TWRA clarifies regulations

By Joe Bowling

   The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has been receiving many phone calls regarding a statement in the "Basic Laws and Definitions" portion of the Tennessee Fishing Regulations 2002.
   The first two statements on page 17 concerning fish stocking and the movement of fish between public bodies of water need to be defined more specifically as they relate to adjacent, mainstream reservoirs on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers.
   As written, the portion in question reads: Stocking of any fish into public waters is strictly prohibited. Fish may not be moved between public bodies of water.
   After consultation between agency fisheries biologist and the law enforcement staff, it has been determined that the interpretation of stocking does not apply to sport fish of legal harvest size that are locked through mainstream reservoirs, nor was the law intended to apply to anglers moving legal sport fish between mainstream reservoirs where locking is allowed.
   The actual stocking of any fish species into public waters is strictly prohibited because of concerns related to the introduction of exotic species and parasites. The movement of fish between tributary reservoir such as Douglas Lake and a mainstream reservoir such as Watts Bar Lake is not permitted under the interpretation of the stocking rule because these are not adjacent reservoirs connected by a navigable dam.
   Anglers fishing several reservoirs in one trip need to be in compliance with harvest regulations for all bodies of water where they are navigating and fishing. The best way to ensure compliance is to observe the most restrictive harvest regulations of the reservoirs on which they are fishing.
   Bill Kyte is shown in front of Misty Waters with his limit of trout caught in the river.