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TWRA news: Commission officers elected

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission elected its officers for 2023-24 and honored four outgoing commissioners at its February meeting, which concluded Friday at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II Ray Bell Building.

Tommy Woods (Piney Flats) was elected chairman after serving as vice chairman the past year.

Jimmy Granbery (Nashville) moved into the vice-chairman role after serving as secretary, and Chris Devaney (Lookout Mountain) is the new commission secretary.

The TWRA also honored members of the commission who are completing their appointments.

Chairman Angie Box (Jackson), Brian McLerran (Moss), and Kent Woods (Kodak) are completing their six-year appointments, while Steve Jones (Clinton) served four years. Former Commissioner Jim Ripley, who resigned his position last summer after being elected as a Circuit Court judge in East Tennessee, was also recognized.

Brandon Simcox, TWRA river and stream coordinator, gave a presentation on smallmouth bass harvest on Tennessee streams. Objectives of the project were to estimate fishing mortality, release/harvest rates, who the anglers are, and evaluating regulations.

A total of 13 representative rivers and streams were selected for the sampling.

So far, 87 smallmouth bass have been caught for the study.

Ten out of 67 that were legal to harvest averaged 14 inches long.

Zero out of 20 would have been harvested if legal (occurred in East Tennessee streams).

The fish caught were an average of 3.5 miles from release location.

The majority of the fish were caught on artificial baits, and most were caught April-June.

Anglers were highly satisfied with their fishing experience, rating an average of 4.2 out of 5.

Six more streams will be sampled in 2023.

TWRA Fisheries Division Assistant Chief Jason Henegar gave a preview of TWRA’s involvement in Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville March 24-26.

The agency will facilitate fish care and release, and water- risk management.

Agency staff will also promote the Bill Dance Signature Lakes and have educational materials at the Outdoor Expo and the TVA booth.

The 2019 event, which was also hosted in Knoxville, attracted a crowd of almost 154,000 from across the United State and multiple countries. The classic had a $32.2 million impact for Knoxville and East Tennessee.

TWRA Bird Conversation Coordinator David Hanni reported on a proposal to make Nashville an Urban Bird Treaty City.

Goals of the program are to support partnerships of public agencies, non-government organizations and local communities to conserve birds in urban areas.

The program includes protection, restoration, and enhancement of urban habitats for birds, reduction of urban hazards, education, and engagement in caring for and conserving urban birds and their habitats.