Many of you have probably notices that our current Fishing Guide is valid until the end of this year. In 2015 we will have a new Fishing Guide for the next couple of years. That means we have been kicking around some regulation ideas:
On October 23, 2014, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will hold a public hearing and take testimony on proposed changes in Fisheries Regulations for 2015-2016. Before we finalize our ideas into recommended changes in regulations, we want to collect input from our constituents regarding the initial ideas we had for regulation changes. Please mail or email me your opinions for each of the following suggested changes that matter to you by September 10. Especially tell me which ones you support and which ones you oppose.
After we did this same process two years ago, we did change some of our initial suggested changes because of the input we received. So, your opinion does matter to us! Thanks in advance for the input.
Suggested Changes in Fisheries Regulations for 2015-2016
Section 006: Add tiger trout (brown trout X brook trout hybrid) to the list of sport fish.
Justification: To recognize this naturally-occurring and very aggressive (easily caught) hybrid, which we plan to start producing and stocking in select locations.
Section 006.03E: Restrict the bag limit on trout at the Soldier Creek Wilderness Area (Sioux County) to 2 per day. This would include the Wood Reserve ponds and the middle and south forks of Soldier Creek.
Justification: To limit harvest and produce high-quality trout populations at this remote, walk-in area, owned by the U.S. Forest Service and managed by the Commission.
Section 6.03H: Increase the bag limit on channel catfish from 5 fish per day to 10 per day at Gallagher Canyon Reservoir (Dawson County), Jeffery Reservoir (Lincoln County), Johnson Lake (Gosper and Dawson Counties), Lake Babcock (Platte County), Lake Maloney (Lincoln County), Lake North (Platte County), Lewis and Clark Lake (Knox County), Midway Canyon Reservoir (Dawson County), Phillips Canyon Reservoir (Gosper County), Plum Creek Canyon Reservoir (Dawson County), and Sutherland Reservoir (Lincoln County).
Justification: To liberalize harvest in reservoirs containing channel catfish populations capable of supporting increased exploitation and eliminate the need in the Loup and Platte River irrigation/power districts for anglers and conservation officers to determine where rivers, streams, and canals end and reservoirs begin.
Section 006.03L: Add the following to the list of water bodies where the daily bag limit on walleye, sauger, and saugeye may include one fish 15-18 inches and three or four over 18 inches, with no more than one 22 inches or longer: Big Indian 11A (Gage County), Buffalo Creek (Dawson County), Burchard (Pawnee County), Czechland (Saunders County), Glenn Cunningham (Douglas County), Holmes (Lancaster County), Iron Horse Trail (Pawnee County), Lawrence Youngman (Douglas County), Lone Star (Fillmore County), Meadowlark (Seward County), Olive Creek (Lancaster County), Pawnee (Lancaster County), Prairie Queen Recreation Area (Sarpy County), Red Cedar (Saunders County), Skyview (Madison County), Stagecoach (Lancaster County), Standing Bear (Douglas County), Walnut Creek (Sarpy County), Wanahoo (Saunders County), Wehrspann (Sarpy County), Wildwood (Lancaster County), Willard Meyer Recreation Area (Saline County), Willow Creek (Pierce County), Yankee Hill (Lancaster County), and Zorinsky (Sarpy County).
Justification: To limit premature harvest of advanced (~9 inches) walleye and saugeye being stocked in these water bodies.
Section 006.03M: Add Hershey I-80 Lake (Lincoln County) to the list of water bodies with 30-inch minimum length limits on northern pike.
Justification: To limit premature harvest.
Section 006.03O: Define that paddlefish are measured from the front of the eye to the natural fork of the tail.
Justification: To increase precision of paddlefish measurements.
Section 006.03R: Make it illegal to harvest bowfin and American eel.
Justification: To reduce mortality of these species, declining in abundance in Nebraska.
Section 006.03X: Make it illegal to harvest mussels east of Highway 81.
Justification: To reduce harvest mortality in an area of the state where rivers and streams contain mussel species that are declining in abundance.
Section 006.04A & B: Allow the use of crossbows to harvest fish during archery seasons except for the area below Gavins Point Dam downstream to the Highway 81 Bridge, which would only be open for crossbows to qualified disabled persons, as described in Section 006.04D.
Justification: To increase fishing opportunity while avoiding safety concerns in an area with high concentrations of users and to avoid potentially excessive harvest of large paddlefish, which accumulate in the Gavins Point Dam tail waters. Allowing able-bodied persons to use crossbows in the tail waters would likely lead to excessive angler concentrations and excessive harvest of large paddlefish.
Section 006.04E: Clarify that this section on areas closed to bow fishing only applies to Commission owned and managed properties.
Justification: The Commission does not have jurisdiction on public water bodies controlled by other entities (e.g., cities, counties, Natural Resource Districts).
Section 006.09A & B: Clarify that fish legally harvested from Valentine and Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge lakes can be used as bait at the same lake where they were caught.
Justification: To increase the utility of fish legally harvested.
Section 006.12A1: Increase the cost of a trout tag at Two Rivers SRA from $4 to $6.
Justifications: To more closely recover the costs of producing trout for Two Rivers, which are larger than the fish typically stocked in other put-and-take trout fisheries. The cost of this tag has not been increased since 1997.
Section 006.A2j: Eliminate the requirement for anglers to leave their fishing permit until they report their trout harvest at Two Rivers SRA.
Justification: To simplify processes for both customers and Parks Division personnel.
Section 006.12B: Delete Indian, Pumpkin, Silvernail, and Upper Dugout creeks from the list of trout streams where the use of nets and seines is restricted to a legal landing net.
Justification: Concerns for people netting spawning trout no longer exist in these streams because water flow is no longer sufficient to support trout.
Section 006.13: Add the following to the list of water bodies where it is illegal to possess or use live bait fish: Bennington (Douglas County), Bowman (Sherman County), Independence Landing (Seward County), Kramper (Dakota County), Prairie Queen Recreation Area (Sarpy County) , and Rat and Beaver (Cherry County) and establish that fish legally harvested from water bodies where it is illegal to possess or use live bait fish can be used as bait at the same water body where they were caught.
Justification: To prevent or delay the introduction of problematic fish species (e.g., white perch, gizzard shad, common carp, bighead carp, and silver carp) in these new or renovated waters, while clarifying that fish legally harvested can be used as bait.
Section 009: Delete bowfin from the list of species that can be used as bait.
Justification: To reduce mortality of this species, declining in abundance in Nebraska.
Section 009.01: Add legally harvested yellow perch and sport fish to the list of species that can be used as bait in the same water body from which they are legally taken.
Justification: To clarify that fish legally harvested can be used as bait.
Section 009.02: Delete this section related to transporting baitfish out-of-state.
Justification: Regulations regarding importation of bait from Nebraska to other states are the jurisdiction of those states.
Section 009.03K: Establish that bait dealers may be subject to inspections by employees of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and that adequate samples shall be provided for testing when requested.
Justification: To prevent or delay the spread of problematic species, especially aquatic invasive species, to and within Nebraska.
Section 009.06C: Increase the maximum allowable opening in the throat of a legal minnow trap from 1½ to 2¼ inches.
Justification: To increase trap effectiveness for capturing crayfish.
Section 012: Delete Water Hyacinth, Parrot Feather, and Giant Salvinia from the Category 1 species list (species that have not yet been sampled in Nebraska and are considered a high threat).
Justification: These plants, available in many garden stores, will not survive Nebraska winters.
Section 012: Add White River crayfish and Red Swamp crayfish to the Category 1 species list.
Justification: These crayfish species, cultured for food in the southern U.S., are now showing up in Nebraska bait shops and pose a potential threat to native crayfish populations.
Section 012: Add Creeping Water Primrose to the Category 2 species list. This list includes species that are currently present in Nebraska but with limited distribution. They are considered highly unwanted species and all efforts should be taken to prevent the expansion of their populations.
Justification: This plant species has been present in Nebraska since the mid-1980s. It rapidly spreads to cover an excessive portion of the water surface.
Section 012.03G: Refine language to state that it is illegal to arrive at or leave any water body in Nebraska with water other than from a domestic source (e.g., water supply system, well, or bottled).
Justification: To prevent or delay the establishment of aquatic invasive species, particularly zebra mussels, in Nebraska waters.
Section12.06: Establish that the Commission can require additional restrictions on live bait fish leaving a water body if Category 1 or 2 species are present in that water body.
Justification: To prevent or delay the spread of aquatic invasive species, particularly zebra mussels, in Nebraska waters.
Please send those opinions to me, Daryl Bauer. You can do that at email@example.com or mail a letter to Daryl Bauer, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, 2200 N. 33rd, Lincoln, NE 68503.
Thank you for your input!