KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission established the state’s 2017-18 sport fish regulations at its October meeting which concluded Friday (Oct. 28) at the Holiday Inn Fair Park.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Division presented its original proposals for 2017-18 at its September meeting. The TFWC had requested the TWRA consider lowering the creel limit for crappie from 30 to 20 fish per day on Kentucky Lake. After the amendment to the proclamation passed in the fisheries committee on Thursday, the full commission passed the regulation Friday.
Among the other changes include harvest regulations to a 15-fish creel limit, in combination, for striped bass, hybrid striped bass, and white bass on Douglas Reservoir.
The boundary for wild trout on Laurel Creek in Carter County has been defined. The new boundary will now be from the cable crossing located one-half mile upstream of the USFS Dennis Cove Recreation Area extending upstream to the USFS boundary.
A change in the reciprocal agreement on Calderwood Reservoir will allow North Carolina bank anglers to have the same privileges as boat anglers. Similar changes are being considered by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for Tennesseans.
Boat and bank anglers on Dale Hollow Lake can use four fishing rods at one time. This is a change from the current regulation of three fishing rods for boat anglers and a change from six for bank anglers. The 4-rod limit also applies to the seasonal walleye run restrictions.
Changes to the live bait proclamation keeps existing creel limits for Class A and Class B baitfish, and established a possession limit of twice the daily creel limit for these classes. The change established a 50 fish per day limit for Class C bait fish, all species combined, with a possession limit of 100 fish. The new proclamation regulates possession of both live and dead baitfish.
Gerry Dinkins, of the University of Tennessee, made a presentation which focused on Tennessee’s freshwater mussel fauna. There are 137 freshwater mussel species in Tennessee, about half of the continent’s approximately 300 species.
The commission also heard a presentation from Brandt Information Services, on the TWRA’s new licensing systems. The new license system will begin next week, replacing the current system which has been in place since 1999.
Other presentations included an annual review of the Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program, the “Recovering America’s Wildlife Act” resolution, an update on Appalachian Bear Rescue, and an update on the recently-completed elk hunting season, and a computer aided dispatch system for TWRA wildlife officers.
TWRA presented three annual statewide divisional awards. Perry Massengill was named Fisheries Technician of the Year and John Hammonds is the Fisheries Biologist of the Year. David Whitehead was named the Wildlife Biologist of the Year while Tony Duncan received the Wildlife Technician of the Year award. Melvin McLerran was named the part-time Boating Officer of the Year and Brad Bagwell was named the Boating Officer of the Year.
In addition, the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative “Firebird” awards were presented to Wes Winton, TWRA AEDC/Bark Camp Barrens WMA Manager, and Brittney Viers-Scott, Quail Forever Farm Bill Biologist.
The TFWC has one more scheduled meeting this calendar year. It will be held in Nashville on Friday, Dec. 9 at the TWRA Region II Ray Bell Building.