Indiana’s proposed changes in black bass fishing regs have created a stir among bass tournament anglers along the Ohio River.
The intent of the proposed DNR reg was to protect smallmouth bass in Indiana streams, including rivers. However, it appears the way it is written it would essentially eliminate largemouth bass tournaments fished out of locations like Rocky Point in Perry County.
The DNR is aware of the problem and angler input will be considered.
According to an earlier DNR release, the Indiana Natural Resources Commission will conduct two public hearings on proposed changes to the black bass fishing rule, one at 6 p.m. Oct. 11 in Spencer at McCormick’s Creek State Park, the other on Oct. 17 in Peru .
The term “black bass” refers to smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and spotted bass.
The DNR has proposed changes that will replace the minimum size limit of 12 inches for black bass taken from rivers or streams with a requirement that black bass taken from rivers and streams must be less than 12 inches long or more than 15 inches long, with not more than two being greater than 15 inches long. The bag limit of five in aggregate per day will remain the same.
The DNR says it believes that this proposed slot limit will afford increased protection, particularly for smallmouth bass populations, and may increase the quality of smallmouth bass fishing opportunities in certain streams.
Allowing some harvest of bass less than 12 inches is aimed at preventing “stockpiling” of small bass, and the resulting slow growth that occurs. It would also allow the take of spotted bass, which are plentiful in some streams, compete directly with smallmouth bass, and seldom grow larger than 12 inches.
If approved as is, the reg would prohibit weighing in a string of five largemouh bass over 12 inches from streams like Deer Creek, Oil Creek and other Indiana embayments.
When I contacted Phil Bloom, spokesman for the DNR, he said, “ The proposed slot proposal does not apply to the main stem of the Ohio River, but as written, it would include the tributaries and embayments. That is not our intent, but it will need to be addressed following the two public hearings.
“The DNR is working on rule amendments that will help resolve the concerns of tournament anglers that use the Ohio River, as well as it’s embayments and the tributaries.
“As part of this process, the DNR may request to postpone the final vote on these rule changes while a resolution is made,” said Phil.