LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (August 18, 2017) – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission voted unanimously to approve the list of recommended fishing regulations for 2018. The following recommendations will become effective Jan. 1, 2018.
-Removal of the 13-inch minimum length limit on Lake Ouachita spotted bass.
-Implement an 18- to 21-inch protected slot limit with one fish over 21 inches for largemouth bass on Lower White Oak Lake.
-Enact statewide creel limits for catfish and crappie on Lower White Oak Lake.
-Removal of the 13- to 16-inch protective slot limit on largemouth bass at Dierks Lake.
-Change Millwood Lake catfish creel limits changed to statewide limits.
-Removal of 15-inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass on two USDA Forest Service waters: Caddo Pond (Montgomery County) and Shady Lake (Polk County).
-Removal of daily creel limit for crappie on Lake Charles.
-Revise the trout retention restriction code to make culling of all species of trout unlawful on all waters in the state.
-Reduce number of rods permitted on the Narrows Tailwater (Little Missouri River below Narrows Dam) and the Spring River from two rods to one rod per individual.
-Open special commercial fishing season on Lake Chicot to address silver carp.
-Change opening date of hogging and noodling season south and east of U.S Highway 67 from June 1 to May 15.
Additional regulations concerning commercial fishing and alligator gar harvest may be found at www.agfc.com/code.
The Commission tabled a proposed change to fishing regulations concerning the movement of live, wild-caught baitfish to allow adequate time to review comments recently received from the public concerning the regulation.
The Commission also heard the first reading of a revision to the General Use Wildlife Management Area Permit to exempt people hunting and trapping on private inholdings within WMAs.
In other business, the Commission:
· Recognized James Rogers of Fort Smith as the AGFC’s Operations Division Employee of the Year.
· Recognized Neil Curry, nature center director for the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, for his Lifetime Achievement award from the National Association of Interpretation.
· Recognized Hollie Sanders, education program specialist for the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, for her award of Master Distinguished Professional Interpreter from the National Association of Interpretation.
· Authorized AGFC Director Jeff Crow to enter into a grant agreement with Quail Forever for $630,000 over the next four years to cover 50 percent of the costs associated with six new Farm Bill wildlife biologist positions that will be administered by Quail Forever and focused on northern bobwhite restoration efforts in Arkansas.
· Authorized Crow to purchase an 80-acre inholding within William E. Brewer Scatter Creek Wildlife Management Area with an estimated purchase price of $100,000 (all of which is reimbursable through Wildlife Restoration Program Grant funds).
· Authorized Crow to purchase a 40-acre inholding within Gene Rush WMA with an estimated purchase price of $67,000 (all of which is reimbursable through Wildlife Restoration Program Grant funds).
· Authorized employment of outside legal counsel to represent the AGFC in a legal matter.
· Approved the removal of outdated and obsolete inventory with an original cost of $545,413 and a current net book value of $34,967.