Norris Lake Committee Sticks With 17-22 Smallmouth Slot Limit

Issue at heart of dispute between Tenn. House members and TWRC

Thursday, April 15, 2010 - by Richard Simms

The Norris Lake Fisheries Advisory Committee is not recommending any change to the smallmouth size limit recently passed for Norris Lake.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission (TWRC) passed a Norris lake smallmouth size limit which allows anglers to take one fish under 17 inches, one over 22 inches and nothing in between (similar to smallmouth regulations on Dale Hollow).
The new Norris Lake regulations went into effect March 1 and are at least partially to blame for a bitter dispute between a few legislators and the TWRC. Chattanoogan.com Outdoors has covered the issue at length. Click HERE to access previous coverage.

TWRC members said they passed the new size limit based on the recommendation of the Norris Lake Fisheries Advisory Committee. The 25-member committee is made up of anglers, businessmen and other lay persons from the five counties which all border Norris Lake. The committee was established following a bitter controversy over the striped bass fishery many years ago.

TWRA employees serve as advisors to the advisory committee, but there are no TWRA employees included as voting members on that committee.

After the regulation was passed and in effect there was a groundswell of objection in the Norris Lake area, primarily by tournament bass anglers who launched an all out campaign to convince local and state government leaders to try and reverse the new rule set by the TWRC.

Following the legislative turmoil, the committee was encouraged to meet again prior to the next meeting of the TWRC (next week).

The committee met on April 13. According to John Gregory, TWRA Region IV Regional Manager who attended the meeting, there was significant discussion of various Norris Lake smallmouth size limit options, however there was no consensus among the group and there was no vote to change the committee's previous 17-22 inch slot limit recommendation.

Bill Reeves, TWRA's Chief of Fisheries Management is scheduled to brief the TWRC on results of that meeting on April 21st beginning at 1 pm.

The Norris Lake Fisheries Advisory Committee is unique in the state of Tennessee. No other lake or area in the state has a designated citizen committee set up exclusively to advise TWRA and TWRC on fisheries or wildlife management matters.


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