Item 30: Repealing City Code that Prohibits Spear Guns

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Staff member
Consider approval of Ordinance 2021-49, on the first of two readings, repealing Section 58.068 of the San Marcos City Code that prohibits possession or shooting of a speargun by any person while in or upon the San Marcos River without a permit issued by the Parks and Recreation Department; and providing an effective date.


CoSM Members
If I'm understanding this correctly, since Fish and Wildlife allow spear guns of any type - and doesn't include restrictions on size or possible distance the gun may propel the spear, that this is state law and thus we can no longer have an ordinance that restricts the use of a spear gun to take non-game fish in fresh water - yes?

What is the definition of non-game fish that inhabit our river? Groups regularly get permits to remove Tilapia as an invasive species, so I assume/hope that's non-game fish, even though you can buy it at any grocery.

Is there a way we could restrict this in recreational areas with high traffic, unless it's just a small "gig with a rubber band"? Does Fish and Wildlife have any provisions for use in highly concentrated areas of river recreation?



Staff member
Response provided by Jamie Lee Case, Assistant Director of Parks:
Yes. According to the Texas Fish and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Legal Devices, Methods and Restrictions, a Spear Gun is defined as follows: Any hand operated device designed and used for propelling a spear, but does not include the crossbow. May be used to take nongame fish only. Not a legal means to take fish in a Community Fishing Lake.

TPWD define the following as game fish. Anything not listed is considered a non-game fish:

  • Bass: Alabama, Guadalupe, largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, striped, white, yellow
  • Catfish: blue, channel, flathead
  • Cobia
  • Crappie: black, white
  • Mackerel: king, Spanish
  • Marlin: blue, white
  • Pickerel
  • Red drum
  • Sailfish
  • Seatrout, spotted
  • Sharks
  • Snook
  • Spearfish, longbill
  • Swordfish, broadbill
  • Tarpon
  • Tripletail
  • Trout: brown, rainbow
  • Wahoo
  • Walleye
TPWD does not have any provisions that we have found. The Council has the ability to restrict spearfishing and/or bow-fishing from city-owned property as a method of fishing, but not within the river.
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