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#935309 - 09/26/08 08:09 AM Kentucky Lake Creel Limit Crappie Udate
Taylor Administrator
10 Point


Registered: 09/10/07
Posts: 3061
Loc: Brownsville, Tennessee

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My ol' "everything-crappie" bud, Steve McCadams offered this update on the questions surrounding the proposals to reduce crappie creel at Kentucky Lake.
This is a portion of a column he wrote for the PI, in Paris, Tenn.
He gave me permission to share it with you.

Shortcasts
LOW LIMIT LEFT IN WAKE OF ANGLERS/ECONOMY/TOURISM
By Steve McCadams

“Lowering the daily creel limit of crappie on Kentucky Lake to a mere fifteen fish will not happen,” said TWRA Commissioner Thomas “Bub” Edwards of Paris as he addressed a crowd of just over 100 people Tuesday night at the Henry County Courthouse. “It would not be in the best interest of the area or the fishermen.”
Edwards was joined by fellow commissioner Skip Simonton of Covington and TWRA regional fisheries biologist Tim Broadbent who spoke to concerned bass and crappie anglers about two recent proposals from the agency to decrease the daily creel limit on crappie by 50 percent and raise the minimum length limit on smallmouth bass to 18-inches.
Henry County Mayor Brent Greer, along with county commissioner Tim Wirgau addressed the potential negative impact the fifty percent reduction would have on the lake area. “We’re trying to promote that great treasure we have down here in Kentucky Lake and our unemployment is around 9 percent so we don’t want to loose any jobs in the tourism industry at our resorts, restaurants and other businesses that depend on visitors, said Greer.”
A variety of biological data was presented by Broadbent prior to entertaining questions from the audience. Although those in attendance may have varied as to their wants and wishes, it was unanimous as to the crowd’s opposition to the number fifteen.
“We have three weak year classes of crappie out there right now and we won’t know the status of this spring’s spawn until we run trap nets in October,” said the biologist when asked to asses the situation at hand. “Furthermore, fishing pressure has increased dramatically on the Tennessee portion of Kentucky Lake the last few years and the data from our creel clerk indicates the catch rate per hour for anglers has also declined.”
Other interesting data presented showed (1) it takes about three years for a white crappie to reach 10-inches here, which is the minimum length limit (2) only about two percent of anglers manage to catch a 30-fish limit (3) average anglers catch about eight fish per outing (4) catch rates show anglers average landing about one keeping fish per hour of fishing.
“Length limits are the best tool we have to manage the crappie,” continued Broadbent. “The lower creel limit would spread the fish out among the fishermen but for a creel limit to reduce the harvest it would have to be as low as five and I don’t think we want to do that. Whether it’s 15, 20 or 30 really doesn’t make much difference.”
Although Broadbent said today’s angler is better than his counterpart of yesteryear at finding and catching fish on a year round basis due to such factors as better equipment and technology, not to mention longer harvest periods due to warm winters, he said his recommendation was to leave it (limit) as is.”
“I’ve been here today trying to get some additional boat ramps so we can accommodate anglers. I say if it (limit) ain’t broke then don’t fix it,” said Representative Willie Borchert of Camden.
Yet some anglers in the audience felt while the fishery wasn’t broke it might be bent and perhaps in need of attention before it got worse. Steve Ferguson of Puryear had already presented commissioner Edwards a petition bearing over 500 names favoring an adjustment in the daily creel to twenty per person, a compromise that remains on the table.
Even some who voiced support for keeping the limit at thirty said that could live with a reduction down to twenty but not down to fifteen.
A show of hands at the end showed sixty-four people voting to keep the limit at thirty.
The balance was either in support of dropping to twenty or neutral in their opinion.
While TWRA recommended the 18-inch minimum for smallmouth it was met with mixed emotions by bass anglers in the crowd.
Edwards said the commissioners will take the views from the meeting into consideration with other input from anglers across the state and discuss it next week when the TWRC meets in Nashville on September 17-18.
Official action on fishing regulations is slated to occur at the October meeting at a location yet to be determined. Stay tuned!

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#939574 - 09/29/08 09:52 AM Re: Kentucky Lake Creel Limit Crappie Udate [Re: Taylor]
rsimms
10 Point


Registered: 09/08/02
Posts: 2676
Loc: Chattanooga, TN

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I find it extremely interesting that a single Wildlife Commissioner on a panel of thirteen can say that anything "won't happen" prior to the vote scheduled for Oct. 22-23. (I know there was a second Commissioner present... that's two out of thirteen... far from a majority).

Note that Mr. Edwards did not say, "I will do everything in my power to see that this doesn't happen," or words to that effect.

He said bluntly, "it won't happen." He wrote me the same thing in an e-mail.

Of course I know that Mr. Edwards is correct... I'd bet a large sum of money on it. And it clearly illustrates, outloud, what most folks have known to be true a long time.

Decisions about our wildlife management and sporting opportunites are often not made in an open forum and abiding by the "Sunshine Laws" outlined in Tennessee law.

Title 8, Chapter 44 (T.C.A. 8-44-101-201) - The general assembly hereby declares it to be the policy of this state that the formation of public policy and decisions is public business and shall not be conducted in secret.

I am not saying that it is the wrong decision. I understand and respect all the Kentucky Lake anglers who agree with, and support what Mr. Edwards had to say.

But Mr. Edward's statement saddens me, illustrating that this decision, and I believe many others, are made far from the light of "The Sunshine."
_________________________
Read my book, "An Outdoor State of Mind"
http://stores.lulu.com/rsimms
"The outdoors is not just a place, it's a state of mind."
http://www.ScenicCityFishing.com

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#941655 - 09/30/08 06:35 AM Re: Kentucky Lake Creel Limit Crappie Udate [Re: rsimms]
Taylor Administrator
10 Point


Registered: 09/10/07
Posts: 3061
Loc: Brownsville, Tennessee

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Rsimms, you worked for TWRA, didn't you?
Certainly you have more insight as to how the TWRC works than most...?

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#941777 - 09/30/08 07:24 AM Re: Kentucky Lake Creel Limit Crappie Udate [Re: Taylor]
rsimms
10 Point


Registered: 09/08/02
Posts: 2676
Loc: Chattanooga, TN

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 Originally Posted By: Taylor
Rsimms, you worked for TWRA, didn't you?
Certainly you have more insight as to how the TWRC works than most...?


Yea... but it was LONG ago in a previous life. I left in 1984. My perception is that the system works (or doesn't work) based upon the individuals who are appointed.

In the last decade or two the Legislature has "monkeyed" with the Commission however. All appointments used to be by the Governor. And there were "term limits" for Commissioners. But a few years back one particularly powerful Commissioner who was reaching his term limit, didn't want to leave. So he called in some favors from the Legislature and he got them to revise Commission appointments... increasing the number of Commissioners and providing the additional appointments to the House Speaker and the Senate Speaker... and thereby circumventing the term limits. That particular (very powerful) Commissioner served on TWRC for about 20 years!

There have been some more recent revisions, backed by the Tennesse Wildlife Federation, to try and keep such such scenarios from occurring again. However I honestly don't remember the details.

However my perception has been that it has been in the past two decades that the "political" influences have been more predominant than when I was working for TWRA.

However, it very well could be just because I am now on the outside looking in versus inside looking out?

But the Commission system itself is good (sort of like Democracy... it's not perfect, but it's the best thing we've got).

FYI, I posted a more complete Editorial on the current issue here: http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_136069.asp
_________________________
Read my book, "An Outdoor State of Mind"
http://stores.lulu.com/rsimms
"The outdoors is not just a place, it's a state of mind."
http://www.ScenicCityFishing.com

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#941819 - 09/30/08 07:40 AM Re: Kentucky Lake Creel Limit Crappie Udate [Re: rsimms]
WestTn Huntin'man
16 Point


Registered: 11/19/06
Posts: 11951
Loc: Benton Co.

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I can tell you just about every where I go around here has a petition at the cash registar for locals to sign. I've seen them in resturants,parts stores,and of course all the sporting goods stores.
_________________________
Proverbs 3:27 Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it

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#941860 - 09/30/08 07:57 AM Re: Kentucky Lake Creel Limit Crappie Udate [Re: Taylor]
Taylor Administrator
10 Point


Registered: 09/10/07
Posts: 3061
Loc: Brownsville, Tennessee

Offline
As for the crappie reg, I believe as most what's best for the resource should come first (I put a lot of faith in what biologists report from the field/water), while also "soothing" as many sportsmen as possible. But we all know how easy it is to make everybody happy! LOL.

As for the TWRC...I wrote in a column (many, many years ago...but after you were a TWRA employee) that some of the Commissioners, and one in particularly, oughta get a recliner/E-Z Boy instead of a "seat" on the TWRC...it had gotten to be that crazy.

I (me, big proponent of term limits for all politicians) can say this much for that particular Commissioner in question, though, he certainly knew/knows how to work it, though. Getting on board when both a Republican and/or Democrat was governor.

Now THAT is political clout. And heck, looking back on it, I really can't say he did a bad job. Though I did often wonder why he wanted to stay aboard, so badly? Never got an answer on that one. Might not be an answer.

I have certainly known/know some good TWRC members, that rise to the appointment, too.

But the bottom line I got when I asked about TWRC itself and how it had seemingly turned more political machine that purpose (supposedly the second most sought after appointment in the state????? according to many) was that the present system is likely the best system.

Dunno. I have lost a lot, if not all, faith in ANYTHING political, though not calling for total anarchy — yet. I am ALWAYS skeptical. LOL.

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