catfish bait

There is a new regulation being considered by TWRA for the coming year on the popular species of baitfish used for catching large catfish and stripers know as skip jacks or river herring.

A 50-creel limit daily is being proposed for the species.

Officials and anglers alike are concerned that the popularity of this baitfish is being exploited by many out of state wholesalers, which in turn are selling to retailers all over the country, not to mention the out of state anglers who come to catch them by the hundreds.

catfish bait

The agency believes a limit of 50 can help remove this exploitation of a very important fish to the TN Rivers while also still allowing Tennessee anglers to catch and keep many of them for their use.

Trophy Catfish anglers use them for cut bait and striper anglers use them live.

Some sport anglers enjoy catching them for fun as these fish run in large schools around moving water such as tail races of dams or in the winter months around the hot water discharges that factories produce along the rivers.

These fast action, hard fighting, acrobatic bait fish are an average weight of a pound and a half but it’s not uncommon to catch 100’s of 2-3 lbers
The TWRA biologists outlined their proposed changes to the state’s fishing regulations.

The proposal is simple: A creel limit on skipjack herring of 50 per day and a possession limit of 100.

TWRA said that “In recent years, demand for baitfish has resulted in intense harvest of Tennessee’s skipjack with some anglers harvesting them by the hundreds to fill freezers.

There is growing concern among biologists and anglers that this practice should be limited to prevent overfishing.”

During the preview meeting, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission asked TWRA to consider a 100-fish per day limit because of the distance some fishermen have to drive to catch bait. A 100-skipjack per day limit would translate into a possession limit of 200.

The TFWC will vote on the fishing proposals at its meeting Oct. 26 at Reelfoot Lake State Park. Any approved changes would be effective March 1 of next year.