FEBRUARY 26, 2005

These are the webmaster's notes on issues that may be of interest to bass fishermen.  Many other issues were presented and discussed that are not detailed here.  This is not intended to be an official record of this event.

*  Of course, the most notable item for tournament bass fishermen was the announcement that the $17.00 fee for tournament permits at WMA lakes was being waived for this year.  Any money already submitted for permits will be refunded to the submitting clubs.  The primary reason given was that it was unfair to charge fishermen for the use of these facilities when hunters are not being charged for similar use.  It appeared that the permit fee regulation would be staying on the books for now and that this is at least an interim action.  [Let's hope this change becomes permanent.  See the "Issues" section of this website for more details on the WMA permit fee issue.]

*  Chris Smith (fisheries biologist & bass fisherman) presented a summary of bass tournament results at NJ Wildlife Management Area lakes.  In addition to it being interesting in general, this data may be helpful to clubs in their selection of lakes on which to host buddy tournaments.  Some interesting trends were noted, including a general decline in tournament fishing success in 2004.  Chris will be making the summary data available to fishermen soon (hopefully, to this website too).

*  Although during Chris Smith's presentation it was noted that the population of stocked smallmouth bass in Union Lake was thriving and increasing through 2003 (with a notable decline in catches in 2004), it was stated that there were no plans to stock smallmouths in any lake in 2005.  It was noted that the decline in smallmouth catches at Union was accompanied by a similar decline in largemouth catches there in 2004.  The biologists stated that there may be some consideration given to placing smallmouth bass spawning structures in Union at some point and to performing a smallmouth population inventory there.

*  Freshwater Fisheries Bureau Chief Lisa Barno noted the continuing decrease in freshwater fishing license purchases in NJ from 1991 through 2003.  There was a slight increase in 2004 however.  This trend was later mentioned in a presentation by Al Bernetti when he explained the urgent need to get youth involved in fishing activities, including his organization -- Teen Anglers.

*  During a discussion of additional muskie stocking at various locations in NJ, a fisheries biologist stated that there is no hard evidence that this species harms the bass population in a body of water.

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