Over 30 BUI arrests made during holiday
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) reports that officers made 31 boating under the influence (BUI) arrests and cited 16 operators for reckless/negligent operation statewide during the 2011 Fourth of July holiday period.
There were no reported fatalities from boating accidents, however TWRA officers statewide responded to several drowning calls that were found to be swimming-related.
There were a total of six reported accidents involving property damage and five reported accidents involving serious injury.
The holiday period ran from 6 p.m., Friday, July 1 through midnight, Monday, July 4.
In 2010, there was one-related boating accident, which resulted in a fatality. TWRA officers made 28 BUI arrests during the 2010 Fourth of July holiday period.
In 2011, there have been 13 boating-related fatalities, 34 accidents involving serious injury, and 29 reported accidents involving property damage. TWRA officers have made 81 BUI arrests this year.
Closed fishing zone set on Cherokee Lake
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) will continue its closed fishing zone on Cherokee Lake for the protection of striped bass after a study showed the fish still concentrate in the area above Cherokee Dam during the summer months.
Last August, studies were conducted on striped bass use of a portion of Cherokee Lake that has been closed over the past decade to fishing from a boat during summer months.
In order to protect Cherokee Lake’s striped bass, TWRA enacted a 1,100-acre closed fishing zone adjacent to the dam in 2001. The zone is closed to fishing from boats from July 15 through Sept. 15.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began using an oxygen diffuser system just upstream of Cherokee Dam in the mid-90s in order to improve dissolved oxygen levels in tailwater releases. This system also created an ideal summer refuge for striped bass and, by 2000, enough anglers had discovered the refuge that mortality due to catch and release fishing became an issue. TVA installed a new diffuser system in 2005, and TWRA’s striped bass stocking strategy has been changed significantly in recent years.
In response to these changes, TWRA biologists, with the help of local angers, re-evaluated the zone during Aug. 2010. The TWRA needed to determine the extent to which the refuge was being utilized by striped bass and how to best manage the refuge in the future.
“The study showed that striped bass were still using the refuge area,” said Bobby Wilson, TWRA’s chief of fisheries. “The fish were heavily concentrated in the area, and catch and release during the summer months would continue to cause high mortality on the striped bass.”
The summer closure will continue each year.