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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! The schedule is subject to change (as of November 7, 2018). Please check back for updates. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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Monday, January 28 • 3:40pm - 4:00pm
(SYMPOSIA-01) Opening Lake Erie's Spring Bass Season: Standard Assessments Inform Increased Opportunities for Anglers

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AUTHORS: Zak J. Slagle, Travis Hartman – Ohio Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: Ohio anglers have historically fished heavily for black bass, leading to record levels of angler effort and harvest in the late 1990’s. Additionally, missing year classes of bass, invasion of non-native nest predators (Round Goby), and resurgence in possible avian predators (Double-crested Cormorant) were all seen as threats to the bass population through the early 2000’s. Ohio Division of Wildlife also lacked yearly surveys of black basses, complicating fishery management decisions. ODW responded by increasing restrictions on bag limits and minimum sizes for black bass harvest; the 14 inch, 5 fish bag limit that currently stands was created in 2000. A seasonal catch-and-release only regulation was added in 2004 to further reduce harvest after the 2000 regulations failed to sufficiently improve size structure. Since then, the increase of catch-and-release ethics have dramatically reduced harvest during the open season, and ODW has added yearly surveys that allow fisheries managers to better evaluate population trends. Ohio’s Lake Erie black bass populations are unlikely to be negatively impacted by possible relaxed regulations (i.e., changing the seasonal closure to a one fish possession, 18 inch minimum size limit). Black bass harvest during the spawning season is unlikely to increase substantially with these regulation changes. However, current levels of bass fishing effort are near historical lows, and liberalization of regulations would allow additional fishing opportunities. The proposed regulations would expand angler opportunities and allow anglers to keep and weigh in a potential state record fish while conserving the bass population for generations to come.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:40pm - 4:00pm
HOPE BALLROOM A