July 19, 2018
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
BATESVILLE – Commissioners heard the first reading of fishing regulations changes proposed for 2019 at today’s regularly scheduled meeting at the Batesville Community and Aquatics Center.
The following regulations changes were submitted for public comment May 1-31 and have been formally proposed for consideration to be voted on at the Commission’s Aug. 16 meeting:
- Removal of the restriction on common carp as bait on Dierks and De Queen lakes.
- Removal of the 16- to 21-inch protective slot limit on largemouth bass on Tommy L. Sproles Lake Pickthorne.
- Addition of Giant Floater (Pygendon grandis) to Arkansas’s aquaculture clean list.
- Restrict largemouth bass harvest on lakes Austell and Dunn to 10 fish per day with only one being over 20 inches long.
- Establish a 30 fish/day creel limit on Horseshoe Lake.
- Add the White Hall Community Pond and the Arkansas State University Pond to the Family and Community Fishing Program restrictions.
- Reduce all sportfish daily creel limits on Lake Chicot by half during the projected 2019 drawdown.
- Reduce sportfish daily creel limits for Lake June during refilling after its renovation is complete.
- Prohibit the possession of live Asian carp.
- Close commercial fishing on Grand Lake.
- Restrict ponds on Cypress Bayou WMA, Black Swamp WMA and University of Arkansas Pine Tree WDA to rod and pole fishing only.
- Implement special commercial fishing seasons on Bois d’Arc Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Lake Chicot and Old River Lake to be effective Nov. 1-Dec. 1, 2018.
Commissioner Bobby Martin noted many of the proposed changes actually were cases where current regulations were being removed or relaxed, which has been a continuing theme of the Commission’s endeavor to help recruit, retain and reactivate hunters and anglers in Arkansas.
“I think you removed more than you added, which is what we like to see,” Martin said to AGFC Assistant Chief of Fisheries Jason Olive, who presented the regulations changes.
In other business, the Commission:
- Gave Director Pat Fitts approval to enter into a buy-sell agreement with The Trust for Public Land for approximately 975 acres to be added to Cypress Bayou Wildlife Management Area in White County for $2.8 million.
- Recognized the Arkansas Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation for its generous contribution of $100,000 to help offset the purchase price of the Cypress Bayou WMA tract.
- Heard from a representative for the Centers for Biological Diversity, requesting a moratorium on wild turtle harvest in Arkansas and research to further determine the population status of Arkansas turtles.
- Heard from a representative of the Arkansas commercial turtle-harvesting industry in support of continued turtle harvest within Arkansas.
- Heard from a concerned citizen about the ramifications of the proposed moratorium on the importation, breeding and selling of non-native poisonous and venomous animals.
- Approved the removal of outdated and obsolete inventory with an original cost of $347,755 and a current net book value of $52,953.