The zebra mussel invasion — something that started on Lake Texoma back in 2009 — continues to spread through waters across the northern half of Texas.

The zebra mussel invasion — something that started on Lake Texoma back in 2009 — continues to spread through waters across the northern half of Texas.


In an effort to combat the spread of the invasive species, new regulations went into effect on Dec. 10 on public waters in 17 northeast Texas counties.


Those counties include Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Fannin, Grayson, Hood, Jack, Kaufman, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Stephens, Tarrant, Wise and Young counties.


According to TPWD, the new regs require persons "…leaving or approaching public water in the affected counties" to drain all water from their vessels and on-board receptacles.


TPWD says that this includes the draining of live wells, bilges, motors, and any other receptacle or intake system that comes into contact with public water.


A TPWD news release indicates that this applies to all types and sizes of boats whether powered or not, personal watercraft, sailboats or any other vessel used to travel on public waters.


The new zebra mussel rules also indicate that "…live fish cannot be transported in water that comes from the water body where they were caught." Also, no off-site tournament weigh-ins are allowed (if live fish are being transported in water from the water body in affected counties).


Additionally, personally caught live bait can only be used in the water body in which it was caught.


TPWD says that anglers are allowed to transport and use commercially purchased live bait provided they have a receipt showing the source of the bait. But live bait purchased from a location on or adjacent to a public water body that is transported in water from that water body can only be used on that same water body.