Special to the Enterprise
Local anglers and other interested parties are invited to attend an upcoming public meeting hosted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division to discuss proposed changes to the current largemouth bass length limits on Lake Lindsay Grace in Wayne County.
Wildlife Resources Division encourages attendance from local sportsmen and women as public input is an important and valuable part of the rule-making process. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, at the Wayne County Commissioner’s Chambers Building (341 East Walnut Street, Jesup).
“WRD Fisheries Management Section staff completed a year–long study that revealed the current 12-inch minimum size limit does allow the most fish to be harvested, but also significantly reduces the number of trophy bass in the lake,” said Tim Bonvechio, fisheries biologist with the Wildlife Resources Division.
“The proposed 15-22 inch protective slot limit predicted a substantial increase in the number of trophy bass available with only a slight decline in the number of bass available to harvest. If enacted, the proposed slot limit has the potential to produce more trophy bass without decreasing the total number of bass harvested by anglers.”
Options being considered:
1. No change in the current size limit of 12 inches and a bag limit of 10 fish per angler per day for largemouth bass;
2. Change the limit to a “protective” slot limit of 15 to 22 inches. Keep the bag limit of 10 fish per day/per angler of which 1 fish can exceed 22 inches per day, if desired, but the other 9 must be less than 15 inches in length.
Wayne County has been proactive in revitalizing the habitat and fish population of Lake Lindsay Grace, which historically produced trophy-size largemouth bass, such as Charles Carter’s 15 lb, 4 oz lake record caught in 1980. However, large bass have been less frequent in recent years.
Projects such as consecutive drawdowns, prescribed burning and in-lake excavating around the perimeter of the lake has helped with aquatic vegetation problems and sediment loading. Changing of the largemouth bass size limit will build upon the county’s habitat work to revitalize the largemouth bass population that receives a high level of harvest on an annual basis. This protective slot limit aims to increase the chances of large fish caught from the lake. Additionally, increased trophy bass production could be a catalyst to attract more anglers and revenue to Wayne County
Anyone attending the meeting is welcome to provide statements or comments, either orally or in writing. Statements should be concise to permit everyone an opportunity to speak. Participants must register upon arrival and notify the registering official of their intent to give a statement. Those unable to attend may submit written statements by April 5, 2013.
Written statements should be mailed to:
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, Fisheries Management Section, Attn: Tim Bonvechio, P.O. Box 2089, Waycross, Ga 31502-2089
The March 28 meeting site is accessible to people with physical disabilities. To request sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids, contact Nancy Jones at 912-427-5900 no later than March 15.
After the meeting and the public comment period, Wildlife Resources Division staff will determine if a change of the bass length limits is widely supported. If so, the department may propose a regulation change to the Board of Natural Resources in spring 2013.
For more information, contact Tim Bonvechio at the Waycross fisheries office at 912-285-6094.