LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioners heard proposed changes to fishing regulations for 2018 at a monthly Commission meeting. All proposed changes are available for viewing and public comment via online survey at https://survey.agfc.com.
“Some of these changes are simply cleaning up some language in the code to eliminate confusion, others are the result of scientific data collection indicating a need for change, and some are changes derived from requests from anglers which will not hurt the resource,” said Ben Batten, assistant chief of fisheries for the AGFC. “We always leave an open slot on our surveys to gather more public comment, and I encourage everyone to take that opportunity to voice their concerns.”
Batten says many anglers may feel like their comments go unnoticed, but biologists take every statement to heart.
“Sometimes there’s an underlying factor or scientific reason why we can’t do something suggested,” Batten said. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t listening. Some of the open-ended comments may shine a light on a situation that needs more attention.”
The following are among the 27 regulations changes being considered:
1. Implement an 18- to 21-inch slot limit and allow only one fish longer than 21 inches for largemouth bass on Lower White Oak Lake. Also enact statewide creel limits for crappie and catfish on the lake.
2. Remove the 13-inch minimum length limit for spotted bass on Lake Ouachita.
3. Remove the daily limit for crappie on Lake Charles.
4. Revise current trout regulations to ban culling of all trout species statewide. Once any trout on any body of water is kept on a stringer, livewell or fish basket, it must be harvested.
5. Closure of all access within 100 yards below Dam Number 3 on the Spring River.
6. Require daily harvest reporting for commercial anglers.
7. Close commercial fishing in Ouachita County, except on the main channel of the Ouachita River.
8. Create a trophy tag system to keep alligator gar.
9. Open a special commercial fishing season on Lake Chicot to address silver carp.
10. Change opening date of hogging and noodling season south and east of Arkansas Highway 67 from June 1 to May 15.
11. Prohibit the take of grass carp on Lake Columbia.
The Commission is expected to vote on these changes during its August 2017 meeting.