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Old 03-16-16, 12:47 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Accokeek MD
Posts: 3,315
Default Potomac Changes

This was sent out to all tournament directors..

Dear 2016 Tournament Director,
As many of you know, the Department has recognized a problem with the fishery for largemouth bass in Potomac River. To help solve the problem and improve fishing in the future, the Department has taken several actions over the past 2 years, including the development of a stocking plan. The Department has also received valuable feedback regarding the idea of catch-and-return areas. We will keep you posted on whether the Department will propose a catch-and-return area regulation along with the details of that regulation.
We want to let you know about an additional management action that the Department is taking to address problems with the largemouth bass fishery (see attachment). A lag in reproduction in recent years has and could continue to reduce numbers of older fish. This raises concern because older, bigger fish are the least common in the population and often the most retained during tournaments. These large fish are also more susceptible to post-release stress and/or mortality, especially during warmer water months. The Department wants to work with tournament directors to reduce the number of large fish coming to the scales.
Beginning in March, this management action will limit possession of 15-inch or bigger largemouth bass to one per tournament angler for tournaments held in Potomac River and upper Chesapeake Bay fisheries between June 16 and October 31. Tournament anglers will still be able to possess up to five (5) bass that are 12 to 15 inches. We hope this action will help replenish older age groups of largemouth bass. Replacement of these age groups should result in a healthier, more robust population of bass.
The action was approved by the Department's Secretary Belton and builds upon a best management practice within the permitting application ("the fishable slot"). It is described in the attached memorandum, along with scientific justification and a plan to review its effectiveness. This possession limit will be added as a stipulation to future permit requests for 2016 and 2017. If an angler weighs in more than one (1), 15-inch or larger fish per tournament day, then the director will be fined a penalty for each violation. If you have your permits for 2016, then we highly encourage your voluntary adoption of this stipulation.
We have considered several actions over the past 6 months, many with significant input from you and other stakeholders. I know that this action will lower the weights of bags and this may be disheartening to some anglers. It should not affect a competition for a lunker or the spirit of competition. We look forward to working with you to protect and improve the bass angling experience for the future.
Please do not hesitate to call me regarding the action at 410-260-8257 or send me an email.
Sincerely, Joe Love.
Joseph W. Love, Ph.D.
Tidal Bass Manager
Capt Mike Starrett light tackle guide Potomac River
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