Angler Awareness and Acceptance of a Mandatory Crappie Harvest Regulation at Lake Fork Reservoir, Texas

To reduce mortality of crappie Pomoxis spp. caught from deep water in winter, beginning in 1991 the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) replaced the statewide 254-mm minimum length limit for crappie with a mandatory harvest regulation during December through February on Lake Fork Reservoir. The special regulation required anglers to harvest the first 25 crappie, regardless of size, with no catch-and-release or culling. Anglers (364 parties, 750 anglers) seeking crappie were asked questions regarding their awareness, their acceptance and how they learned of the regulation during access point creel surveys, December through February, 1991-92 and 1992-93. A majority of the parties were aware (98.6%) and in favor (94.5%) of the regulation. The TPWD Texas Fishing Guide, local newspaper articles, and word-of-mouth were most often cited as the source of information. This study justifies efforts to educate the public regarding fishery management practices.

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