I'm asking for support regarding upcoming discussion on the Kentucky Lake crappie creel limit by the Wildlife Resources Commission. Please read through.

After we (in East Tennessee) went through somewhat of a controversy two years ago, the crappie creel limit is about to become an issue again before the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission. Of course Kentucky Lake kept their 30 fish per person creel limit when ours was dropped to 15. Now however, TWRA Biologists have proposed reducing the Kentucky Lake crappie creel to 15.

Of course most of the very well organized marinas, tourism groups and other fishing-oriented businesses in West Tennessee are upset over the proposal. They held a public meeting last night to express their displeasure. Word from behind the scenes is that it is VERY doubtful the Wildlife Commissioners will vote to drop the Kentucky Lake crappie creel limit to 15. It might drop to 20 per person, or stay at 30.

Just as I was two years ago, I am only displeased about one thing. I am extremely upset that the two ends of the state are likely to once again, be treated differently without just cause. If there was clear biological evidence that we should have differing creel limits, I would not be opposed. According to the TWRA Chief of Fisheries, that clear evidence does not exist.

I have mailed a letter to every wildlife commissioner, telling them that I do not care what the crappie limit is. I only care that every angler in Tennessee be treated equally and fairly. Set the Kentucky Lake crappie creel limit wherever you wish... but wherever you set it, please provide the same opportunity for East Tennessee anglers.

I'm asking my TNDeer friends to contact Commissioners as well. You don't have to agree with me... but everyone should take the opportunity to have a voice in this process. Commissioners meet and vote Sept. 17 and 18. A few Commissioners have e-mail, (click HERE for addresses, however a written letter is more effective.

I have pasted the letter I wrote below. If you agree and want to share the same sentiment, please don't copy it exactly. Use your own words.

But regardless of how you feel about the issue, please share your thoughts with Wildlife Commissioners. Thank you.

September 8, 2008

Gary Kimsey
444 Allen Rd.
Sweetwater, TN 37874

Dear Commission Chairman Kimsey:

As we discussed, you will soon be considering a change in Sport Fishing recommendations, including changing the crappie creel limit on Kentucky Lake to match the statewide creel limit of 15 fish per person per day. In Southeast Tennessee we experienced that change effective 2006. I objected to the change, primarily because it lacked sufficient biological justification… but more importantly, because once again East Tennessee anglers were being treated unfairly.

On Kentucky Lake the sauger size limit is 14-inches while in East Tennessee it is 15-inches… in spite of the fact that TWRA Fisheries Chief Bill Reeves says there is no biological justification for the difference.

Mr. Reeves tells me the exact same thing is true regarding the crappie creel limit. There is not sufficient biological justification to indicate the need for a differing creel limit between the East and West Tennessee River mainstream reservoirs. Two years ago he made it clear; the reduced creel limit will not result in more crappie. Mr. Reeves says it will simply disperse the available catch among more anglers…. the exact same effect it would have on Kentucky Lake.

I know my good friends in the Kentucky Lake area are up-in-arms over the change… and are, or will be, lobbying hard for either no change in the KY Lake crappie creel limit, or at least making it 20 fish per person rather than 15.

I don't care where the creel limit is set… I only ask that barring clear biological evidence of the need for a difference…. please provide the exact same opportunities to East Tennessee anglers as are provided in West Tennessee. Make our sauger size limits match and the statewide crappie creel limit 5, 10, 15, 20 or 50…. it doesn't matter. But please make "statewide," mean "statewide." To do otherwise is simply unfair, if not discriminatory.

Thank you for your consideration.

Richard Simms
Scenic City Fishing Charters, Inc., Pres.

cc: Gary Myers, TWRA Executive Director
Bill Reeves, TWRA Chief of Fisheries
Sen. Andy Berke, Dist. 10
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