October meetings of the Nebraska Game & Parks commissioners are typically when changes in fishing regulation are enacted. This news release went out late last week following the commission meeting:
Commission adopts changes to fisheries regulations, orders
LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission adopted changes to fisheries regulations and orders at its meeting Oct. 26 in Kearney. Many of the changes will result in increased fishing opportunities for Nebraskans.
The changes to archery and snagging paddlefish regulations are:
— Applicants supplying email addresses will be notified when the draw is complete, while others should monitor their status online. Draw results will be available by March 20 for archery and July 20 for snagging permits. Successful applicants will have until April 5 for archery and Aug. 5 for snagging permits to complete the purchase of awarded permits. Unpaid permits remaining after the draw will be sold to residents on a first-come basis starting on the third Monday in April for archery and the third Monday in August for snagging permits. An applicant will lose preference points and forfeit the permit if an awarded permit remains unpaid.
— A person must be 12 years of age by June 1 to apply for an archery paddlefish permit.
The changes to archery fishing regulations are:
— It is unlawful to fish with a bow or crossbow capable of being electronically or pneumatically loaded, cocked or fired, or with a crossbow not designed to be fired from the shoulder; with an arrow that has more than one point that is barbed; and with arrows that are not attached to the bow at the time the arrow is released.
— With no exceptions, the use of crossbows is not allowed from the Gavins Point Dam downstream to the U.S. Hwy. 81 bridge.
Among the changes in sport fishing orders are:
Trout – The limits for brown trout are five in the daily bag, including only one 16 inches or longer, and 10 in possession. The limits for brook trout are two in the daily bag, including only one 12 inches or longer, and four in possession. Rainbow, cutthroat and tiger trout fall under the existing statewide limits of five in the bag and 12 in possession.
Black bass – There is no length limit on smallmouth bass, of which only one may be more than 15 inches in length, in the daily bag in the Nebraska Public Power District Canal Tailrace from the State Farm Road bridge downstream to the confluence with the South Platte River in Lincoln County.
Northern pike – The statewide daily bag limit shall include no more than one fish 34 inches or longer.
Bullfrogs – West of U.S. Hwy. 81, the bullfrog season would be open year-round, with no minimum length limit and all legal harvest methods would be legal.
Panfish – The daily bag limit at Pelican Lake in Cherry County shall include only five bluegill, of which only one can be 10 inches or longer.
Two Rivers State Recreation Area – Anglers may fish Lake No. 5 (trout lake) without a trout tag from July 1 through Jan. 31.
Catch and Release – No harvest is allowed at Flanagan Lake, Douglas County; Jenny Newman Lake, Cass County; and Baright Lake, Cass County.
The changes to sport fishing will be published at OutdoorNebraska.org and in the 2019 Fishing Guide, which will be available by the end of December.
The changes to Aquatic Invasive Species regulations are:
— It is unlawful for a watercraft to have a drain plug in place when not on the water or not in the launch area.
— If decontamination is not achieved, the Commission may remove a boat from any body of water for up to 30 days until it is decontaminated.
— It is unlawful for a boat on a body listed as infested with zebra or quagga mussels to leave the area with live fish, live baitfish or aquatic plants or any water other than from a domestic source that has not been used for holding fish.
One thing I will be helping with in the next couple of weeks will be getting the 2019 Fishing Guide ready to print. That guide should be available somewhere around the end of the year; be sure to find one then. There will be more clarifications of rule and regulation changes in that Fishing Guide.