Commission Approves Fishing Regulations at September Meeting

Friday, September 22, 2023 | 03:55pm

HUMPHREYS COUNTY, Tenn. --- The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the 2024-25 sportfish and commercial fishing regulations at a one-day meeting held at Buffalo Ridge Refuge.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency presented a preview of regulations at the August Commission meeting.  The sportfish regulations include changes to TWRA fishing lakes in West Tennessee. The daily creel limit and the length limit will be removed for crappie at Lake Graham, Glenn Springs, Carroll, and Garrett lakes to improve size structure and harvest success. At Carroll and Garrett lakes, both will have no daily creel limit on largemouth bass, but only one can be over 18 inches. This is to promote harvest of smaller bass to improve size structure.

For the Cumberland Plateau Region, changes for small lakes and ponds were made for Bridgestone/Firestone WMA, Indian Boundary Lake in Monroe County, and Madisonville’s Lake Kefauver. These are regarding the size and creel limits for largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish, catfish, and crappie. A youth only designation at the Bridgestone Firestone ponds was removed. This will allow for more fishing opportunities for a broader group of license holders.

Paddlefish snagging at Emory River was also closed to provide a spawning refuge for paddlefish. A single hook restriction Jan. 1 through April 30 was put in place on a section of the Emory River where a walleye run occurs. Snagging game fish is not legal. The walleye run takes place on clear, shallow shoals where they congregate for spawning. The single hook restriction allows for harvest while protecting spawning fish.

In upper East Tennessee, changes were made to seasons and size limits for striped bass on Boone Reservoir, trout on Boone and Fort Patrick Henry Reservoirs, and smallmouth bass on Norris Reservoir. These changes are expected to improve the quality of these fisheries and had support from local anglers. There was a change to restrict the harvest of bait and the possession of seines, cast nets and minnow traps in Buffalo Creek on the Buffalo Spring WMA. Possession of bait collecting gear was restricted for Clear Creek, a tributary of the Clinch River below Norris Dam during the closed fishing season. The section is currently closed to fishing from Nov. 1 through March 31 to protect a trout spawning run in this small creek. The purpose of the Buffalo Creek and Clear Creek regulations is to limit illegal trout harvest.

Commercial fishing regulations include changes to enhance harvesting invasive carp in proximity to Kentucky Reservoir marinas and changes to hoop net and slat basket marking requirements.

The Fisheries Division presented its annual awards to the Fisheries Biologist of the Year Tom Pratt and the Fisheries Technician of the Year Brandon Harrison, both work at Humboldt Hatchery. Region IV Program Manager Bart Carter and Region IV Technician Carl E. Williams were each honored with Fisheries Lifetime Achievement awards.

The Wildlife and Forestry Division also presented its annual awards. Chris Harris who works at Chickamauga and Yuchi WMAs was named Wildlife Technician of the Year. Mitch Clure who works at Tellico and South Cherokee WMAs is the Biologist of the Year.

The TFWC’s next meeting will also be held on one day, Oct. 13 in Collierville.

--- TWRA ---