The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the state’s 2014-15 commercial fishing proclamations at its September meeting which concluded Friday at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II Ray Bell Building.
Among the regulations concerning commercial fishing, there is now a change of hoop net definition to allow for the use of hoop nets with a mesh size of one inch and larger and not allow the use of wings or leads. Also, there will no longer be a closed season on using hoop nets. In addition, restrict the mesh size on wings and leads to one inch or smaller for fyke nets, trap nets, and pound nets.
The Beech River, which empties into Kentucky Lake, is closed to commercial fishing upstream from the Highway 69 bridge.
Turtle traps are added to the list of gears that will be allowed to be fished in the creeks and embayments on Kentucky Lake in April and May. The season defined for turtle harvests are defined for the months of March through October.
At Reelfoot Lake, there are 14 species of turtles allowed to be harvested.
The final changes to the commercial fishing proclamation came a month earlier than usual at the request of the Commercial Fishing Advisory Committee. The new regulations are effective March 1, 2014. The sport fishing regulations for 2014-15 will be set at the October TFWC meeting.
The Birchwood Community Center in north Hamilton County will host the 2013 sandhill crane permit drawing on Saturday, Oct. 12. A total of 400 permits will be available and there will be a hand-held drawing conducted. Registration begins for the permit drawing at 8 a.m. (EDT). The drawing will begin at approximately 10 a.m. The commission established a limited sandhill crane hunting season for a designated area in East Tennessee at its August meeting.
Any leftover permits will be available at the TWRA’s four regions at a time following the initial drawing. More specific details will follow prior to the drawing.
The 2013 dove hunting season is underway and preliminary reports are good with more than 5,000 Tennessee hunters taking advantage of the public dove field program. It is estimated that more than 18,000 doves were harvested the opening weekend.
A wheelchair blind was recently constructed at the Varner Unit of North Chickamauga Wildlife Management Area. The commission approved an amendment to a proclamation allowing usage for wheelchair-bound hunters only at the site on the days of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The site would be available same as the statewide seasons for deer (archery), turkey, and waterfowl.
The commission approved an emergency rule regarding the operation of vessels on the Cumberland River (CRM mile 243) near the Gallatin Steam Plant. The Tennessee Valley Authority is undergoing construction to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Mercury and Air Toxic regulation and TVA’s environmental agreements with the EPA and others.
The rule is put in place to insure the safety of boaters and their equipment. The emergency rule excludes boats from entering the work zone. Construction is set begin in November and conclude by the spring of 2016.
The commission will next meet on Oct. 17-18 (Thursday-Friday) in Kingsport. Committee meetings will begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday while the formal commission meeting starts at 9 a.m. on Friday.