Deadline nears to voice considerations on proposed searching and fishing regulation modifications
Released: Sun, January 3, 2021, 01:07 a.m.
Updated: Sun, January 3, 2021, 1:34 a.m.
A fly fisherman catches a trout on the Lower Mountain Fork River, which flows through Beavers Bend State Park in southeast Oklahoma. [PHOTO BY DONNY CARTER]
Athletes have until Friday to formally express their opinion on the hunting and fishing regulations proposed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for 2021.
The state’s only public hearing on the proposals will be held on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at the John D. Groendyke Wildlife Conservation Building, 1801 N Lincoln. Due to COVID-19, attendance in the auditorium is limited to 50 percent and masks are required.
“This year especially, we encourage people to comment online,” said Micah Holmes, assistant director of information for the Wildlife Department.
Making comments on social media doesn’t count. If you want to officially express your opinion, you must use the public comment portal at www.wildlifedepartment.com. All public comments will be forwarded to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission commissioners, who will vote on the proposals.
“You read them all,” said Holmes. “It sounds clichéd, but we want to hear what people think.”
Unlike in previous years, there seems to be little controversy about the rule changes proposed this year. The main proposal is to reduce the daily rainbow trout limit that anglers can keep in all trout fishing areas in the state from six to three. The Lower Mountain Fork River already has a limit of three trout.
State wildlife officials want to lower the daily limit to offset rising costs. The Wildlife Department purchases most of the rainbow trout that are kept in the two year-round streams (Lower Illinois and Lower Mountain Fork) and the agency-managed six winter areas.
The Wildlife Department spends about $ 641,000 on trout annually, said Ken Cunningham, the agency’s assistant fishery chief.