“Most definitely, anglers that I fished with and spoke to were pleased when the slot was removed,” local guide and tournament angler Mike Bazare said. “Bass club members and tournament anglers were able to keep varying sizes of fish to weigh in, and that really changed things up a bit at the tournaments; it really added some fun.
“All of the bass weighed in at the vast majority of tournaments were released anyway.”
And it solved one of the biggest problems fishermen had with the slot.
“There were no more complaints from anglers about catching only slot fish that had to be immediately released during tournaments,” Bazare said.
As for increasing the fishing pressure due to slot removal, Ville Platte’s Ike Launey said there has been minimal effect.
“We had a few extra fishermen going, but nothing very significant,” he said. “But people have reported that it’s better now that you don’t have to throw slot fish back and they can now weigh 16 ½-inch fish.”
Chicot Lake park manager Jason Guillory said he’s observed no significant increases in Chicot State Park visits due to the removal of the slot.
“There was obviously an increase in people keeping and weighing in fish,” Guillory said. “But most of the fishing here is done by locals and park guests.”
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