Columbia City, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The temporary fishing rule in place that allows anglers to take home small bass from Big Lake and Crane Lake in Noble County ends Aug. 31.
Anglers can continue to harvest 10- to 14-inch bass through August at the two lakes but must release all bass less than 14 inches long starting Sept. 1.
Angler harvest of bass is approaching predetermined quotas designed to reduce the number of small, over-abundant, and slow-growing bass in each lake.
The current rule has been in place since June 3 at the two lakes, located about 7 miles north of Columbia City, and allows anglers to keep up to five bass per day that are 10 to 14 inches long.
After Aug. 31, a standard 14-inch minimum size limit will go back into effect at both lakes.
DNR officials established the temporary rule this summer in hopes of cutting in half the number of 10- to 14-inch bass. By reducing the number of small bass, the DNR hopes to improve growth rates and increase numbers of large bass in the lakes.
“There were simply too many small bass in both lakes for the available food supply,” said Jed Pearson, a fisheries biologist with the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. “Bass that were not caught should now have more food to eat and get bigger.”
Based on sampling by Pearson last spring, Big Lake contained twice the normal number of small bass found in most northeast Indiana lakes. Crane Lake contained three times the normal number.
Bass that were 10 to 14 inches long made up 75 percent of the entire bass population in Big Lake and 88 percent in Crane Lake. Few were larger than 14 inches.
“To cut the number of small bass in half, we wanted anglers to take out 2,000 bass from Big Lake and 600 bass from Crane Lake,” Pearson said.
During June and July, anglers removed more than 1,700 bass from Big Lake and 480 from Crane Lake, according to DNR harvest surveys.
“We should reach the quotas by the end of August,” Pearson said.
Signs will be posted at the public boat ramps at both lakes to remind anglers of the change on Sept. 1 and conservation officers will step up patrols to ensure that anglers return all bass less than 14 inches long.
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