Snook On? Release With Caution Please. 

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The recreational harvest season for snook starts tomorrow in waters from Pinellas/Hillsborough counties (including Tampa Bay), south to Gordon Pass in Collier County. It remains catch-and-release due to impacts from red tide. FWC is encouraging anglers to use proper handling methods to help release snook…

Here are some of techniques recommended by FWC:

  • Handle fish as little as possible and only with wet hands. This reduces the removal of fish slime, which protects the fish from infection and aids in swimming. Remember, fish swim horizontally.
  • Never hold a fish by its jaw, gills or eyes.
  • Always release your fish head first into the water. This allows water to be forced through the mouth and over the gills, essentially giving it a “breath of fresh air.”

If you are fishing outside of the catch and release areas, a snook permit, as well as a recreational saltwater license, is required to harvest snook unless the angler is exempt from the recreational license requirements.

Researchers are collecting data on the harvest of snook. If approached by a biologist or if you see a donation cooler marked with “Snook Carcass” at your favorite fishing access point, please provide your filleted snook carcasses. These carcasses provide biological data, including the size, age, maturity and sex of the catch. This information is important to the FWC in completing stock assessments.

For more on snook regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook” or download the Fish Rules App. Learn more at FishRulesApp.com or follow Fish Rules at Instagram.com/FishRulesApp or Facebook.com/FishRulesApp.If you see a fishery violation, call the Wildlife Alert Program at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

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