Smallmouth Bass Regulations Change on Lake Sharpe in 2008

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PIERRE, S.D.—Anglers who fish on Lake Sharpe should be aware that the slot-size limit for smallmouth bass has changed for 2008. The 2008 Lake Sharpe smallmouth bass protected slot will require all fish greater than 14 inches but less than 18 inches in length to be released.  Harvest of one 18-inch or longer smallmouth bass and any smallmouth bass less than 14 inches–up to your daily limit–can be taken from Lake Sharpe.

A protected, slot-size restriction of 12 to 18 inches was imposed on Lake Sharpe, a Missouri River Reservoir, in 2003 in an effort to improve the quality of the smallmouth bass fishery. This restriction required bass greater than 12 inches but less than18 inches in length to be immediately returned to the water. One 18-inch or longer smallmouth bass and any smallmouth bass smaller than 12 inches–up to your daily limit–could be taken from Lake Sharpe. 

The 2007 season marked the end of the five-year experimental period for the regulation. After review of information collected during that time, the S.D. Game, Fish and Parks Department opted to increase the bottom end of the slot size from greater than 12 inches to greater than 14 inches.

Creel surveys have indicated that harvest of smallmouth bass below 12 inches in length is not occurring at high enough levels. “Harvest of smaller bass needs to occur for the regulation to accomplish the objective of increasing the number of large smallmouth bass in Lake Sharpe,” said GFP Senior Fisheries Biologist Geno Adams. “Angler input was involved in the regulation adjustment. The new regulation should allow increased opportunity for anglers to harvest smallmouth bass while still protecting larger bass.”

For more details and information, refer to the department’s 2008 Fishing Handbook, available from retail license agents, GFP offices and in PDF format on the department’s Web site at