AUGUST 18, 2005 - Posted at 5:45 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - For the ninth consecutive year, Arkansas waterfowl hunters will get 60 days of waterfowl hunting. Commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has approved the season along with a 6 duck bag limit for the 2005-2006 waterfowl season.
Duck hunters will be allowed no more than four mallards of which only one mallard may be a hen. The daily bag limit may also contain one pintail, three mottled ducks, two scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads, one black duck and one canvasback, but no more than a total of six ducks.
The waterfowl season will again be split into three segments. The first portion will open on Nov. 19 and continue through Dec. 4. Following a 12-day break, the season will reopen on Dec. 16 and continue through Dec. 24. After a one-day Christmas break, duck season will reopen again on Dec. 26 and continue through Jan. 29, 2006.
Canvasback season is 30 days with a one bird bag limit, Dec. 31 to Jan. 29, 2006. The popular youth waterfowl hunt is Dec. 10-11 with bag limits the same as the regular season.
In other business, the commission:
Approved several fishing code regulation changes. Some of the changes included:
---changing the current 12-inch minimum length limit on smallmouth bass and four fish per day creel limit on the Eleven Point River to a 14-inch minimum length limit and two fish per day creel limit.
---increasing the daily creel limit on walleye to six fish per day on Greers Ferry Lake.
---prohibiting the sale of frogs as bait. Collection and personal use of frogs as bait would still be allowed.
---improve put-and-take fishing and quality trout management using river wide slot of 13-16 inches for rainbow and brown trout with a "No Bait Zone" on the Beaver Tailwaters.
---implementing a commercial fishing season on Lake Chicot.
---changing the sportfish regulation along the Mississippi River along Arkansas' common boundary with Tennessee. This regulation would restrict anglers from possessing more than one catfish that is greater than 34 inches in length. Commercial anglers could not harvest any catfish over 34 inches from the Mississippi River. This would include channel, blue and flathead catfish.
The commission also:
Received several proposals from the fisheries division on aquatic turtle regulations for 2006. The proposals included the creation of an Aquatic Turtle Harvest Permit , Aquatic Turtle Dealer Permit, Non-Resident Aquatic Dealer Permit and Aquatic Turtle Breeder Permit. The fisheries division will also review a proposal to prohibit the harvest of chicken turtles since the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy herpetological committee considers them a Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
In May, the Commission approved regulations that would close deer hunting in flood-prone regions along the Cache and White rivers at lower water levels than in the past. They also approved changes in the boundaries to some of the flood prone regions and created three new flood-prone regions along the Mississippi River.
In response to concerns by hunters in the Cache and White River areas about the new lower closing levels, the Commission revisited the closure level issue in regions A through F. During the meeting, the Commission voted to return to last year's closure levels. The new flood-prone region boundaries will remain the same. Boundaries and closure levels for the flood-prone regions along the Mississippi River will not be affected.