Rule against keeping 15-to-19-inch bass to end at lake
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A rule against anglers keeping 15-to-19-inch (38-to-48-centimeter) largemouth and spotted bass is nearing its end at a north Louisiana lake that once yielded record-setting fish.
Starting Feb. 20, Caney Creek Reservoir will operate under the same rules as most of the state — a 10-fish limit, without any size restrictions, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said in a news release Monday. .
The state is also ending the reservoir’s creel limit of eight fish, with only two of them more than 19 inches long.
In the early 1990s, eight of the state’s 10 biggest largemouth bass were taken from Caney. Six are still in the top 10, including the record-holder: a 15.97-pound (7.24-kilogram) lunker caught in 1994. The state’s 10th-largest, at 15.15 pounds (6.87 kilograms), also was taken there, in 1995.
By contrast, 15-inch largemouth bass average less than 2 pounds (1 kilogram), and 19-inchers less than 4 pounds (2 kilograms), according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The so-called slot limit was meant to encourage anglers to take more fish less than 15 inches long from the 5,000-acre (2,023-hectare) lake in Jackson Parish. That would reduce their competition for food so more of those remaining could quickly grow to trophy size.
That hasn’t happened at Caney. Officials say that’s because anglers release most of the bass they catch.
The department doesn’t expect an “overharvest” but plans a yearlong creel survey to see if anglers change their tactics, according to the news release.
At a state Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting in September, biologists said bass population is now beyond the lake’s ability to provide enough food to grow them to trophy size.
In 2014, for similar reasons, the department removed slot limits on six other lakes.
They remain at three lakes: Poverty Point Reservoir, John K. Kelly-Grand Bayou Reservoir in Red River Parish and Caddo Lake, where they apply only to largemouth bass.