Blue Catfish Management on Truman Reservoir and Lake of the Ozarks


Blue Catfish Management on Truman Reservoir and Lake of the Ozarks

In 2009, a group of Missouri Department of Conservation employees from Protection, Resource Science, and Fisheries branches came together to discuss the history of blue catfish and the anglers who pursued them on both lakes. Some anglers and professionals alike had concerns with the decline in the numbers of large blue catfish.

MDC staff looked at past angler surveys and harvest evaluations with an eye toward regaining the fame these lakes once held for producing big catfish.

In 2010, staff began gathering blue catfish population data and continued the effort for three years ending in 2012. During the same time period, MDC held three stakeholder meetings, three public open houses, and gathered public opinion in several other ways.

blue catfish
Blue Catfish
Photo by Jim Rathert

With the combination of sound science and public input that showed angler support, MDC implemented the following regulations, effective March 1, 2014:

  • Blue catfish between 26 and 34 inches in total length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught on Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Lake, and their tributaries.
  • ANY stream, creek, or river entering these lakes is a tributary. These waters cease being tributaries ONLY where a major dam (Pomme de Terre, Stockton Lake, Montrose, and Tunnel Dam) interrupts them, or where they reach the state line.
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