Red Snapper in Texas State Waters Will Reopen January 1st 2024

Monday, Nov 20, all snapper fishing in state-controlled waters, which extend nine miles into the gulf, will be illegal. The season will resume Jan. 1.

“While we are disappointed to close state waters earlier than we had hoped, the pattern of prolonged federal seasons highlights the success of Texas’ state-managed red snapper fishery,” said TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division Director Robin Riechers in a news release.

“This year, anglers had a chance to take advantage of a 93-day federal season. Also, unusually calm offshore conditions in early June and July allowed anglers to catch red snapper at a higher rate than in 2022,” Riechers added.

The good news, for anglers in this part in the state anyway, is that the snapper pickings in this part of the Gulf — at least in the state-controlled waters — are unremarkable when compared to those further south along the coast.

“South Texas, [from] Port Aransas down to Brownsville, South Padre, has a viable state-water snapper fishery; but the upper coast, where most of the people live, the water’s too shallow inside that nine miles,” said Scott Hickman, who runs the Galveston-based Circle H Outfitters.

“I’m not saying there’s not snapper there, there’s just not many,” he added. “We just don’t have a viable state-waters season on the upper coast.”

Hickman said the ideal habitat, or “Goldilocks zone,” for red snapper is between 90 and 300 feet of water. “Of course we have a lot of that depth on the upper coast,” he explained. “We have a tremendous number of upper and midcoast red snapper in federal waters, but we don’t have a lot in state waters like they do in South Texas.”