As far back as I can recall Reelfoot Lake has been the only lake in Tennessee where commercial fishermen could legally net crappie, which is a game fish.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission (TWRC) voted unanimously in their May meeting held in Nashville to close the commercial taking of crappie, which has been allowed on Reelfoot Lake off and on since the 1940s.
In recent years, the commercial taking of crappie has been by contract only. Reelfoot was the only body of water in the United States where crappie could be harvested commercially and sold.
Tim Broadbent, TWRC Region 1 reservoir biologist, stated, "Several factors have come into play over the last decade which led to the recommendation that the commercial taking of crappie be closed at Reelfoot. First was the 15-inch minimum length placed on bass in the lake. This allowed the bass in the lake to attain a size to help keep the crappie population under control. The second factor has been that over the last 10 years, sport fishing pressure for crappie at Reelfoot has quadrupled."
Broadbent further stated, "The decision made by the TWRC to close commercial crappie fishing at Reelfoot has received nothing but positive support from local restaurants, resort owners and anglers around the lake.