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Reservoir Blues

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Published on: Nov. 14, 2012

limit protects blue catfish that are being harvested at rates too high to sustain a quality fishery and is intended to increase the number of larger fish in the population of each reservoir.

Two blue catfish larger than 34 inches: These fish would count toward the daily limit of 10. This would still allow anglers to take home larger blue catfish.

Predictive modeling indicates that, given the proposed regulation changes and adequate time, Truman Reservoir and Lake of the Ozarks will support five times as many blue catfish 34 inches and larger than they do now.

If approved, the proposed regulations would be implemented on Truman Reservoir and Lake of the Ozarks and their tributaries and include the no-boating zone below Truman Dam. Regulations for channel and flathead catfish would remain unchanged except for the no-boating zone below Truman Dam where they would return to the statewide daily limit of 10 channel catfish and five flathead catfish.

All proposed regulation changes will be considered through the Department’s standard regulation review process and are subject to approval by the Conservation Commission.

Better Blues for the Future

Even with new regulations, it will take time to see improvements, perhaps as long as eight to 10 years to see the full effect of the proposed changes, because blue catfish are slower growing. Department biologists will track changes in the blue catfish populations in both reservoirs and report their findings to anglers. We will continue to listen to the public. If substantial improvement in the quality of blue catfish populations in these reservoirs is not achieved, we will revisit the regulations and make adjustments as needed. These big reservoirs were once home to large blue catfish. With sound science and public input, we could be on the verge of returning the big blue catfish of the past. A recent comment posted on the Department’s website says it best: “My boys love to go out fishing with daddy and come back to tell me all their fishing tales. The best stories are the ones where they spread their arms open wide and say, ‘We caught a fish this big, Mommy!’ I want to ensure that they will always have those fishing tales to tell.”

Missouri is a great place to fish. Efforts to improve blue catfish fishing on Truman Reservoir and Lake of the Ozarks will help to ensure that current and future generations can continue to stretch their arms open wide to the tune of reservoir blues.

Weigh In on Regulation Changes

MDC is considering the following protective regulations for blue catfish on Truman Reservoir and Lake of the Ozarks and their tributaries, including the no-boating zone below Truman Dam, in an effort to improve quality and reverse the decline of larger blue catfish in these waters. Both reservoirs contain large numbers of smaller blue catfish, but numbers of large blues have declined.

  • Increase the daily limit from five to 10 blue catfish.
  • Add a protected slot-length limit for medium-size blue catfish of 26–34 inches (7 to 16 pounds).
  • Allow the harvest of two blue catfish above the protected slot-length limit.

We are seeking public input. Please share your comments with us online at mdc.mo.gov/node/18097.

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