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FISHING COMMENTS SOUGHT…ANGLERS ASKED FOR INPUT
By Steve McCadams
Each year Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency asked the sport fishing
public to voice any suggestions or concerns they may have regarding
changes in regulations.
From bass fishermen to crappie anglers and all those in-between, now is
the time for you to formulate a letter or send an email to the agency
and let them know what’s on your mind.
Anglers on Kentucky Lake this year are buzzing with discontent as to the
present day crappie fishery. Not many anglers are catching decent
numbers of keeper size and it has most mystified while others are
Granted it was a mean March and thus far April has been awful in terms
of wind and weather patterns.
The catches this year point toward several weak year classes in the
three, four and five year class range. However, a lot of small
fish---ranging from 4 and 5 inches to 8 ½ and 9 1/2 in length--- are
Biologists say it takes about three years for a crappie to achieve the
10-inch length here on Kentucky Lake.
Concern among the ranks seems to fuel more questions on how TWRA might
better address the low numbers and trend of declining catch rates that
have been underway now for the last few years.
Would reducing the daily creel limit from a liberal 30 down to 20 help
better distribute the fish among the masses of anglers? Many feel it
would. Others have no opinion and some don’t won’t to change a thing.
Are you satisfied with the way things are going? Many states surrounding
states---and the Kentucky portion of Kentucky Lake---have implemented
lower creel limits. Some have taken additional steps to address fishing
pressure and poor recruitment.
Generally speaking, the public has been willing to accept changes in
fishing regulations if they thought it might improve the overall
scenario. However, there are never regulations made that please
Should what appears to be oncoming numbers of small fish have a
regulation change to help escort more of them into the keeper size
category of 10-inches and above? Would a higher length limit help that
too, although most anglers don’t appear to be in favor of going too far
and raising minimum length limits at a time when keeper fish are a bit
hard to come by anyway?
Meanwhile, if two anglers in a boat have a good day culling out 40
keeper size crappie on an outing, landing limits and boasting about it
to fellow fishermen---assuming the limit was lowered to twenty
daily---are they not happy and satisfied?
If they kept fishing and caught twenty more in order to say they had the
limit would that better satisfy or would those twenty fish left in the
lake give other anglers a better chance of catching some too? How many
Today’s crappie angler is much better at finding and catching fish than
his predecessors of yesteryear. Better technology and equipment are at
his fingertips. And more anglers winter fish too, adding even more
pressure to a fishery that in times past did not have a lot of winter
Fishing techniques have changed too and the multi-pole presentations are
known to harvest a lot of fish once suspended schools are located and
the word gets out.
TWRA’s fisheries biologists said last year their data showed weak year
classes of crappie---influenced by droughts in years past---were part of
the problem and recruitment was weak. Should the management plan just
wait and let the cycles run their course, hoping the degradation trend
These ideas and more are up to you, the sport fishermen. TWRA is in the
process of seeking public comment on fishing regulations and the agency
is asking for your input.
Several TWRA wildlife commissioners are getting their ears filled with
calls from concerned fishermen this spring.
This is an opportunity for the public to share ideas and concerns about
fishing regulations with TWRA staff.
Public comments will be considered by fisheries managers and may be
presented as proposals for regulation changes.
Comments may be submitted by mail to: Fish Comments, TWRA, Fisheries
Management Division, P.O. 40747, Nashville, TN 37204 or emailed to
FishingReg.Comments@tn.gov. Please include “Fish Comments” on the
subject line of emailed submissions.
The fishing regulations are usually set each year during the October
meeting by the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission.
The comment period concerning fishing regulations will be open until