(Updated July 7, 2015)
Was it a State Record?
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency(TWRA) employees love a good fish story and were delighted to learn about a possible state record. The Flathead Catfish reeled in was guessed at near 100 pounds by the anglers. It easily bottomed out a 50 pound scale and when held up as high as the 5 foot 9 inch,16 year old could hold it, the fish's tail still touched the bottom of the boat. Troy Powers from Kingston, TN, caught a mammoth Flathead Catfish. It was the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and Troy along with his father, Mike Powers and neighbor, Derrick Stafford decided to go Catfishing on Watts Bar Lake.
Troy shared, "Every time the fish ran, I held on for dear life". After 15 to 20 minutes of wearing the fish out, it came to the surface. Luckily it was heading towards the boat and although it didn't fit in the net, it did swim head first into it. The men were able to scoop the fish into the boat and whoa, what a fish it was!
All three couldn't believe the size. They quickly snapped photos of Troy with his catch and enjoyed the moment. "We really only keep Crappie and everything else we release" shared Troy. "We were concerned with keeping the fish alive". Troy's been fishing with his father from a young age and is a lifetime license holder. He is also on his high school fishing team. The family places value in releasing fish.
When asked what it was like to release what was possibly a new state record catfish, Troy responded, "It was a hard decision to make". He added, "The catfish was older than me. It felt good just to see it swim off and have a chance to grow and get bigger."
Spring Turkey Harvest Passes 30,000...Again
Tennessee turkey hunters passed the 30,000 harvest mark for the 13th straight year during the spring season which concluded May 17 across the state.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports that the 2015 harvest stands at 31,429. Numbers continue to trickle into the Agency. The harvest currently stands a little less than the 2014 harvest of 32,495 and 2013's 32,489.
Maury County was again the top county with a harvest of 1,040. Greene County was again second with 786. Montgomery and Dickson County flipped positions for third and fourth with Montgomery having a harvest of 695 and Dickson at 693. Rounding out the top 15 counties were Wilson 645, Sumner 637, Hickman 592, Hardin 561, Giles 554, Bedford 527, Robertson 524, Cheatham 523, Rutherford 522, Stewart 516, and Hawkins 510.
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission set the 2015-16 state hunting seasons at its May meeting. The 2016 spring turkey season opens April 2.
Tennessee-Tombigbee Lakes Stocked with Florida Largemouth Bass
On May 22nd, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) stocked Florida-strain largemouth bass fingerlings into two Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (TTW) lakes. Aberdeen Lake received approximately 48,000, and 25,000 were stocked into Lock C near Fulton. "Florida-strain largemouth bass are typically more aggressive, grow faster, and potentially grow larger than the native bass found in the TTW," says MDWFP Fisheries Biologist Tyler Stubbs. According to Stubbs, the goal of the Florida-strain bass stockings is to help increase the number of trophy-sized bass in these two lakes.
The fish were reared at the MDWFP's Turcotte Fish Hatchery, Canton.
Proposed Early Migratory Bird Seasons Discussed
Commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today discussed this year's proposed dove season dates at its monthly meeting in Springdale.
Early-season migratory game bird season selections must be reported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Aug. 1. Approval for the early seasons will take place during the Commission's July meeting. Changes from last season are minor.
Mourning Dove and Eurasian Collared Dove
Sept. 5-Oct. 24 and Dec. 19, 2015-Jan. 7, 2016
Sept. 12-Nov. 20
Nov. 7-Dec. 21
Common Snipe Season
Nov. 1, 2015-Feb. 15, 2016
Purple Gallinule and Common Moorhen Season
Sept. 1-Nov. 9
Early Canada Goose Season
Northwest Canada Goose Zone Season
Gates to Remain Lowered to Prevent Additional Damage at St. Francis Lake
For the near future, gates at the Payneway Dam at St. Francis Lake will remain lowered to prevent further damage. The popular northeast Arkansas lake is located near Trumann in Poinsett County.
St. Francis Lake is a large open expanse of water that is actually a wide part of the St. Francis River. The lake is fairly shallow due to accelerated silt deposits over the years, but still provides good catfish, bass, bream and crappie fishing. Access to the lake is from either the Siphons Access or Oak Donnick Access.
Beginning in 2008, high water events resulted in excess water being forced down Ditch 61 causing a washout that has cut an exit path around the dam on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area.
Additional floods since 2008 have resulted in the washout increasing in size from a few feet to more than 150 feet across in some locations. Attempts to maintain St. Francis Lake water levels at 210 mean sea level, through manipulation of the Payneway Dam gates, increases the amount of water flowing through Ditch 61 and exacerbates erosion in the washout.
Last month, the AGFC received instructions from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District to keep the Payneway Dam gates open so that emergency repairs can be made at the washout. The Corps of Engineers recommended that the gates remain lowered to minimize erosion at the repair site. The eroded area is preventing the AGFC from holding water and following the WMA's water level management plan. As soon as possible, the AGFC will begin raising water levels.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Launches Web Section for Stream Anglers
Fisheries crews with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources routinely see a variety of trophy smallmouth bass, muskellunge, catfish and walleye while doing their sampling studies in streams.
Now the department is unveiling those stream secrets through a new information section on the department's website.
"Stream fishing is a whole lot better than people think it is," said Fisheries Biologist David Baker, who headed the effort. "You can catch the fish of a lifetime in a stream."
Paddlers and anglers can go online to fw.ky.gov to access this section. Use the keywords "stream fisheries" to go directly to this page. The amount of information available makes it easier to plan a trip.
Currently profiles are limited to just a handful of locations, but more will be added throughout the coming years.
"We're providing a one-stop shop for anglers and paddlers to find out more information about a particular stream," Baker said. "There is a creek or river close to just about everyone in Kentucky."
The new section offers stream maps, provides locations of access sites, details mileages between put-in and take-out locations and offers information about stream water levels. For anglers, the section has photos and information about the size and frequency of fish biologists find when they sample stream sections, as well as fishing tips for each area.
"We also include photos of the access sites so visitors will have a visual reference of what they will see," Baker said.
The maps provided on the webpage are smart phone friendly, so users may load them on their phones and hit the stream.
Baker added that now streams have finally returned to normal from the wet spring, the fish are biting. "Smallmouth bass have spawned and are aggressive, rock bass and sunfish are on the beds and channel catfish are near rocky shoals preparing to spawn," he said. "We hope people use this page to help enjoy the wonderful stream fishing opportunities we have in Kentucky."
Public Comments Sought on All Wildlife Code of Missouri Regulations
Missouri statute 536.175 RSMo, passed by the General Assembly in 2012, requires all state agencies to conduct a periodic review of their regulations every five years and submit a report to the legislature.The Department of Conservation is among the first group of agencies to go through this process.
On July 1, 2015, a public notice was published in the Missouri Register that each rule in the Wildlife Code is open for comment from July 1, 2015 to August 30, 2015.
During this 60-day period, the public may submit comments here or through other traditional means (letter, telephone call) on any Department regulation. Those providing comments must identify themselves and comments must be directly associated with a specific regulation.
To facilitate the process, the MDC website provides links to each chapter and rule. Each rule has a PURPOSE statement which describes the intent of the regulation to help you identify the regulation that you wish to comment on. Also under each rule is a link to the Secretary of State's website which contains complete text of each rule and an electronic comment form for your convenience.