Since the regulations would allow anglers to keep up to six bass in their boats' livewells, bass-fishing organizations would be able to conduct weigh-in tournaments at Stonewall for the first time since the lake was impounded in 1989.
O'Bara said DNR officials plan to closely regulate the number of tournaments held there, mainly out of concern for boaters' safety.
"Stonewall is a very narrow lake that has a lot of standing timber [in it]," he said. "If you put too many high-powered boats in there at one time, you create problems. We don't want to put anglers or [recreational] boaters in danger."
Biologists proposed the regulation at last Sunday's meeting of the state Natural Resources Commission, the panel that sets fishing and hunting season dates and bag limits. Commissioners should vote on the proposal sometime later this year.
At the same time, they'll probably also vote on the DNR's proposal to change Stonewall's muskellunge-fishing regulations. Currently, anglers are allowed to keep up to two muskies, both of which must measure at least 40 inches in length.
Under the DNR's proposal, the new minimum size limit for the lake would be 52 inches.
"The idea there is to make Stonewall a destination for trophy muskie fishermen in the same way it's a destination for bass fishermen," O'Bara said. "The regulation would help ensure the presence of really big muskies in the lake, and it would still allow anglers to take home that really big fish of a lifetime."
Reach John McCoy at johnmc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.