The FWC also provides fishery management for other local, state,
and national agencies such as The
Northwest Florida Water
Management District , Eglin AFB Natural Resources
Management  (Jackson Guard), and the Florida Forest Service.
A fish management area (FMA) is a pond, lake or other body of water
established for the management of freshwater fish as a cooperative
effort with the local agency. The FWC's Division of Freshwater
Fisheries manages about 80 water bodies throughout the state
that are designated as Fish Management Areas.

We are in the Northwest region of FWC. Some FWC managed
lakes have additional rules, make sure you check for that lake.
FISHING REGULATIONS WITHIN FEDERAL WATERS                         (9 nautical miles from the Florida coast line)

                                           As with all things involved with the federal government, you have a lot of agencies involved.   The main federal
                                           governing agency for the northern Gulf of Mexico is the
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.  The
                                           Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council manages fisheries in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico
                                           Exclusive Economic Zone. From Texas and Florida, federal waters begin nine nautical miles out, and from
                                           Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, federal waters begin three nautical miles out. Federal waters extend to
                                           the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.  The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight
                                           regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.
                                           (Better known as the
Magnuson-Stevens Act).

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, is
                                           responsible for the conservation and management of fish stocks within the federal 200-mile limit in the
                                           southern Gulf of Mexico to the keys. Federal waters then change to 3 nautical miles from the coast and
                                           proceeds up along the east coast of Florida to the northern boundary of North Carolina. They also manage the
                                           Highly Migratory Species Permit for the entire Gulf of Mexico.

It gets pretty confusing, you need to call the folks above if you have specific questions.
FLORIDA - State Freshwater Fishing Regulations                             FLORIDA - State Saltwater Fishing Regulations
The days when you could go fishing and keep all of your fish are long gone. As commercial and
recreational fishermen have increased catch pressure on our limited fishing resources, various
government agencies have instituted more rules and regulations in an attempt to maintain a
sustainable fishing stock.  A difficult balancing act with a lot of opinions and controversy.  However,
for the common recreational fisherman, you must be aware of the rules and regulations governing
you or you will be facing some hefty fines and other penalties.

There are two main government agencies that make the rules for our area.

State of Florida:  Makes the rules for all freshwater fishing in the state of
Florida, and for all saltwater fishing out to
nine nautical miles from the
Florida coast line in the Gulf of Mexico (Note: Florida's state waters only
go out to three nautical miles from Key West north along the Atlantic side
of Florida).  The Florida agency that makes and enforces the Florida
regulations is the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,
better known as the FWC.

Other states: Texas state waters also go out to 9 Nautical miles, but
Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana state waters end at
nautical miles.

The waters that are governed by each state are considered that state's

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council:  Makes the rules for all
saltwater fishing in the Gulf of Mexico from
nine NAUTICAL miles out to
200 Nautical miles from the coastline. Its boundary begins at Key West
and goes north along the Gulf of Mexico's coast line. These waters are
referred to as FEDERAL WATERS. The federal waters may also be
referred to as the Exclusive Economic Zone.  While the Gulf Council does
have some law enforcement officers, most of the enforcement is done by
the state FWC officers.

Florida Freshwater Regulations

A basic explanation of
(or most) of the
regulations and rules
governing fishing in the
Destin area

    (Good Luck !!!)      

Last Updated: Feb 2014
Fishing Destin Guide©

A local's guide to fishing around Destin and the Florida Panhandle    

Known as the "luckiest fishing village", Destin is the home to some of the best saltwater fishing in the United States. The 100 Fathom  (600' depth) Curve of the Gulf of Mexico draws closer
to Destin than any other spot in Florida. This, along  with  Destin's close  proximity  to  the East  Pass  and  the Gulf  of Mexico, allows quick access to the Gulf of Mexico's  fishing bounty.  
The  purpose  of  this site  is  to acquaint a new fisherman  to  the Destin area  -  our local facilities, fish, waters and fishing methods. Tight lines and good fishing!
Saltwater rules change often - seasons close/open, a fish can be too
short or too long, and the federal government has a big impact,i.e.,
Red Snapper. For the most part, you can go to the
Recreational Seasons Calendar  for a general  guideline as to
what is open or closed.

And, check the
FWC Hot Sheet for recent rule changes.

For Red Snapper, consult the
Florida Red Snapper   page.

A good overview  of limits and sizes can be found at
Fish/Pelagic Quick Chart page.

Florida Saltwater Regulations

NW Region
Fishery Management Area

              Federal Recreational Fishing Regulations

These may be found at the GOM Councils Regulation page.

               Highly Migratory Species Permit

Ok, if it wasn't complicated enough, if you want to "fish for" (do not
have to catch) certain sharks, tuna, billfish and sword fish, you need
to get a Highly Migratory Species Permit.
You are required have the
permit even if you plan to release the fish and not keep it.
addition to state management, these species are also managed on
federal and international levels.

For state regulations concerning these fish, check

For sharks in state waters, check here.

For Federal regulations, check here.

To get the NMFP Permit, start here.

Permit FAQs

This web site is updated as I have time from other things going on. As there are a 1000 + different ways to do things, this is only
my way of fishing, nothing else,  and it is not the last word in fishing the area. I am by no means an expert but if you would like my opinion on something related to fishing the area,
please email me at  It may take a few days before I get to it, so be patient. Thanks.....

© Copyright  2014 Fishing Destin Guide
All rights reserved     
                                                   (Out to 9 nautical miles in Florida)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is responsible for making and
enforcing the fishing regulations for state waters. These may be divided into Freshwater
Regulations and Saltwater Regulations.  

How do I know whether freshwater and saltwater regulations apply? And, how  do I know whether I
need a saltwater or freshwater license?  Answer: Depends on the TYPE of fish you catch, NOT
where you are fishing. In general, you need a freshwater license to take freshwater fish and a
saltwater license to take saltwater fish. Obviously, if you are fishing in pure freshwater where no
saltwater species live, you need a freshwater license, and likewise, if you are fishing in the ocean
or Gulf of Mexico, you need a saltwater license. However, when you get into areas where saltwater
and freshwater commingle, and fish of both types can be found, the type of license you need
depends on the species you take or attempt to take. The types of freshwater and saltwater fish may
be found in the appropriate regulations below.  

The local FWC contact is:        FWC Northwest Region Office
                                           3911 Highway 2321
                                           Panama City, FL 32409-1658
                                           (850) 265-3676

The regulations are changed frequently. FWC publishes a new edition both their saltwater and
freshwater Fishing Regulations to take effect each January and July of each year. Copies can be
picked up at most bait or tackle stores or the local Okaloosa County Tax Collector's office.