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#586184 - 11/29/05 08:11 PM Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
Mitch P. Offline

Registered: 05/04/01
Posts: 31734
What we've all been waiting for!

Thanks to Bob and the entire DEP for taking the time to read our comments and respond to them.


Sorry I haven't responded earlier, but these are busy times. Also, reviewing all the concerns and questions of ctfisherman.com readers about bass management, I'm just a bit overwhelmed. I feel like I'd have to write a whole textbook to fully answer everything! Many of the observations and opinions of your readers are good ones - some are based on misconceptions. I'll touch briefly on some topics to hopefully clear up some of the debate.

Goals and Objectives of CT Bass Management - One of the primary goals of most of our Inland Fisheries management programs is to optimize the quality and diversity of fishing opportunities in the state. "Quality", however, is in the eye of the beholder. For example, everyone wants to catch more and/or bigger bass, but opinions differ on how much harvest should be allowed. It is true that the majority of anglers release their bass regardless of size; however, a sizable (typically about one quarter) minority still wishes the opportunity to keep some bass. Typically, we try to come up with compromise regulations that don't completely alienate a significant (even if they're in the minority) segment of our constituency. We also tend toward management that doesn't completely curtail fishing opportunities. For example, length limits are more desirable than closed seasons because anglers are still able to fish with the former, but with the latter, they have to pack up their bags and go home.
In the case of bass management, "diversity" translates to not managing all of our state's bass fisheries the same way (for example, with the same regulations). Hence, we've created the Bass Management Lakes.

Bass Management Lakes- We currently have 29 lakes with special regulations on bass that are more restrictive than the statewide 12-inch minimum length and 6-fish creel limit. We created two categories, "Big Bass" Management Lakes with moderately restrictive regulations and "Trophy Bass" Management Lakes with very restrictive regulations. Your readers need to know that this is still a "grand experiment" for Connecticut. We've instituted a variety of regulations to see what works where, and how anglers will react to them. Sampling for short-term results just began in 2005 and will continue through 2007 (regulations on most lakes were initiated in 2002). After our initial analyses are complete, we will reassess the whole program and decide what modifications need to be made.

The only thing we know for sure at this point comes from the literature and from the original three lakes in which experimental length and creel limits were implemented in 1989. Restrictive slot and minimum length limits have been successfully used to increase the density of larger bass in numerous waters across the country. In Connecticut, densities of greater than 12-inch bass increased by about 40% within 5 years and by more than 100% within 10 years in Moodus Reservoir and Pickerel Lake! In Lake Saltonstall, however, bass densities declined for all size classes despite an 18-inch minimum length and 1-fish creel limit. Without going into details, this illustrated how changes in a lake environment can have as big or bigger impact on a bass population than any regulations we can come up with.

Effectiveness of Slot Length Limits - Slot length limits have been successfully used all over the country to enhance fish populations. The purpose of a slot length limit is to allow harvest of surplus, overabundant small fish while at the same time, protecting larger fish. Theoretically, thinning out the smaller fish should reduce competition for food and cause growth rates to improve. In Pickerel Lake, the only CT lake in which a slot length limit has been in place for a number of years, bass population numbers and growth rates both improved.
In many cases, too few anglers may be willing to keep small bass in order for the slot to work as planned (i.e. cause improvements in growth). This does not mean that the regulation is a failure or bad idea; however, because it still makes sense to allow the anglers the opportunity to harvest sizes of fish that are in surplus. In other words, at worst a slot limit increases the opportunity for anglers to keep bass, and although it may not have much of an effect on the bass population, it doesn't hurt it.

The 6-fish Creel Limit - In my opinion (which might not be shared by all my colleagues), there is merit in considering a reduction in the statewide bass creel limit. This is not advisable where a slot limit is in place; however, because in this situation we want to encourage harvest of as many small bass as possible. It is important for anglers to know that reduced creel limits don't typically have much of an impact on overall annual harvest rates. This is because in most lakes the majority (usually over 90%) of bass is typically harvested one or two at time. Reduced creel limits do have the benefit of reinforcing a conservation ethic (i.e. don't be a fish hog) and could be implemented solely for that purpose. All of the Bass Management Lakes have reduced creel limits (one or two fish) on larger bass and we will be assessing the benefits.

Tournament Bass Mortality- We were also concerned about the effects of tournaments on bass populations and conducted a cooperative two-year study with UConn during 2001-02. Overall, mortality rates were low (3.2% of the tournament-caught largemouths and 7.6% of the smallmouths died). Temperature was determined to be the most important factor determining mortality rates. This is why reported tournament mortality rates are much higher in southern states. We determined that at worst, tournaments accounted for a very low percentage of the overall bass mortality in most Connecticut lakes. For this reason, we've exempted tournament anglers from the special regulations in the Bass Management Lakes during all but July and August, the hottest months of the year.

Yes, it's important how tournament anglers handle their catch. Most do a good job - there are always a few that don't, which tends to give everyone else a black eye.

Yes, there are concerns about the effects of relocating fish long distances in big systems like the CT River and Candlewood. Initial studies have shown that fish eventually disperse and many (especially smallmouths) will travel long distances to return to where they were captured. This topic is still being studied and debated by fisheries scientists.

Fishing "Ain't What it Used to Be" - Some of your readers have reported "fewer big bass", but we have not observed this. We've heard complaints of this nature for some waters, but just as many anglers have reported great or improved fishing in others. In general, our electrofishing data indicates that bass populations are stable or have improved in most lakes over the past fifteen years. There are indications that there has been an increasing tendency toward catch-and-release bass fishing over the past twenty years. We've heard nothing to make us assume that harvest rates have generally increased.

It is reasonable to assume that fishing pressure has increased, however. There is plenty in the literature that points toward pressured bass getting harder to catch. I have heard reports of this being true in CT from a few "sharpies" who have claimed that they've had to fish deeper and with more finesse than they used to, but that the fish are still there. I know nobody wants to hear that the fish are there, but they just don't know how to catch them, but....

We really appreciate and applaud your readers' interest and concerns on the topic of bass management. It is important for everyone to know that we are listening and everyone's opinion matters and is considered. It is our charge to do our best to optimize angling opportunities for as many Connecticut anglers as possible. Your jobs are to be our eyes and ears out there - we can't be every place all the time - and let us know what you observe and how you think things are working out. It is also important for people to realize that bass management, like that of our other fish management programs, is a work in progress here in Connecticut. It is certainly not our intention to merely produce a bunch of mandates that will be in place forever. Instead, we will continue to experiment and tweak the system in an ongoing effort to improve fishing quality.

Bob Jacobs
Eastern District Supervisor, CTDEP Inland Fisheries Division
Project Leader - Connecticut Bass Research and Management Program
Fishing Info
#586185 - 11/29/05 08:27 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
Big Beave Offline


Registered: 04/08/04
Posts: 4964
thanks mitch and thank you dep
#586186 - 11/29/05 08:42 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
Blaine Offline


Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 15340
Loc: South Carolina
Thanks for taking the time to respond Bob. The DEP's efforts on this website are greatly appreciated!
#586187 - 11/29/05 08:59 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
BOB 06239 Offline

Registered: 12/30/04
Posts: 3085
Loc: Danielson,Ct.
Thanks alot for the reply Bob.Keep up the great work you guys are doing.

Catch and Release fishing is a lot like golf. You don't have to eat the ball to have a good time....
#586188 - 11/29/05 09:14 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
yamar Offline

Registered: 04/13/03
Posts: 920
thanks to the DEP, it's good to know that our discussions aren't falling on deaf ears.... This also reaffirms my faith that the DEP is in fact on top of things...keep up the good work
#586189 - 11/29/05 09:27 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
jimfish Offline


Registered: 10/13/03
Posts: 6045
Thanks Bob for the reply.

My name is Jim. You can call me slim. I row my boat way out to the middle.Cause the fish I'm after ain't so little. Pike, Trout, Largemouth Bass. Get me out there really fast. I know I'm good,really the best. The rest of you are such a pest. - By Henry Gibson
Jim Boyne

#586190 - 11/29/05 09:48 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
RichZ Offline


Registered: 12/29/02
Posts: 5853
Loc: CT
Thanks for taking the time to reply, Bob. In general, I think our fisheries division does a better job than many others, considering the financial handcuffs put on the department by having to get its budget out of the general fund.


Everybody's got to believe something — I believe I'll go fishing.

Check out my Bass Blog.
#586191 - 11/29/05 10:22 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
air leak Offline


Registered: 01/23/02
Posts: 6322
Thanks for your hard work...
#586192 - 11/29/05 10:47 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management


Registered: 06/23/04
Posts: 20754
Loc: Suffield Ct
Thanks Mitch And Thank you all
at the DEP!

Send me a message if you want to try the W500,W700 and soon the S4.

You can take what you want from life......As long as you give a little Back.
"We never get over the fishing fever, it's a delightful disease and thank the lord there is no cure".
"CTF, is a lure I can not afford to NOT have in my pocket"

Don’t argue with Idiots.. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

Our freedoms are being choked, big brother's grip is getting tighter.


#586193 - 11/29/05 10:48 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
csimone Offline
lastt call before fall

Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 3910
Loc: Danbury CT
great job bob, thank you.
#586194 - 11/29/05 11:41 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
buckcall Offline


Registered: 04/08/03
Posts: 10269
Bob ,Thanks for you hard work.

Mitch, Thanks for the site once again. Are voices being heard because of it .

If you voted for Malloy your an idoit if you voted for Obama you just an ass hole and should be striped of your citizenship!

This country has room for but one flag..The american flag..This country has room for but one language the english language.
Theodore Roosevelt
#586195 - 11/30/05 12:55 AM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
TVal Offline

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 222
Very informative response Bob. Appreciate all the good work the Ct DEP does. Thanks Mitch, for providing the forum for this information.

No phones, no fax, just fishing
#586196 - 11/30/05 02:27 AM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
Randy C Offline

Registered: 01/21/02
Posts: 959
Thanks Bob. YOur help is much appreciated.


#586197 - 11/30/05 10:37 AM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
Mycept Offline


Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 8360
Thanks for the reply Bob. It is great to see a site where the concerns and issues you express are heard by the people making decisions.
#586198 - 11/30/05 10:58 AM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
Jighead Offline

I love re-re-opening day

Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 11156
Big thanks for the reply Rob and trying to answer all of the diffrerent concerns.

Now, do you have any questions for us? cuz we love to type ;\) \:\)

Lot's of us would also be willing to help the DEP any way we could - if we had any idea how.

....If we have any say... Vote for May

#586199 - 11/30/05 01:04 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
JohnS Offline

Life Time Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 12671
Loc: Wallingford/Florida
Wow that wasn an answer and then some. Kudos Bob for the well informed information. Had to read it twice!

New House 5/18
#586200 - 12/16/05 01:57 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
yellowfin31 Offline


Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 780
Awesome report Bob, thanks for all of the dep's efforts. without you guys we would all have to take up bowling...

Thanks again Mitch...........
#586201 - 01/04/06 04:22 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
MikeV Offline


Registered: 07/07/03
Posts: 2374
Loc: Tolland

Thanks for taking the time to answer so many of our questions and concerns. I would like to second the sentiments of JigHead in that there are many on this site that would love to asist the DEP if you told us how. While we all try to be an exstension of the DEP's eyes and ears in terms of reporting violations of regulations I have to believe that there is more that we could do. Habitat and access enhancement, providing detailed catch information, providing detailed useage data (number of boat trailers at a ramp on a given day) are just a few of the things that we could do. The people on this site appreciate the value of the resource and most would be willing to pitch in to help maintain or enhance it. Please think about the ways that we might pitch in and let us know what we can do. Remember, if don't ask-you don't get...
Thanks again for your efforts.

#586202 - 01/17/06 01:11 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
Pistol Offline

BIG Yellow Broom Stick

Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 6432
Loc: South Reading, VT

I miss my Uncle Lewie....However;
I know he's with me on every fishing trip.

2009 CT Saltwater Angler of the Year ~> CT DEEP
1st Place 2009 Team Tuesday Fluke Off

My wife Claire with the Red hair is: A Flukin Princess
Get Outdoors and Enjoy Life!
Lifetime member of the NRA
#586203 - 01/21/06 11:15 AM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
DStu22 Offline


Registered: 02/07/03
Posts: 769
Thanks Bob for taking the time to reply...interesting info.

Thanks for posting Mitch.
#586204 - 02/20/06 04:13 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
senkosam Offline

Registered: 02/20/06
Posts: 12
Now, if only NYS DEC would adopt the same friendly policies and cooperativeness as Conn's DEP, we would be a much happier group of bass anlgers!

Very impressive DEP feedback!

(BTW, my first post; active on NYBASS.com; multi-freshwater angler; make many of my own lures (soft plastics, jig, etc.), live and fish in counties adjacent to the lower the Hudson V.)

Well designed site!
#586205 - 02/20/06 04:14 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
Mitch P. Offline

Registered: 05/04/01
Posts: 31734
Welcome aboard.
#586206 - 03/22/06 12:36 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
Alleycat Offline


Registered: 02/11/05
Posts: 46
Loc: Manchester, CT
I've fished and written about fishing in CT for more than six decades. This discussion exemplifies the value of this website. Many thanks to Mitch and to the continued excellent work by our DEP. When we contrast the obvious success story of Connecticut's fresh water fishing with the disastrous deterioration of salt water fishing in Connecticut waters and elsewhere, the outstanding work of CT DEP's Fresh Water Fisheries Division deserves our applause.
#586207 - 10/27/06 07:54 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management
Alex1 Offline


Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 508
Thanks Mitch. it is educational - something to know and be mindful when people who do not fish ask questions. How does bass fishing and turnament fishing effects bass? etc.

Fish Forever
#829594 - 06/25/07 03:22 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management [Re: Alex1]
Outer Limits Offline


Registered: 04/01/07
Posts: 298
Sounds good but it needs to be enforced.
How are the regulations being enforced? There just doesn't seem to be enough DEP personal to make much impact on checking people who may be breaking the regulations.

Edited by Outer Limits (06/25/07 03:24 PM)
#855604 - 08/28/07 12:32 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management [Re: Outer Limits]
hang on Offline

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 292
Thanks Bob, for all that you and your fellow DEP officers do to keep our waters as full of fish as they can be! Keep up the good work. See you on the water.

Life's Short-Fish Hard!
#864478 - 09/22/07 02:42 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management [Re: Mitch P.]
Greg Bilotta Offline


Registered: 05/17/01
Posts: 983
Loc: Fairfield
I'm finally getting around to reading this report...great information again by the DEP. Thanks to Bob and his entire staff, and thanks to Mitch and his publishing team for getting this information front and center for ctfisherman.com readers.

One question...and forgive me if this has previously been answered by the ctfisherman.com staff and/or the DEP:

What is the largest bass recorded during a bass management lake shock test in Connecticut?

Greg Bilotta
#864483 - 09/22/07 02:57 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management [Re: Greg Bilotta]
Mitch P. Offline

Registered: 05/04/01
Posts: 31734
Good question Greg, I'll try to find out.
#865669 - 09/25/07 04:08 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management [Re: Mitch P.]
Mitch P. Offline

Registered: 05/04/01
Posts: 31734
Here is the response directly from DEP:
The heaviest largemouth bass sampled by us was just over 10 pounds.

The longest largemouth bass was 59 centimeters or 23.2"

The oldest fish was 15-16 years old. When fish get that old it becomes very difficult to be confident by aging a fish with scales only. More confidence can be obtained by aging a fish from otoliths, an inner ear bone, which is extracted cut in half and polished. Once this is done the bone is examined under a microscope and a very accurate age is obtained. We do this very rarely since it necessitates killing the fish, which we don't do lightly.
#866893 - 09/28/07 05:35 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management [Re: Mitch P.]
Greg Bilotta Offline


Registered: 05/17/01
Posts: 983
Loc: Fairfield

Great info...that's a motivating catch! I think you forgot to ask him where the 10 lb'er came from?

Greg Bilotta
#866910 - 09/28/07 06:15 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management [Re: Greg Bilotta]
Greg S. Offline


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 4330

God is great...Beer is good...Women are CRAZY!!
#1068293 - 04/04/09 02:07 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management [Re: Greg S.]
W.G. Offline

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 5423
Txs..Keep up the good work.

"We make a living by what we get.
We make a life by what we give."
'Winston Churchill'

Dee's Bait & Tackle,
93 Clay St.,New Haven

#1087064 - 05/20/09 01:32 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management [Re: W.G.]
PDona Offline

P.Donna at one time

Registered: 07/31/02
Posts: 15529
Loc: Southern Ct
Some good info !! I'm checking into changing our regs on our club pond, right now!! Mitch, can you e-mail me Bob's e-mail address ?

><((((º> `•.¸¸.•´¯`•...¸><((((º>

Hug your mom more ! !

Paul Dona

A "not neat" knot is a knot not needed

><((((º> `•.¸¸.•´¯`•...¸><((((º>

#1087069 - 05/20/09 01:42 PM Re: Official DEP Statement on Bass Management [Re: PDona]
Mitch P. Offline

Registered: 05/04/01
Posts: 31734
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