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Testing confirms Tennessee-record black crappie

• Jun 26, 2018 at 10:17 PM

After receiving results from a genetic analysis, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is verifying a new state-record black crappie caught by an angler from Philadelphia, Tenn.

Application for world-record status will have to be submitted by the angler to the International Game Fish Association.

More than a month ago, Lionel “Jam” Ferguson landed the big fish from a pond near Paint Rock, Tenn. Last week, the TWRA received verification from the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign that Ferguson’s fish is a pure strain black crappie without any hybrid genes.

At the time it was caught, TWRA Fisheries Biologist John Hammonds verified the fish as a black crappie but submitted a fin clipping for genetic testing in order to rule out the chance of hybridization between a black and white crappie.

The black crappie weighed 5 pounds, 7.68 ounces on a certified scale, meaning it eclipses the former state-record 4-4 black crappie caught by Clyde Freeman in Brown’s Creek Lake in 1985.

The current world-record black crappie, weighing an even 5 pounds, was taken from a private lake in Missouri in 2006, according to the International Game Fish Association.

Although not part of the state record requirements, Ferguson’s fish measures 19¼ inches in length with a girth of 17¾ inches.

“TWRA wishes to congratulate Mr. Ferguson by breaking a state record that’s been held for 33 years and looks forward to assisting him with the world record application process if needed,” TWRA Fisheries Chief Frank Fiss said.

Time for Operation Dry Water

For the 10th straight year, the TWRA is participating in Operation Dry Water, a national weekend of BUI (boating under the influence) awareness and enforcement campaign directed toward reducing alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities.

Operation Dry Water runs from June 29 to July 1, the weekend before the Fourth of July, to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season. The TWRA teams with the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the latter of which started Operation Dry Water in 2009.

Along with the use of life jackets and other safety practices, officers want boaters to be aware of the effects and ramifications of alcohol use. The TWRA is intensifying efforts to detect and apprehend boat operators operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle. Penalties may include fines, jail, boat impoundment and the loss of boat driving privileges. Last year, there were 13 BUI arrests across the state under Operation Dry Water.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths.

No 2018 deer hunts at Holston Ammunition

As a result of an outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease that killed several deer on Holston Army Ammunition Plant lands late last summer, the Kingsport installation will not hold any deer hunts during the upcoming hunting season because of low deer numbers.

The deer population will be monitored during the upcoming year and if numbers recover as anticipated, the installation will likely resume its hunting program in 2019.

EHD — an infectious virus transmitted by tiny, biting flies known as midges — causes significant mortality events in white-tailed deer.

(Information from Matthew Cameron, TWRA Region 4 information and education coordinator, and Terri L. Wilson, administrative assistant, Holston Army Ammunition Plant.)