We determined for largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), smallmouth bass (M. dolomeui), and spotted bass (M. punctulatus) historical trends in state- and province-wide creel limits, length limits, and season closures along with the rationale justifying these regulations. Based on data gathered via mail surveys and the Internet, 55 jurisdictions had state- or province-wide creel limits, minimum length limits, or season closures, with each regulation type enacted as early as pre-1900. Most early regulations were established to protect spawning bass, but providing equitable distribution of harvest and increasing the quality of bass catch or harvest were the most common rationales for current regulations. Spatial and temporal trends in regulations were similar among species, were affected by geographic location, were not affected by angler preference except for season closures, and were frequently uninfluenced by advances in scientific knowledge of black bass biology.
Additional publication details
Historical trends in creel limits, length-based limits, and season restrictions for black basses in the United States and Canada