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Slot limits important bass management tool

Oklahoma bass fishermen may be missing out on one of the best parts of
the sport, a meal of fresh fish.

Protected slot limits are special size regulations (usually for bass)
that are placed on certain lakes to improve the fish population. Fish that
measure within the protected slot limit must be released immediately,
while fish that are either shorter or longer than the protected range may
be kept.

"These slot limits are in place to properly balance the predator prey
relationship," said Gene Gilliland, fisheries biologist with the Oklahoma
Department of Wildlife Conservation. "Many of these slot limit lakes have
an overabundance of small bass. By harvesting these fish it reduces the
overall competition for food and allows the other bass to grow quicker."
"We really need anglers help at these lakes. If anglers want a top
quality fishery, the best thing they can do is take home some fish on
these slot limit lakes."

Gilliland added, that catch and release has been a valuable management
tool over the years, but selecting the overabundant small bass (those
shorter than the slot length limit) to harvest is the only way the slot
length limits will improve the fishery.

Largemouth bass fishing and management will be the featured topic of an
upcoming episode of "Outdoor Oklahoma" May 12 at 8:00 a.m. on OETA-The
Oklahoma Network. ODWC fisheries biologist, Gene Gilliland joins
well-known bass fisherman, Chuck Justice, on McGee Creek Lake in southeast
Oklahoma. Among many topics the pair will discuss the concern surrounding
the Largemouth Bass Virus which has been documented on several Oklahoma lakes.

Outdoor Oklahoma features such topics as fishing, hunting; and fisheries,
game and non-game wildlife management. The 30-minute program can be seen on OETA-The Oklahoma Network Sundays at 8:00 a.m. and Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. Outdoor Oklahoma can also be seen on the following television
stations: KSBI Network (greater OKC metro area), Mondays- 5:00 p.m.,
Thursdays-10: 30 p.m., Saturdays-1:30 p.m., KTEN (south-central and
southeastern Oklahoma) Sundays-5 a.m., KWEM (Stillwater), Wednesdays-8:00
p.m., Fridays-7:00 p.m. and Sundays-8:00 p.m.

For a complete listing of show times and channels in your viewing area,
consult the Department's Web site at www.wildlifedepartment.com or your
local TV guide.

(excerpt from the weekly ODWC newsletter)