New fishing regulations approved by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission run the gamut from limits changes to permits to boat transport.
All new regulations will go into effect Jan. 1. The AGFC unanimously voted in October to approve changes to Arkansas’ regulations on recreational fishing, commercial fishing and aquaculture.
Ben Batten, chief of the agency’s Fisheries Division, said 80% of the 46 regulations changes were clarifications, simplifications or reductions in current regulations. The other 20% were changes backed by scientific evidence or public input aimed at improving sportfish populations and angler experience.
Notable changes include:
Requiring boaters to remove drain plugs from vessels while being trailered to and from water bodies
Requiring trotlines and limblines to be checked every 48 hours or removed when not in use;
Standardizing the number of free-fishing devices and yo-yos being used to 25 of each per person
Increasing the possession limit on fish from two daily limits to three daily limits
Removing rough fish gigging season dates an allow rough fish harvest by gig year-round;
Removing the requirement to possess an alligator gar permit to fish for alligator gar (a Trophy Alligator Gar Tag is still required to keep alligator gar longer than 36 inches)
Adding a 10-inch minimum length limit on crappie for Lake Dardanelle
Allowing 10 additional spotted bass to the daily limits for Ouachita, DeGray and Greeson lakes
Allowing twice the statewide limit of channel catfish on the Arkansas River, regardless of size
Allowing unlimited recreational harvest of channel catfish on Lake Erling
Changes to Arkansas’s commercial fishing and aquaculture regulations also were passed. While most regulations proposals remained unchanged, a proposal to eliminate commercial fishing on the entirety of the Strawberry River was modified to allow it only on the 13-mile stretch of the river from its mouth to Arkansas Highway 25.
The Commission unanimously voted to approve the proposed reworking of Arkansas’s aquaculture codes to benefit the integrity of Arkansas’s aquaculture industry while protecting natural resources. Staff worked with aquaculture producers in focus groups as well as online surveys before their official proposal to the Commission in August.
Nov 5, 2020 - A complete list of changes is available at agfc.com/en/education/calendar/commission-meetings/monthly-commission-meeting-2020-10.