Comment Period Open On 2020-22 Fishing Regulation Proposals

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Division presented its proposed 2020-22 fishing regulation proposals during the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission’s August meeting held in Greeneville.

The public is invited to provide comments on the proposals. The deadline for sport fishing comments is Sept. 12. To provide comments, email TWRA at fishingreg.comments@tn.gov, or write to TWRA Fisheries Division, 5107 Edmondson Pike, Nashville, TN 37211.

The TFWC will vote on the bait, commercial and sport sportfish regulations at its Sept.

19-20 meeting to be held in Nashville to be held at the TWRA Region II Building. If approved, the sport fishing changes would become effective March 1, 2020. 

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Fishing Proclamation Proposals

Commercial Fishing

TWRA Fisheries Division is proposing the following regulation changes for the commercial fishing regulations based on requests from the Commercial Fishing Advisory Committee (CFAC).

  1. All commercial fishing gear except slat baskets, turtle traps, and trotlines is prohibited in all creeks entering reservoirs from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the month of April and May on Kentucky, Pickwick, and Barkley reservoirs.  Currently prohibited 6 a.m. to 1 hour after sunset. 
  2. Increase the length of wings or leads on fyke, trap, and pound nets to 100 feet. Wings must be constructed of Number 15 or larger cotton or linen.
  3. Hoop nets, fyke nets, trap nets, and pound nets with a mesh size of one (1) inch or greater on the square may be fished from the Hwy. 51 bridge to the confluence of the Mississippi River without seasonal closures.

CFAC also requested to increase the upper size restriction on catfish from 34 inches with one fish over to 40 inches with no harvest over 40 inches on all reservoirs open to commercial harvest, and from 34 inches to 42 inches with no harvest over 42 inches on the Mississippi River.  TWRA Fisheries Division does not support or propose any changes to the current catfish regulation of one fish over 34 inches at this time.

Proposed Sportfishing Regulation Changes

  • Carroll Lake will reopen April 4, 2020 and regulations will be reestablished for  Largemouth bass at a 15-inch minimum length limit and 5 fish daily creel limit, Bluegill and redear sunfish at a 20 fish daily creel limit and no minimum length limit, catfish at no daily creel limit for catfish 34 inches and less and one catfish over 34 inches. Crappie at no length or daily creel limits, and walleye at a 16- inch minimum length limit and 5 fish daily creel limit.
  • Removal of the PLR length and daily creel limits on Graham and Glenn Springs lakes in order to better manage bass populations. Graham and Glenn Springs lakes would have no minimum length or creel limit for largemouth bass. Current regulations did not meet management goals.
  • Proposed regulation changes on Pin Oak Lake in Natchez Trace State Park to prohibit trotlines and limblines year around. From April 1 through Sept. 30 fishing with jug lines would be prohibited on Fridays after 12 noon until 12 midnight on Sundays. Fishing with jug lines would also be prohibited on Memorial Day, July 3-5, and Labor Day. On days open to jug fishing, each boat is limited to 10 jugs per day.
  1. Reduce the minimum length limit for Smallmouth Bass at Fort Patrick Henry Reservoir to 15 inches and a 5 fish daily creel limit from the current 18-inch minimum length limit and 5 fish daily creel limit.
  2. Removing the time of day restriction and one pole limit restrictions on wild trout streams.  TWRA believes that these restrictions are no longer needed for management of these fisheries.

Proposed Bait Regulation Changes

  1. The addition of the streams to the list of prohibited streams from which crayfish can be harvested, used, and possessed and the list of streams that crayfish can be harvested and used as bait but cannot be possessed away from the waters from which they are harvested. The harvest, use and possession of crayfish is prohibited in the following streams, in all their tributaries, and on all adjacent banks:
  2. Caney Fork River in Van Buren County
  3. Flint River in Lincoln County
  4. Long Fork, White Oak Creek, and Salt Lick Creek in Macon County. Garrett Creek, Little Trammel Creek, and Middle Fork Drakes Creek in Sumner County.
  5. Shoal Creek in Lawrence and Wayne counties
  6. Puncheon Branch in Giles County
  7. Cypress Creek in Wayne County
  8. Gassaway Creek, Little Gassaway Creek, Laurel Creek, and Rogers Branch in Polk County
  9. Hiwassee River in Polk County
  10. Conasauga River in Bradley and Polk counties
  11. Big Brush Creek in Sequatchie County
  12. Bullpen Branch in Cannon County
  13. Mountain Creek in Warren County
  14. Mill Creek, Fortyeight Creek upstream of Hwy. 64, Johnson Mill Branch, Chalk Creek, and Second Creek in Wayne County. 
  15. Pompeys Branch, McKelvey Branch, and Holly Branch in Hardin County
  16. Blood River in Henry County
  17. North Fork Obion River in Henry County

Additional areas where crayfish can be used as bait, but not possessed away from the waterbody they were harvested from are:

     1. Clear Fork and tributaries in Campbell and Claiborne counties
     2. Big South Fork of the Cumberland River in Scott county

  • Remove the restriction on the dimensions of a minnow trap and add crayfish traps to legal gear for the harvest of bait.
  • Restrict the movement of wild caught trout from the following waters for the use as bait in an effort to reduce the movement of whirling disease.  They may be used as bait in the waters from which they were harvested but not be possessed away from the waters.
    1. South Fork Holston River below South Holston Dam to Boone Reservoir.
    2. Watauga River from state line to Boone Reservoir (including Watauga and Wilbur reservoirs).
    3. Doe River (Carter County).
    4. North River (Monroe County).


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