FWC passes rule to conserve quality bass on Orange, Lochloosa lakes
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Media contact: Bob Wattendorf, 850-528-1060
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) approved a new rule Wednesday, reducing the daily
bag limit for trophy bass at Orange and Lochloosa lakes in Alachua
County. The largemouth bass fishery at Orange Lake Fish Management
Area is booming, with many bass weighing more than 10 pounds; some
exceeding 15 pounds have been documented.
Anglers want to keep it that way.
The new rule goes into effect in mid-February 2011
and alters the daily bag limit for largemouth bass in Orange and
Lochloosa lakes fish management areas from three fish per day
outside of the protective slot limit of 15 to 24 inches in total
length (all fish between 15 and 24 inches must be released) to
three fish per day, only one of which may be over 24 inches in
total length. The protective slot limit will remain unchanged. The
effect would be to lower the risk of high harvest of highly valued
trophy bass in these two connected lakes.
With outstanding fishing and extensive media
exposure, FWC biologists and local anglers expect high fishing
pressure in the spring. Prior to this rule modification, anglers
could harvest three trophy-size bass per day. Although the
potential for an angler to catch three trophy bass in one day is
low, expected high fishing pressure and the abundance of larger
bass in the lake prompted this precautionary action.
FWC staff sought the opinions of anglers and local
businesses, with 90 percent supporting this rule change.
"This rule change is consistent with our efforts to
manage largemouth bass for the benefit of anglers and local
communities, to make Florida the undisputed Black Bass Fishing
Capital of the World," said Allen Martin, FWC regional freshwater
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's
2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated
Recreation, bass anglers enjoyed more than 14 million days of
fishing in Florida and generated $1.25 billion for the state's
"Recreational fishing provides a great opportunity
for Florida's citizens and tourists to get outdoors and connect
with nature in a healthy, stress-reducing environment," said Tom
Champeau, director of the FWC's Division of Freshwater Fisheries
Management. "This rule is just one more incremental step in working
with anglers and communities to make fishing even better."
For more details on the new regulation, contact
Allen Martin at 386-758-0525.