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Smallmouth Size Limit 2005

Length Limit Regulation Change for Black Bass in Wilson Reservoir

Effective February 12, 2005, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will implement a change in the size limit of black bass in Wilson Reservoir. The new regulation reads as follows:

"Wilson Reservoir - It is illegal to possess any smallmouth bass less than 14 inches in total length."

This change will allow anglers to keep largemouth bass and spotted bass of any size while protecting smallmouth bass less than 14 inches in total length. The 14-inch minimum length limit on smallmouth bass and no minimum length limit on largemouth and spotted bass make Wilson Reservoir’s black bass length regulation the same as on Pickwick Reservoir. 

In 1993, a 15-inch minimum length limit was placed on all black bass species on Wilson Reservoir. The goals were (1) to increase the overall abundance of bass, (2) to increase the abundance of black bass over 15 inches, and (3) to ultimately increase the abundance of bass over 5 pounds.

Monitoring of bass populations from 1995-2004 indicated that goals (2) and (3) were not achieved. There has been a stockpiling of 12- to 14-inch fish, and this over-abundance of bass has resulted in poor growth rates.

A public meeting was held on September 14, 2004, in Florence to present findings and gather input from anglers. Five management options were presented and discussed. The large majority of anglers attending the meeting supported the removal of the 15-inch minimum length limit on spotted and largemouth bass in Wilson Reservoir.

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