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DNR set to discuss fishing rules for Stonewall Jackson Lake

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The state Department of Natural Resources Commission will decide whether to modify fishing regulations at Stonewall Jackson Lake during its quarterly meeting on Sunday.

There is a ban on harvesting any black bass from Stonewall Jackson Lake, but commissioners may change that regulation to allow fishermen to take up to six black bass per day from the lake, including one fish more than 18 inches in length.

In addition to the black bass change, the DNR is also considering raising the minimum size for keeping a tiger musky/muskellunge from the current 30 inches to 52 inches. That regulation would also only apply to Stonewall Jackson Lake.

"It will allow (muskies) to get older and get bigger," Chief of Wildlife Curtis Taylor said.

Taylor said that the change in the black bass regulation is because of public interest and because the lake has existed long enough that the time period for its best fishing has passed.

When a man-made reservoir is created, he said, the best period for fishing is usually within five to 10 years after the lake is filled. After that, the quality of fishing deteriorates because of natural changes within the lake.

Because of this phenomenon, the DNR preserved the best fishing for the public by requiring catch-and-release, but may now allow black bass to be kept since the ideal fishing period is complete.

Stonewall Jackson Lake was built in 1990, making the lake 23 years old this year.

In May, the DNR conducted surveys of anglers at Stonewall Jackson Lake to determine sentiment for the proposal. Open houses concerning fishing regulations were held throughout the state in March.

"Everybody seems to be in favor of it," Taylor said.

The changes would take effect for the 2014 season.

The commission will also set dates for small game trapping and hunting for the 2014-15 season. The seasons won't be shortened or lengthened.

No other regulations concerning small game hunting or trapping will be changed.

The meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. July 28 at Chief Logan State Park and is open to the public.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Murphy@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.

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