. Participants can email BayScallops@MyFWC.com to ask questions or send additional information.

    Learn more about long-term trends in the open and closed scalloping areas by visiting MyFWC.com/Research and clicking on “Saltwater,” “Molluscs,” “Bay Scallops” and “Season.”  

Southwest FL Fish & Wildlife License & Permit News

  • FWC seeks input on conserving Florida burrowing owls in urban landscapes
    FWC seeks input on conserving Florida burrowing owls in urban landscapes -

    Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: https://flic.kr/s/aHskZUQWTU External Website

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold open-house style public meetings in June to provide information and gather input on the agency’s development of Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines for the Florida burrowing owl

    In January, the listing status of the Florida burrowing owl changed from Species of Special Concern to state Threatened, as part of rule changes implementing the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management Plan approved in November 2016. 

    The meetings will focus primarily on the process for developing permitting guidelines and on interim permitting processes for Florida burrowing owls in urban areas. The burrowing owl’s habitat was once native dry prairies, but today this owl is as likely to be found in open areas of urban and suburban landscapes. They dig their own burrows, but also may move into the burrows of other species, such as the gopher tortoise, or occasionally inhabit manmade structures such as pipes and drains.

    “The FWC is inviting the public to meet with us, ask questions and offer input about the regulatory process and permitting guidelines for burrowing owls,” said Craig Faulhaber, the FWC’s avian conservation coordinator.

    The burrowing owl meetings are scheduled for:

    • June 14, 4 to 7 p.m., Cape Coral Lee County Public Library, 921 SW 39th Terrace, Cape Coral 33914. 
    • June 15, 4 to 6:45 p.m., Marco Island Library (Rose Hall), 210 S. Heathwood Drive, Marco Island 34145.

    The meetings will be an open-house format so members of the public are welcome to come and go at any time.

    FWC staff at the meetings will provide information on the protections that apply to burrowing owls, the process of developing Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines, and the interim permitting process until guidelines for this species are in place.

    The Florida burrowing owl lives primarily in peninsular Florida and is the only burrowing owl east of the Mississippi River. As one of 57 species in the Imperiled Species Management Plan, the burrowing owl has a Species Action Plan that describes its biology, habitats and the FWC’s goals and actions for conserving this threatened species.

    Learn more about the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management Plan at MyFWC.com/Imperiled.

  • 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.comExternal Website 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 External Website 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 External Website 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 TrailExternal Website
    • 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  External Websiteand 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.comExternal Website
    • 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,  External Websitealong 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

    Where?

    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

    6

    6

    12

     

    All other Florida waters

    12

    12

    24

     

    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 External Website 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.comExternal Website

    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.”

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