TWRA Presents Fishing Regulations, Conservation Raffle Nets $2.5 Million
NASHVILLE --- A preview of sportfish and commercial fishing regulations were presented, and the winners of the 2023 Tennessee Conservation Raffle were announced at the August meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting. The two day meeting concluded Friday at Pickwick Landing State Park Conference Center.
The sportfish regulation proposals include changes to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency fishing lakes in West Tennessee. One proposal would remove the daily creel limit and the length limit for crappie at Lake Graham, Glenn Springs, Carroll, and Garrett lakes to improve size and harvest success. A limit of one largemouth bass over 18 inches taken daily was also proposed for Garrett and Carroll lakes.
For the Cumberland Plateau Region, changes for small lakes and ponds were proposed for Bridgestone/Firestone WMA, Indian Boundary Lake in Monroe County, and Madisonville’s Lake Kefauver. These are regarding the size or harvest limits of bluegill redear sunfish, catfish, and crappie. The TWRA is also proposing the snagging of paddlefish in the Emory River.
There were also date changes and size limits proposed for striped bass on Boone Reservoir, smallmouth bass on Norris Reservoir, and trout fishing regulations on Buffalo Creek. Commercial fishing regulations proposals included changes to harvesting invasive carp in proximity to Kentucky Reservoir marinas, changes to hoop nets and slat baskets, and daily roe fish harvest reporting.
The complete proposals will be available on the TWRA website, and a comment period will be announced. The commission will vote on the regulations at its September meeting. If approved the sportfish regulations will be effective March 1, 2024, and the commercial fishing regulations 30 days following approval.
Joey Woodard, Executive Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, reported on this year’s raffle and announced the 10 grand prize winners. The first person drawn with first choice in prize selection was Cherise Guesford (Sevierville), followed by Mark Dennington (Cedar Grove), Joel Stansberry (Hixson), Jessie Boudreaux (Breaux Bridge, La.), Steven Calvert (Morris Chapel), Jeff Petroff (Mt. Juliet), John Ferowich (Caryville), Michael Frank (Lobelville), Steve Crawley (Shady Valley), and Alexander Musarra (Clarksville).
This year’s raffle had 35,978 orders resulting in 224,910 tickets sold. The gross revenue was $2,495,240, an increase of 31 percent from last year. Money raised will be used to fund habitat management, land acquisition, and hunting and fishing programs.
In the order drawn, the winners have their choice of prizes. This year’s raffle prizes include the new addition of an $89,000 Oliver Travel Camper. Other packages include a $50,000 voucher which can be applied to a new vehicle from any Mid-South Ford dealership, an elk tag for the Tennessee Premier Elk Zone, a deer hunt on Presidents Island; a Tracker boat, a UTV, turkey hunting package; waterfowl hunting package, a $5,000 Academy + Sports Outdoors gift card, a Best of the West precision long-range shooting package, and Tennessee Heritage hunting package.
Van Buren County wildlife officer Matt Howard was introduced as the TWRA 2022 Boating Officer of the Year. He works the various lakes located in the Cumberland Plateau area and was selected for his hard work and leadership.
The Commission approved the TWRA’s budget for 2024-25. The new budget is effective July 1, 2024.
The Commission also heard from a pair of guest presenters. Emery Hoyle from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) provided information on the establishment of Paint Rock River National Wildlife Refuge in Franklin County along the Tennessee-Alabama line. Kelvin Young, from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) presented information about the ongoing $3.4 million investment into updating pumphouses in dewatering areas on the Tennessee portion of Kentucky Reservoir.
Continued from the June TFWC meeting in Nashville, were rules and regulations governing raptors and regulations for captive wildlife. For live wildlife, the Commission approved changes to permitting requirements and classifications of captive species, including the addition of Komodo dragons to the list of Class 1 species that are inherently dangerous to humans and may only be possessed by zoos or other appropriately licenses entities. The raptor section of the captive wildlife rule was removed and made a standalone rule. The new rule was approved and updates raptor use, possession, and propagation permitting requirements.