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Safe Boating Course on tap at Northeast State

• Mar 19, 2017 at 10:50 PM

The Johnson City Sail and Power Squadron will offer the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency's Tennessee Safe Boating Course in the coming week.

This two-night class will run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 23 at the Northeast State Community College Library, Room L226.

The TWRA exam will be given at the conclusion of class on Thursday. Individuals who pass the test will be issued TWRA’s Boating Safety Education Certificate, which is required by the state of all boat and personal watercraft operators born after Jan. 1, 1989. A test review will precede administration of test.

The course covers: Your Boat, Getting Underway, Operating Your Boat Safely, Legal Requirements of Boating, Boating Emergencies -- What To Do, and Enjoying Water Sports With Your Boat. Contents are approved by TWRA and NASBLA and recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The class is free to the public. However, to take the exam and acquire a Tennessee Boat Operator Permit, participants must buy ahead of time and bring to class the TWRA Type 600 Boating Safety Exam Permit. These can be purchased for $10 at any TWRA hunting/fishing license vendor.

For more information, contact Clarke Lucas at (423) 538-4643.

The Johnson City Sail and Power Squadron is a Tri-Cities-based boating organization that promotes boating education and safety, community service and fellowship. To learn more, go online at tricitiesboating.org.

2016 Tennessee fishing records confirmed

Anglers in Tennessee established six TWRA-certified Class A records and three TWRA-certified Class B standards during the 2016 calendar year.

Class A involves sport fishing methods. Class B is for methods other than rod and reel.

Two Class A records were broken within two days of each other last March. Chase Rich caught a 3-pound, 5-ounce goldfish, a member of the carp family, on Douglas Reservoir, and Thomas “Cody” Hyder hauled in a 6-pound quillback carpsucker on Boone Reservoir.

Two more marks fell in April. Ronnie Leon Meade caught a 104-pound paddlefish on Cherokee Reservoir and Joseph Wayne Dennie caught a golden shiner weighing 1 pound, 5 ounces on Kentucky Lake (Bass Bay).

Then in mid-June, Polk County High School sophomore John Morgan was fishing on a farm pond in the county and went on to land a state-record 18-pound, 8-ounce rainbow trout.

The final Class A record of the year came two days after Christmas. Barry L. Parker was fishing on Old Hickory Reservoir and caught a 6-pound, 5.5-ounce tilapia.

The Class B records that fell included a tilapia weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces that Steve Creekmore took by archery on Old Hickory Reservoir in November, and a golden shiner weighing 11 ounces that also was taken by archery last January by Billy Roberson on Kentucky Lake.

Two channel catfish weighing 18 pounds taken by different methods also tied a Class B record. Billy Roberson had his second B state record when he took his catfish with commercial gear early last March. John Burch used a limbline for his catch on Tims Ford Lake.

TWRA invites comments on 2018 fishing regs

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is currently welcoming comments for its 2018 fishing regulations.

This opportunity for the public to share ideas and concerns about fishing regulations with TWRA staff opened Wednesday and runs through April 23.

Public comments will be considered by fisheries managers and may be presented as proposals for regulation changes. Comments may be submitted by mail to: Attn: Fisheries Division-Comments, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, P.O. 40747, Nashville, TN 37204, or email at [email protected] Please include “Fish Comments” on the subject line of emailed submissions.

This year, the TWRA Fisheries Division will present the proposed regulations at the August meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission. The commission will set the regulations at its September meeting. There will be a public comment period on the proposed regulations between those meetings.

For more on the TWRA, go online at tn.gov/twra.

Bill Beazell Memorial Cleanup coming up March 25

Trout Unlimited’s Overmountain Chapter is conducting the third annual Bill Beazell Memorial Cleanup from 9 a.m.-noon on March 25. The cleanup is in association with the inaugural Tailwater Roundup, an effort by local conservation organizations and fishing-industry participants to improve visitors’ enjoyment and stewardship of our local rivers.

Interested participants can meet at one of three locations; Watauga Bluffs State Natural Area (3511 Steam Plant Road, Watauga, Tenn.), the Weir Dam parking on the South Holston River or in the Ingles parking lot in Elizabethton. Gloves, bags and tools will be provided. Participants must bring waders or other clothes that can get wet. Those taking part will be eligible for participation prizes awarded at 4 p.m. at the Weir Dam parking on the South Holston River. Participants working at Watauga Bluffs will also be entered for an additional drawing held immediately after the cleanup.

The Overmountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited has been working to protect and conserve streams and rivers in the Tri-Cities area since 1986. OMTU was a partner in creating the Watauga Bluffs State Natural Area and is responsible for maintaining parking, trails and removing trash.