Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas has a reputation of having a large population of spotted bass. Unfortunately it’s not for having big spotted bass like Table Rock Lake, but small spotted that hardly measure 12-inches in length. Not surprisingly electrofishing results have shown a slow growth rate, but we as anglers can do something about this by taking a survey on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website and agreeing to eliminate the 12-inch minimum length limit on Beaver Lake in Arkansas.
Here is survey question #8.
Spotted bass in Beaver Lake exhibit slow growth rates as documented by age and growth studies. It takes Beaver Lake spotted bass 3.8 years to reach the 12-inch minimum length limit and over 7 years to reach 15 inches. The spotted bass population in Beaver Lake is dominated by smaller fish. Results from the last two years of electrofishing showed that over 82% were below 12 inches. Discontinuing the length limit on spotted bass will promote more harvest of the species which will reduce competition for available forage and allow for increased growth rates of other black bass species.
Let’s put that in perspective. You are fishing in a bass tournament and you catch a spotted bass. It's more than likely to be one of the 82% that's less than 12-inches.
Your opinion Matters and the more anglers that click on the survey the better chances are that large population of small spotted bass will be removed.
The only possible issue that the AGFC will face is tournament anglers are so mind set on catch-and-release that no one will take the spotted bass out of Beaver Lake. I can think of a couple ways to avoid this issue.
Let’s begin with spotted bass only tournaments where anglers can bring in all the spotted bass they want to weigh in; how exciting of tournament that would be with numbers of unwanted spotted bass removed from Beaver Lake. The spotted bass weighed in can be clean and given to any of the anglers or spectators attending the event. It’s a win-win situation.
It’s your opportunity to voice your opinion on the population of spotted bass on Beaver Lake. Don’t wait to do it. Take the survey now.
Link to the survey www.agfc.com
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