A Public Notice of Intent passed by the Commission on Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks adopted a boat creel limit on crappie for Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid and Grenada Flood Control Reservoirs in North Mississippi. The new regulation established a daily boat limit for boats with three or more licensed or exempt anglers. The limit will be 50 crappie larger than 12 inches per boat.
Crappie catch rates have been at an all time high on these lakes due to a large 2009 year class, but most of these crappie were just under 12 inches this spring. Influenced by an unusually warm, dry winter significant portions of keepers were harvested before the spring spawn.
"With the extreme low water this year, fish are being confined in these lakes. Crappie anglers and our biologists are concerned the 2009 year class will be harvested as soon as they reach 12 inches," says Fisheries Bureau Director Ron Garavelli.
Recent studies show crappie have exceptional growth rates. Most of the 2009 year class should reach legal size in 2-4 months. The intent of this new regulation is to slow the harvest of this important resource during the 2012 fall and winter seasons. The survivors of the 2009 year class will contribute to the 2013 spawn and harvest. Hopefully, water levels next year will be higher and the crappie will not be as vulnerable to harvest.