Department of Fish and Wildlife
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposes bear hunting changes and new fishing regulations for 2016

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, March 10, 2015  
Contact Information:  Lee McClellan
1-800-858-1549, ext. 4443

FRANKFORT, Ky. The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed new fishing regulations and bear hunting season changes at its quarterly meeting March 9.

The commission recommends all hunting, fishing and boating regulations for approval by the General Assembly and approves all expenditures by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. All recommendations must be approved by legislators before they become law.

            In fisheries-related business, the commission recommended several new fishing regulations. The following fishing regulations are scheduled to go into effect this fall:

·        The round goby, an invasive, non-native baitfish, may not be possessed or released in the state of Kentucky. 

·        The shad possession restriction on Cedar Creek Lake in Lincoln County will be removed.

            These fishing regulations will go into effect on March 1, 2016:

·        Install a 36-inch minimum size limit on muskellunge on Dewey Lake in Floyd County.

·        In order to protect the native strain walleye that the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is restoring to sections of its former range, there will be a two fish daily creel limit with an 18- to 26-inch protective slot limit for walleye in the following waters: the Rockcastle River and tributaries; the upper Barren River and tributaries; the Barren River below Barren River Lake downstream to Lock and Dam 1 and tributaries; the upper Levisa Fork and tributaries; the Cumberland River above Cumberland Falls and tributaries; the Kentucky River upstream of Lock and Dam 14 along with the Middle and South Fork, as well as the North Fork below Carr Creek Lake and all tributaries. This regulation also applies to Wood Creek, Barren River, Fishtrap and Martin’s Fork lakes. All walleye caught from these waters from 18 to 26 inches in length must be immediately released.

In wildlife-related business, commission members recommended changes for bear hunting for the 2015-2016 bear seasons. They proposed creating a two day youth hunt season for bears beginning the Saturday following Christmas with a quota of five bears of either sex. They also recommended increasing the modern gun bear hunt quota from 10 to 15 bears, of which no more than five may be females.

They also recommended moving the bear archery/crossbow season from November to the fourth Saturday in October for seven consecutive days, which is Oct. 24-30 this year. This coincides with the opening segment of the fall turkey shotgun season.

The Commission proposed implementing a split season for the bear quota hunts with dogs beginning this fall. The first segment will open the Saturday after Thanksgiving, running for two days which this year is Nov. 28-29. The second segment opens the third Saturday in December for two days which this year is Dec. 19-20. The Commission also proposed refinements of the bear quota hunt with dogs to eliminate barriers for hunt participation.

They also recommended expanding the Central Bear Chase Area in Bell, Harlan and Letcher counties by 41,482 acres and expanding the Eastern Bear Chase Area in Pike County by 31,145 acres.

In other wildlife-related business, the Commission proposed changing the upland bird quota hunts on the main unit of Clay Wildlife Management Area in Nicholas County from the second Tuesday in December to the fourth Tuesday in December and from the second Saturday in December to the third Saturday in November. The area will be closed to all other small game hunting during the upland bird quota hunts.

The next Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. (Eastern time), Friday, June 5. Meetings are held at Kentucky Fish and Wildlife headquarters, located at 1 Sportsman’s Lane off U.S. 60 in Frankfort.