Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Region 3 fisheries biologists of the year has been awarded to Mike Jolley. Mr. Jolley started with the agency as a fisheries technician in 1993. After working his way through the ranks, he took his current role as the regional reservoir fisheries biologist in 1999. In a nutshell, his job entails monitoring and evaluating fish populations throughout the regions nine reservoirs or 150,000 acres of water. He and his crew also oversee reservoir stockings and warm water production of fish in the region.
Mr. Jolley has a passion for fishing that stems from childhood fishing trips with his father. He said, “It’s a gift to be able to contribute back to the resources I’ve enjoyed throughout my life and work to ensure future generations have this same gift.” Region 3 is currently host to all of the current state black bass records. Mr. Jolley admits that this encourages and challenges him to keep working hard to maintain such topnotch resources. Despite these amazing records, he said, “The driving goals are sustainable fish populations and great science. These two things are the foundation to our management.”
Mr. Jolley has implemented or been part of many undertakings in the region. Three accomplishments stand out for him. The first is the Florida largemouth bass program, which was just starting in when he stepped into his current role. Secondly, in 201,1 he implemented the regional walleye program. “We’re just now seeing the results of our work. It’s awesome to see the success of our anglers,” he said. Third on his list was the creation of the current warm water production ponds at the Hiwassee Refuge in which walleye, Florida largemouth and crappie are raised. Mr. Jolley and his crew are currently in the process of expanding production and diversity with changes and additions to these ponds. He said, “Overseeing the production and stocking of fish along with many types of data collection and scientific studies has been fantastic.”
Mr. Jolley is part of many projects outside of his fisheries role. He is an avid educator and speaks with many groups and organizations throughout the year. He manages one of the largest kids fishing events in the state, attends career days, Earth day events and educated wildlife officers during field training days this year.
Region 3 fisheries program manager, Mark Thurman said, “Mike’s passion for his work and dedication to science ensures great management of our reservoirs. We’re grateful for him.” To find out more about the TWRA visit tnwildlife.org.