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Crappie Limits 48 States

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     The purpose of this study is to help show the value of warm water fish nationwide and crappie in general.  Throughout the U.S. there are a variety of regulations affecting warm water fish including size and bag limits.  While 28 states allow the use of more than one rod, (some unlimited) they also allow trot lines, jug fishing, limb lines and yo-yo’s to harvest fish. Bag limits may include an aggregate with a variety of warm water fish.  For this study I tried to confine it to number of rods, length and bag limits of crappie.

By Bill Egan

STATE

RODS

LENGTH

DAILY LIMIT

POSSESSION

AL

3

9”-10”

30 (Under 500 acres NL)

60

AZ

2

9”-10”

NL (San Carlos Res. 25)

NL

AR

 

10”-12”(NL)

15

30

CA

2

10”

25

50

CO

2

10”

20

40

CT

2

10”

NL

NL

DE

 

NL

50 (no more than 25 of any one type of panfish)

50

FL

NL

10 “

25

50

GA

2

NL

30

50

ID

2

NL

NL

NL

IL

3T-2B

9”

10-15-25

10-15-25

IN

3

NL

25 (NL)

25 (NL)

IA

2

NL

25

NL

KS

2

NL

50

150

KY

 

NL

30

60

LA

 

NL

50 (one lake 25)

50

ME

 

NL

NL

NL

MD

3-5ice

NL

15

30

MA

 

NL

15

30

MI

3

NL

25

25

MN

 

NL

20 (panfish no more than 10 crappie

10

MS

5

9”-10”-12”

5 over 10” 20”-30”)

7 x bag limit

MO

3

NL

30

60

MT

 

NL

NL

NL

NE

2-5ice

10”

30 (NL in April)

60

NV

2

NL

3-15 (NL)

15

NH

2-6ice

NL

25

50

NJ

3

8”

Delaware R NL-crappie/calico bass 10 total

10

NM

 

NL

20

20

NY

2-5ice

9”

25

50

NC

2

8”

20

20

ND

 

NL

40 (panfish no more than 20 any species)

80

OH

2

9”

NL

NL

OK

7

10”

One lake 2 over 16”, 15 special waters various limits state wide 37

37

OR

 

8” Emigrant Res

NL (3 ponds 10)

NL

PA

2

9” 17 lakes

20

50

RI

 

NL

NL

NL

SC

2

NL

30

60

SD

2

NL

10-25 (Dec-Feb 3 x limit)

10-50

TX

 

10”

25 (Toledo Bend 50)

50-100

TN

NL

10”

15-30

30-60

UT

2

NL

50

50

VT

2

NL

25

25

VA

 

10”

50

50

WA

 

NL 9” 15 lakes

NL (10 on 15 special lakes)

10 (NL)

WV

 

NL

NL

NL

WI

 

NL

25 panfish aggregate

50

WY

2

NL

50

100

 

NL – no limit, any blanks on rods is 1.  Some of the mixed bag limits include perch, in some states perch are separate limits.  Various bag limits indicate multiple limits across the state.  Some states have the same bag and possession limit and the rational in Utah’s regulation was, if you want more, eat what you have first.

 

     The number of rods and methods to angle vary greatly from state to state and most states do not charge for extra rods, jug fishing, trot lines, yo-yo’s and limb lines.   There are limits to how many hooks and angling devices can be used.  They all could catch crappie and they are also available in some states to use for commercial harvest.  Some additional states may allow extra rods but they did not specify.  In some states your allowed more for trolling and less on the bank.  Other states specify only certain species may be kept or use was on particular bodies of water.

 

     Twenty-one states have at least some length restrictions, only 5 states have no crappie restrictions.  Bag limits on crappie varied from 2 or 3 fish to unlimited harvest.  Biologists from several states had stated that while bag limits by themselves would not necessarily increase crappie size, they would spread out the harvest so more people would have a chance to catch crappie instead of just a few.  It was also stated that it was important that fish were allowed to spawn at least once.  It was also noted that bodies of  under 500 acres could be quickly overwhelmed  with stunted crappie due to lack of fishing pressure or lack of sufficient predators to keep them in check.

 

     We tend to undervalue this popular fishery and provide little by way of regulation protection.  This is a valuable resource that deserves bag limits and enforcement protection.  Clear lake in northern California is less than 300 miles from our border and regularly produces 2 and 3 # crappie.  In 2007, 3 anglers from Washington were caught with 151crappie.  The limit is 25 fish.  The fine was $7000.  In Louisiana 2 anglers were caught with 250 fish and fined $3000.  Our warm water fish are a valuable resource that should be protected and utilized.  Eventually, with global warming many of our streams will not support salmon, steelhead and trout.  In order to have fish in the future we need to take care of what we have now.

 

     From the NW Steelheaders Winter magazine discussing the ODFW 25 year plan.  “The department is looking to attract more more anglers and warm water fish(most of which are not native to Oregon) are a way to achieve that. Our concerns are that the emphasis on warm water fish will lead to less money being available for cold water fish.”

     The money spent stocking warm water fish statewide the last the last three years is less than what the state spent stocking Henry Hagg lake last year.  Our fish get by with little aide from the state..  We don’t have enough biologists to sample state waters, inventory or gain more public access.  Most of what is done for warm water, is done by our two warm water biologists and a hand full of area biologists who try to find time to help out.  Some clubs and other groups have also given their time. These fish deserve better and if fishing in our state is going to grow warm water fish will be an important part.