Evaluation of Reduced Striped Bass Bag Limit, Lake Texoma, Texas and Oklahoma

We evaluated the effects of changing harvest regulations from 15 fish/ day (no more than 5 fish ≥508 mm) to 15 fish/day (no more than 1 fish ≥508 mm) for striped bass (Morone saxatilis) in Lake Texoma, Texas and Oklahoma. A stratified random creel survey was conducted for 2 years before and 4 years after the regulation change to determine striped bass harvest and directed angling pressure. Experimental gill nets were set at 15 stations each February for 3 years before and 4 years after the regulation change to estimate changes in the striped bass abundance and size structure. Overall striped bass harvest did not change (P > 0.05) after the regulation change, but, as expected, the harvest of striped bass ≥508 mm did decrease (P < 0.05), while directed angling pressure did not change (P > 0.05). There were no significant changes (P > 0.05) in the striped bass abundance and numbers ≥508 mm after the regulation was implemented. Factors preventing the regulation change from increasing the numbers of striped bass ≥508 mm could have been angler induced mortality, growth overfishing, weak year classes, inbreeding, or a combination of these factors. The solution may be new regulations, stocking, or both.

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