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Commission Hears Proposals for 2018 Fishing Regulations

By Staff, 07/29/17 7:07 AM

LITTLE ROCK –

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission heard the first reading of proposed changes to fishing regulations at today’s meeting. These regulations will be presented for a final vote during the Commission’s August meeting and, if passed, will become effective Jan. 1, 2018.

A complete list of proposals and public comment summaries is available at www.agfc.com/en/resources/regulations/code/. Some regulations being considered are:

Removal of the 13-inch minimum length limit on Lake Ouachita spotted bass.
Implement an 18- to 21-inch protected slot limit with one fish over 21 inches for largemouth bass on Lower White Oak Lake.
Enact statewide creel limits for catfish and crappie on Lower White Oak Lake.
Removal of the 13- to 16-inch protective slot limit on largemouth bass at Dierks Lake.
Change Millwood Lake catfish creel limits changed to statewide limits.
Removal of 15-inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass on two USDA Forest Service waters: Caddo Pond (Montgomery County) and Shady Lake (Polk County).
Removal of daily creel limit for crappie on Lake Charles.
Revise the trout retention restriction code to make culling of all species of trout unlawful on all waters in the state.
Reduce number of rods permitted on the Narrows Tailwater (Little Missouri River below Narrows Dam) and the Spring River from two rods to one rod per individual.
Open special commercial fishing season on Lake Chicot to address silver carp.
Change opening date of hogging and noodling season south and east of U.S Highway 67 from June 1 to May 15.

The Commission also heard the first reading of proposed changes to fishing regulations concerning the movement of live wild-caught baitfish. If passed, the proposed change would make it illegal to use any live baitfish, including crayfish, unless it was:

Caught within the same body of water where it is being used,
Caught in a tributary entering upstream of the waterbody where it is being used (No baitfish would be allowed to move upstream past a dam or barrier that prohibits the normal passage of fish.),
Or purchased from a licensed dealer selling only certified farm-raised baitfish.
The proposed regulation on live wild-caught baitfish has been proposed to the public for comments through a survey posted to the AGFC website, Facebook page and Twitter feed since June. The Commission also heard from two men representing striped bass guides during Wednesday’s Commission committee meetings, who wanted to explain the impact the regulation may have on their businesses.

The Commission is expected to vote on this regulation at its meeting scheduled for August 17 in Little Rock. In other business, the Commission:

Approved the restriction to prohibit any movement of live cervids to or from captive facilities within 25 miles of a known positive case of chronic wasting disease.

Authorized AGFC Director Jeff Crow to pursue a land exchange for about 300 acres of property adjacent to Petit Jean River WMA for parcels the AGFC owns that are separated from the main body of the WMA and of comparable total acreage and value.
Authorized Crow to complete negotiations and enter a joint-funding agreement and grant with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Oklahoma State University to provide half of the total study cost (expected to be $260,232) of a five-year research study to determine the impact of stocked rainbow trout on native fish populations in Spavinaw Creek.
Authorized the following projects deemed eligible for Marine Fuel Tax Funds:
Paving of the launch road leading to Bell’s Chapel Access on Lake Atkins;
Resurfacing of Dollar Junction Road leading to Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge and Beryl Anthony WMA;
Resurfacing of Ouachita County Road 86/25 leading to Tate’s Bluff Access on the Ouachita/Little Missouri rivers;
Paving and improvements to the road to the Fout Access in Baxter County;
Paving 1.2 miles of Craighead County Road 361 to improve public access to Lake Bono;
Making improvements to Greene County Roads 101 and 103 to improve access to Lake Ashbaugh, and
Paving Thompson Bay Loop Access on Lake Dardanelle in Logan County.
Approved the AGFC fiscal year 2018 vehicle capital purchase list totaling $1.5 million.
Approved the fiscal year 2018 capital equipment purchase list totaling $2 million.
Approved the removal of outdated and obsolete inventory with an original cost of $252,200 and a present net book value of $115,807.80.
Approved revisions to employee policies for the AGFC classification and compensation plan.
Authorized employment of outside legal counsel to represent the AGFC in two matters.
Awarded retiring AGFC Capt. Brian McKinzie and Cpl. Kevin Underwood their service sidearms.

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