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Fishing the Stormwater Treatment Areas

Howdy!  I'm more active on the hunting forum and live in the west central region.  Wanted to pop over here because this affects your region.

I was curious how many of you know about the STAs south of okeechobee?  And how you feel about the fact that access for fishing them is highly restricted?  There is 57,000 acres making up the STAs alone!  Only a tiny, tiny fraction of that is accessible for fishing. And where you are allowed to fish, it's catch and release only...

Thing is, at least STA2 is purportedly overpopulated with Tilapia now.  Apparently it is a problem for the system and they need to figure out how to reduce the population.  But they currently don't allow fishing...

Also, anyone know why it's catch and release only, where allowed? 
There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.

Replies

  • bmoodybmoody Posts: 987 Officer

    The STAs are not catch and release only.  The district may have signs up encouraging it, but I don't think you'll be able to quote anywhere in the F.A.C. that requires it.

    I'd love to see more folks taking advantage of the fishing opportunities offered around the STAs.  I'd also like to see more people asking, as you are, why there are so many restrictions to accessing fishing in the STAs.

    I think it is crazy that FWC officers make over the bag limit and trespass cases at the same time in the STAs.

  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,722 Captain
    "Can I fish in STAs? Catch and release fishing is allowed from the banks inside the levees at STA-1E. Fishing is allowed by boat or from the bank in the perimeter canals of STA-1W and 3/4 in Palm Beach County. Fishing is not allowed at Taylor Creek STA in Okeechobee County, Lakeside Ranch STA in Martin County and STA-5/6 in Hendry County, or inside the levees at any STA except catch and release at STA-1E."

    from
    https://www.sfwmd.gov/sites/default/files/documents/q_and_a_sta_what_to_know.pdf
    There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,722 Captain
    I guess i did read it wrong.  I suppose STA-1W and 3/4 would allow take.
    There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.
  • bmoodybmoody Posts: 987 Officer
    You haven't quoted FAC, but I totally understand why you accept your source.  I don't believe SFWMD has the authority to require catch and release fishing -- that is setting the bag limit and only FWC can do that.  There is no rule in 68A-23 FAC that requires catch and release at any STA.  They can prevent you from entering, but can't regulate catch/length/bag stuff, once they have allowed fishing.

    Looks like there might be a good discussion for the WRAC Rec Issues workshop/forum.
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,722 Captain
    My next question was going to be, what is FAC lol.  I couldn't find what it was for the life of me.  Paired with the rule #, I got it.  I'm not used to looking to the Florida Administrative Code because every WMA has it's own regulations, which are enforced by FWC, even though they often conflict with FAC.....

    Apparently, access to the STAs was lobbied for and what little access is now available, is the result of that lobbying.

    I'm a little late to the party I guess.. I just found it astonishing that there are 57K acres of wetlands that for all intensive purposes, are off limits to public use.  Kinda lit my fire...

    BTW, I contacted SFWMD to get a reason for the catch and release rule.  I was told that was old info, and needs to be updated.  That you can keep your catch now. 

    The access still sucks.
    There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.
  • bmoodybmoody Posts: 987 Officer
    Sorry -- Florida Administrative Code.  It is the law book.  The WMA brochures and the regulation booklets you pick up are just summaries of the FAC.  You should be able to find all the WMA rules in 68D (or maybe C or E?).

    The access question is always open to be revisited, there just has to be enough interest from the users to force it.  Email SFWMD for more access.
  • Once you figure out the legal issues, here is the best tip.

    Water quality is much better the further South you go in any STA since in this area, they all flow N-S. You can  clearly notice the water quality improvement and it also shows in the fish. Much higher quality bass in the South end if and when you can fish them.

    And yes, STA 2 is loaded with tilapia and the are huge! But, we always see some quality nice bass when we work in the STA's.

    We do UW inspection services for SFWMD so we get to see a lot of what's in the water out there.

  • MakoLogicMakoLogic Posts: 628 Officer
    Wait...people eat tilapia?? Eww.  You ever see what they eat?  Sorry, I'm kind of a fish snob just stirring the pot.
    Fisherman, outdoors enthusiast, and software geek (not necessarily in that order, depending on the day)
    www.makologic.com
    [email protected]

    Formerly TxToFl...
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