skip jack
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission announced that changes will be made to the state’s skip jack fishing regulations during its monthly meeting Friday at Reel foot Lake State Park.

The TFWC voted for new regulations on Skip jack herring, this change should not affect recreational catfish anglers who use skipjack herring for bait.

As of March 1st 2013 anglers will be limited to 100 skipjack per day, where in the past there has not been a creel limit and anglers could keep as many as they wanted.

The Tennessee and Cumberland rivers has some of the most robust skip jack populations in the south east and is widely known for their huge size, some reaching in excess of 3 lbs. Some anglers will also refer to them as Tennessee Tarpon!

We spoke with Frank Fiss, Assistant chief of fisheries on this issue and he stated upon receiving many reports that anglers where coming to Tennessee waters and exploiting the common bait fish for profit, so the TFWC was prompted to do some studies on this issue and the impact it has on the fishery for the last couple of years.

“It probably will not affect recreational anglers at all”, Fiss said. However he stated many anglers would travel long distances from different states to gather their skip jack to freeze them for later use and that is why the TFWC decided on 100 per day per angler instead of the 50 a day that was originally proposed.
skip jack herring for catfish bait

Fiss said, “The NEW regulation was implemented to discourage a few anglers who were coming to the Tennessee waters to catch them by the thousands to sell for profit, which they would sell to other catfish anglers at $2 to $5 a piece.”

The new regulations will go in effect on March 1, 2013.