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Slot limits helped White Oak's bass

In the 1990s, White Oak Lake was one of Arkansas' premier big bass fisheries, but it gradually deteriorated.

It was drained in 2012 and refilled in 2013, during which time the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission renovated it and restocked it with largemouth bass.

Jason Olive, assistant chief of fisheries for the Game and Fish Commission, said the progressive slot limit followed the first-year class of stocked fish through their life cycle.

"We started with a minimum length limit, then went to the slots after the first-year class had reproduced," Olive said. "Typically in new or renovated lakes, that first-year class has the fastest growth because they have no fish ahead of them, so they get first shot at all of the forage. We wanted to protect them and let people who wished to harvest bass to focus their harvest on the offspring of the first-year class."

Olive said the commission's fisheries staff will probably propose removing the slot limit in 2021, and replace it with a regulation allowing anglers to keep one bass larger than 20 inches. A similar regulation appears to be working well at Lake Columbia, Olive said.

-- Bryan Hendricks

Sports on 08/11/2019

Print Headline: Slot limits helped White Oak's bass

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