Stick Marsh Largemouth Bass Regulation Survey

The Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management is working towards revamping the current statewide largemouth bass regulation to bring uniformity across the state and address outdated scientific issues with the existing regulation.  Currently, within the North East region, the daily statewide harvest regulation for largemouth bass is a 5 fish bag limit, with a minimum size of 14” and only one fish over 22”.  The new statewide regulation will keep the existing daily 5 fish bag limit, but only allow the harvest of fish less than 16” except for one fish that can be 16” long or longer.  The new regulation helps protect the desirable larger bass over 16”, but it also provides an opportunity for someone to catch and keep smaller bass (which are most often males and slow-growing females that will never reach trophy size), and one larger bass if they so desire.  If this proposed regulation is approved, it would become effective July 1, 2016 at the earliest.

Stick Marsh and Kenansville are currently listed as catch and release-only water bodies for largemouth bass. However, if the proposed regulation is approved, our Division is considering moving all water bodies under the new regulation.  This means that the catch and release regulation at Stick Marsh and Kenansville could change to the new statewide regulation in 2016 unless biological and sociological justifications are strong enough to keep the current catch and release regulation in place.

This change could provide advantages and disadvantages for Stick Marsh/Kenansville bass anglers, depending on your point of view.  Below are a few things that I believe will happen if catch and release is removed at Stick Marsh/Kenansville:

· Regulations will become less restrictive and allow anglers to harvest small largemouth bass for table fare.

· Due to the productivity and bass growth rates in the Upper Basin, harvest of fish less than 16” is unlikely to influence or reduce the existing bass population.

· Allowing harvest of trophy largemouth bass may impact the trophy bass population in these reservoirs.  Every trophy bass removed from Stick Marsh and Kenansville is one less trophy fish available to be caught.  If harvest is high, it may change the average size structure of the fish population, and affect trophy bass catch rates.

· Organized tournaments will be allowed to occur at Stick Marsh and Kenansville, potentially increasing the amount of angling effort and economic impact at these reservoirs.
 
The following survey is designed to get feedback and comments from anglers and other interested parties concerning the largemouth bass regulation at Stick Marsh and Kenansville.  The results of this survey will be used to provide sociological justification or opposition for any regulation change at Stick Marsh and/or Kenansville.
 
Questions and further comments can be directed to FWC Fisheries Biologist, Dustin Everitt:
 
dustin.everitt@myfwc.com
(352) 620-7343

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* 1. To what extent do you support the proposed change to the STATEWIDE largemouth bass regulation (5 fish daily bag limit, only one of which may be 16 inches or longer)?

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* 2. Do you fish for largemouth bass or have a vested interest in the largemouth bass fisheries at Stick Marsh and Kenansville Reservoirs?

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* 3. To what extent do you support the new statewide regulation being enacted at Stick Marsh and/or Lake Kenansville?

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* 4. Why do you support or oppose changing the regulation at Stick Marsh and/or Lake Kenansville from catch and release to the new statewide proposed regulation?

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* 5. The proposed largemouth bass regulation change (5 fish daily bag with one fish over 16 inches) would result in me fishing Stick Marsh and/or Kenansville...

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* 6. How many largemouth bass tournaments do you participate in during a typical year?

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* 7. What is your home city, state and zip code (listed on your driver's license)?

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* 8. Which option below best describes you?

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* 9. How often do you fish the Stick Marsh and/or Lake Kenansville for largemouth bass in a typical year? (Answer should be given in days per year for each waterbody).

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* 10. Do you have any additional comments concerning the largemouth bass regulations at Stick Marsh and Lake Kenansville?

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