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RAPID CITY, S.D. – Fishing regulations on some western South Dakota lakes may change in 2010. While some of the changes would be slight, others may noticeably affect what anglers can include in their daily catches.

Biologists and managers with the state Game, Fish and Parks Department have developed a framework to simplify fisheries regulations across the state. The process combines similar regulations into a single reglation.

For example, waters with different minimum-length limits of 14, 15 and 16 inches for walleyes would be grouped into a single minimum-length limit of 15 inches and continue to be as effective as the current special regulations.

According to Gene Galinat, GFP fisheries program manager in Rapid City, most walleye fisheries and some bass fisheries will have changes recommended to align with the new framework. “The new framework has given us a fresh look at some of our fisheries,” Galinat said. “While most regulations would change only slightly, a few would have more substantial changes.”

Most notably, changes will be recommended in the 14-inch minimum length limit for walleyes on Curlew Lake and Newell Lake. Multiple options exist within the regulatory framework, including a 15-inch, minimum-length limit, with either a four-fish or two-fish daily limit. However, GFP biologists feel those lakes fit the criteria of a more restrictive regulation allowing anglers to harvest two walleyes greater than 15 inches per day, with one of those over 20 inches.

“We have completed a number of walleye stockings at both of these waters and recently implemented the 14-inch minimum restrictions, but neither is reaching their potential,” Galinat said.

Although factors such as the recent drought and other fish populations do affect walleye stockings, another influence likely suppressing those walleye fisheries is the amount of annual harvest they receive. “Hopefully, by adding a little more restriction on these fisheries, more anglers will catch and take home a walleye keeper or two” Galinat said.

Other potential changes in western South Dakota regulations would have:

* Angostura and Shadehill Reservoirs moving from a 14-inch minimum on walleyes to a 15-inch minimum.
* New Wall, Waggoner, and Newell Lakes moving from a 12-inch to a16-inch protected length limit on bass, with one bass allowed over 16 inches, to a 14- to 18-inch protected length limit, with one bass over 18 inches.
* Length limits applying to both smallmouth and largemouth bass (black bass); currently, most length limits on bass are for one species or the other.

Recommended fisheries regulation changes will be made at the Oct. 1-2 Game, Fish and Parks Commission meeting in Lemmon. Public input plays a vital role in any regulation changes, and anglers are encouraged to comment on these proposals by contacting Gene Galinat, regional fisheries manager, at the Rapid City Regional Office, 605-394-2391.




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