Lake Nelson - News & Reports

New Size Limit for Largemouth Bass in 2009: Biologists attempted to improve the number of larger bass with 14-22 inch slot limit initiated in 2001. This regulation did not work as expected since too many bass were harvested prior to reaching the slot limit. Consequently, the slot limit was changed to a 15-inch minimum size limit in 2009 to increase the population by protecting additional smaller bass.

New Size Limit for Crappie in 2009: Crappie at this lake are harvested at high levels and good year classes are traditionally removed quickly which causes high variability in the fishery since crappie do not spawn consistently each year. In order to extend the crappie population after poor year classes, a 9-inch minimum size limit will reduce the harvest of smaller crappie for additional fishing opportunities after poor reproduction years.

New regulations for Channel Catfish 2009: Channel catfish do not reproduce at Lake Nelson and the population is sustained by stocking approximately 600 catfish per year. Regulations have been changed to a 15-inch minimum and 5 fish per day creel limit. The new regulations will allow for additional growth of stocked catfish before harvest and prevent anglers from harvesting the limited number (600 catfish per year) of small fish shortly after stocking.

Lake Fertilization Program: A lake fertilization project was initiated at Lake Nelson in the spring of 2008. This project is designed to improve the production of algae and plankton which is utilized by small fish and later by larger predators. The fertilization project should improve the number and quality of fish in the reservoir.

Tips for Proper Care and Handling of Trophy Bass: Some anglers are fortunate enough to catch a trophy largemouth bass. Often times, anglers will keep their trophy in a livewell and travel to one of the local stores to have their fish weighed on certified scales. Still others may keep their catch in a livewell in hopes of catching a bigger fish later that day. Anglers not wishing to have their trophy mounted will release their fish at the end of their fishing day. However, this does not guarantee that the trophy will survive. Anglers may take precautionary measures to decrease the likelihood of delayed mortality of released fish.

  • Land the fish as soon as possible. Playing a fish to exhaustion diminishes its chance of survival. Having the proper fishing tackle is important.
  • Avoid excessive handling when landing a fish, removing the hook, taking pictures, measuring, etc. Always make sure that your hands are wet before handling fish.
  • If you plan on weighing a fish at one of the local businesses, do so immediately after catching it. The sooner you release the fish back into the lake, the better its chance of survival. Also, holding a fish in a livewell all day and then releasing it greatly diminishes its chance of survival, especially during warmer months.
  • To handle trophy fish, wet your hands, then use your thumb to clamp down on the bottom lip and support the fish's weight by placing the off-hand under the fish (toward the tail). Do not hold the fish in a horizontal position just by the lower lip.
  • Fish should not be out of the water for more than 60 seconds.
  • Water temperatures of 75C and warmer are more stressful on fish. Run livewell aerators continuously and add ice, salt, and bacterial fungal retardant if necessary.