The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission set the 2019-20 fishing regulations during its September meeting which concluded Friday.
The commission heard a preview of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s proposals during the August meeting of the commission. A public comment period on the proposals was held following the August meeting.
Several of the new fishing regulations are geared toward the agency’s effort to battle the invasive Asian carp.
In TWRA Region I and II, skipjack herring, gizzard shad, and threadfin shad will not be able to be transported alive from the Mississippi River and Barkley, Kentucky, and Pickwick reservoirs and any tributaries or oxbows of these waters. The restrictions do not apply to the Duck River above Normandy Dam.
These bait species are similar in appearance to small Asian carp. This change is aimed to reduce the risk of accidentally introducing Asian carp into new waterways.
Change to seasons on the Tellico River, Citico Creek, and Green Cove Pond will allow optimal stocking and fishing conditions during the permit season. Big Lost Creek, Goforth Creek, Spring Creek, and Greasy Creek and their tributaries in Polk County to have been changed to follow statewide regulations. This adds fishing opportunity to these creeks which are currently closed on Friday.
An amendment by the TFWC was passed to include that commercially harvested catfish over 34 inches in length cannot be kept alive after harvest.
The commission heard a chronic wasting disease (CWD) risk assessment in Tennessee. Dr. Krysten Schuler, disease ecologist from Cornell University, has helped TWRA use the risk assessment data to develop a weighted, risk-based surveillance plan that staff will begin implementing this fall. Samples from deer will be collected from potentially higher risk areas.
Frank Fiss, Fisheries Division chief, introduced its annual award winners. David Roddy, TWRA Statewide Hatchery Coordinator and Aquatic Nuisance Coordinator, was named the Fisheries Biologist of the Year. Marilyn Davis, who works out of Eagle Bend Hatchery in Anderson County, was named Fisheries Technician of the Year.
Jason Henegar, Fisheries Division assistant chief, gave an update on the current status of brook trout management and distribution. He also highlighted future directions of management and how additional funding from Trout Unlimited will be used to better inform the agency of future restoration projects.
Representatives from the Tennessee Chapter of Trout Unlimited presented the TWRA with a $10,000 donation prior to the Friday meeting to further TWRA’s efforts in brook trout restoration throughout their range in Tennessee.
Lionel Ferguson, who established a new state record for black crappie, was introduced and officially received his certificate for the record. He landed the 5 pounds, 7.68 ounces record fish from a private pond in Loudon County.
Jonesborough resident Kim Woods received special recognition at the meeting in recruiting and promoting youth hunting in East Tennessee. He has introduced many youngsters to the outdoors through his long-time efforts.
The TFWC’s next meeting will be Oct. 25-26 in Nashville.