The TWRA is notifying the public that changes have been made to the paddlefish harvest season on Cherokee Lake from the former season of March 1 – 15, to the new season of April 1 - 15. The creel limit is one fish per angler per day and culling is prohibited.
According to Region 4 Fisheries Program Coordinator Bart Carter, “The season was moved as a response to operation changes at the John Sevier Steam Plant, which now uses natural gas to produce energy resulting in less warm water discharge.” Former steam plant operations released warm water into the reservoir, which was responsible for drawing in paddlefish earlier in the year.
Mr. Carter says that the paddlefish are now living under more normal riverine conditions and are not arriving in the area until later. Reservoirs Fisheries Biologist Jim Negus saw the need to push the season back when he took notice that anglers were unsuccessful in harvesting paddlefish during the former season. The TWRA shifted the season forward a month to provide anglers an opportunity when the fish are there, said Negus.
This is the first year of the new season and may be altered in order to provide angling opportunities while sill protecting the fishery.