The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission met for the final time in 2013 with its December meeting held Friday at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Region II Ray Bell Building.
TWRA Fisheries Division Chief, Bobby Wilson, presented an update on the Florida bass program, primarily at Chickamauga Lake. Since 2000, two million Florida strain largemouth bass have been stocked in the lake to improve the quality of the bass fishery.
Electrofishing surveys indicate that the stocking program was successful at integrating Florida genes into the northern largemouth bass population. Tissue samples taken from 50 large bass, eight pounds or more during bass tournaments, revealed a strong influence of Florida genes.
Seventy-five percent of those trophy bass were hybrids, meaning half their genes were contributed from Florida bass. The remaining 25 percent were backcrosses of hybrids with either Florida or northern bass strain.
Rutherford County TWRA Wildlife Officer Jonathan Lee was introduced to the TFWC. Mr. Lee, the recipient of the Tennessee Wildlife Officer of the Year, was also named the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Officer of the Year at the annual conference in Oklahoma City. He was selected among state officers of the year award winners from 15 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
It was announced at the meeting that Julie Schuster is stepping down from her position on the commission. Ms. Schuster, a resident of Pegram, represented 13 counties in Middle Tennessee ranging from the Alabama to the Kentucky state lines. She will be assuming the position of executive director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation. She has served on the commission since 2009 and her appointment was set to expire in February 2015.
A video presentation highlighting her tenure was shown. She was presented a plaque of appreciation from TWRA Executive Director and her commission colleagues.
The TWRA serves as a partner in the Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Scholastic Clay Target Program. Members from the Middle Tennessee Christian School and Spring Hill teams, which won on the national level, were recognized at the meeting.
The TFWC will return to its regular two-day meeting format beginning next month. The first meeting of 2014 will be held Jan. 16-17 at the Ducks Unlimited National Headquarters in Memphis.