Lake Jackson Anglers Urged to Keep Some of Their Smaller Bass

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or years the message to more hardcore largemouth bass anglers has been, “Have fun
fishing, but release your fish.” On Lake Jackson, near Tallahassee, fisheries biologists are now encouraging anglers to keep some of their bass, at least those less than 16 inches. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regulations allow an angler on Lake Jackson to keep five black bass per day, with only one of the five greater than 16 inches in length. The four shorter bass can be any size, as long as they are less than 16 inches.

Over the last decade or so Lake Jackson had little water, due to ongoing drought, but that’s no longer the case. The lake, which was famous during the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s for big bass, is back at full pool and now covers almost 6,000 acres.

“There are lots of small male bass in the lake, and it’s certainly okay for anglers to keep these smaller bass since all of these fish compete for the same food or forage base,” said Chris Paxton, FWC Regional Fisheries Biologist. “It’s up to the angler if they want to keep one bigger fish (over 16 inches), but these are females and if they live long enough they are the fish that will become trophy fish.”

“We have a general regulation in the Florida Panhandle allowing for a daily bag limit of five bass longer than 12 inches, with one of the five longer than 22 inches, but that rule doesn’t apply to Lake Jackson and several other water bodies where we have special rules in place,” Paxton said.