Note to Mississippi fishermen who catch speckled trout in Louisiana waters and then return to port in the Magnolia State: Do not stop and fish once you enter Mississippi waters.
Since Jan. 15, when Mississippi enacted its new, longer, 15-inch minimum length limit on speckled trout in state waters, fishermen have wondered about the legality of bringing undersized fish across state lines.
Louisiana’s minimum length remains 12 inches, and, with the way the border runs through the Gulf of Mexico, many Mississippians make a short run across the state line to the fish-rich waters of Louisiana’s Biloxi marsh.
According to Mississippi Department of Marine Resources spokesperson Melissa Scallan, fishermen in such a position will not be ticketed if they meet two criteria: all fishermen in the boat of license age must have a valid Louisiana fishing license, be it resident or non-resident, boats transporting trout under 15 inches across Mississippi’s coastal waters must not stop to fish once crossing the border.
The same applies to the creel limits. Louisiana’s daily speckled trout limit is 25 per angler, while Mississippi’s is only 15 per angler. Fishermen with Louisiana licenses can transport the higher limit across Mississippi waters but they must not stop and fish once crossing the line.
If you are going to claim that your fish came from Louisiana, you better have a Louisiana license.
Later in the spring and summer, the change could impact some Mississippi charter boat captains, at least those who target shallow water species like trout early and finish the day fishing for tripletail.
“It could be a problem for some captains who fish for tripletails in Mississippi waters,” said Capt. Ronnie Daniels of Fisher-Man Guide Service in Bay St. Louis. “Fortunately, it won’t affect me because I do all of my tripletail chasing in Louisiana before I cross the line coming home.
“They’re just going to have to be careful.”