Fishing Missouri's Big Rivers

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Published on: Aug. 2, 1995

Last revision: Oct. 20, 2010

drum on wet flies.

Drum rapidly lose their excellent flavor if they aren't properly cared for. Immediately fillet the fish and put the fillets on ice. The next best procedure is to put live fish on ice and fillet them later.

Drum taste wonderful when rolled in a flour and corn meal mixture and deep fried at 385 degrees. Freshwater drum are also excellent blackened. They are closely related to the red drum, which is prized as "blackened redfish" along the Gulf Coast.

White Bass

Also known as stripers, striped bass or silver bass, white bass are plentiful in big rivers. Frequenters of swift water, white bass are often found below upper Mississippi River locks and dams and near wing dikes. The best time to catch white bass is during low, clear water conditions in late summer and throughout late fall.

Like many sport fish, white bass are sight feeders. An effective bait is a small minnow or an artificial lure. After locating a school of feeding white bass, cast and retrieve a yellow or white leadhead jig through the school and wait for action.

White bass are often caught with the same tackle as walleye and sauger. When walleye and sauger are plentiful below the upper Mississippi River locks and dams, anglers complain they have trouble catching them because white bass are constantly taking their baits.

Conservation agencies in Iowa and Illinois are stocking hybrid white bass into upper Mississippi River pools and the Ohio River, and reports of hybrid white bass catches within Missouri's portion of the Mississippi have become common.

Keep or Release?

Don't waste fish! Fish that are kept cool taste better later. If you aren't saving fish to eat, return them to the water unharmed immediately after you catch them.


Big River Rules

Big river fishing regulations are covered in the Summary of Fishing Regulations, which is published a nnually bythe Conservation Department.

Missouri has reciprocal fishing privileges in boundary waters with adjacent states, including Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas and Nebraska.

Missouri and Mississippi Maps

Mississippi River maps are available in two sets. One set is the upper Mississippi from the mouth of the Ohio River to 10 miles above Minneapolis, Minnesota, and it costs $14.

A second set of maps covers the Mississippi River from Cairo, IL. to the Gulf of Mexico. This set costs $40. If you order these maps by phone or by mail, there is a $4.50 charge for UPS, a $15 charge for

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