Size and creel limits changing for Norris smallmouth bass

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 The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission (TWRC) voted to amend regulations in regard to smallmouth bass fishing on Norris Lake during its March meeting.

Bobby Wilson, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Division chief, recently attended a Norris Lake Fisheries Advisory Committee (NLFAC) meeting. The NLFAC is a community-based group of advisors to the TWRC on fishery management. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency acts as an advisor to the committee.

The NLFAC made the recommendation, which was approved by the TWRC, to implement an 18-inch minimum length limit on smallmouth bass and a creel limit of five from Oct. 16-May 31. From June 1-Oct. 15, there will be a 20-inch minimum length limit and a creel limit of one.

The change replaces the 17-22 inch slot limit — one fish under 17 inches and one over 22 inches — that was implemented on March 1, 2010. The amended proclamation will go into effect in late April and will be re-evaluated in 2015.

“We are pleased with the NLFAC’s recommendation,” said Wilson. 

“Although not as restrictive as the 17-22 inch slot limit, the new regulation should produce a high quality smallmouth bass fishery at Norris Lake. The warmer water regulation (June 1-Oct. 15, 20-inch length limit) was proposed by the tournament anglers on the committee to offset the high mortalities of smallmouth bass incurred during summertime bass tournament weigh-ins.”

In other business conducted during the March meeting:

•The commission voted to approve a budget expansion of more than $1.1 million as a part of the Clean Vessel Act (CVA) program. Ed Poolos, Coordinator CVA-Boating Infrastructure of the Boating Division, addressed the commission during the committee meeting segment.

•TWRA Engineering Division Chief Dwight Hensley provided an update on the agency’s continued progress on repairs to agency properties as a result of the May 2010 flood. The damages occurred in the western and middle portions of the state.

•Two more budget expansions were also approved. A $17,800 expansion will go toward the Morris Ferry Fishing Pier in Middle Tennessee. A $9,000 expansion will go to elk habitat restoration as a result of proceeds from last year’s bid for a permit to participate in the state’s second elk hunt.

The TWRC will hold its next meeting April 14-15 at the TWRA Region II Ray Bell Office Building in Nashville.


Public input sought for fishing regulations

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is soliciting comments for its 2012 sport fishing regulations. This is an opportunity for the public to share ideas and concerns about fishing regulations with TWRA staff.

Public comments will be considered by fisheries managers and may be presented as proposals for regulation changes. Comments may be submitted by mail to: Sport Fish Comments, TWRA, Fisheries Management Division, P.O. 40747, Nashville, TN 37204 or emailed to TWRA.Comment@tn.gov. Please include “Sport Fish Comments” on the subject line of emailed submissions.

The comment period concerning sport fish regulations will be open until April 22.