MDC seeks input on smallmouth and rock bass proposals

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Smallmouth and rock bass are very popular with anglers in Missouri streams. However, research by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shows that both species grow slowly and many do not reach a quality size before dying from natural causes or being caught by anglers.

As a result of research and angler feedback, MDC is proposing changes to fishing regulations for these two popular game fish that will ensure the quality of smallmouth and rock bass populations and simplify regulations for smallmouth in MDC Special Management Areas.

For rock bass (also called goggle eye), MDC research shows a majority of anglers favor a single, statewide minimum length limit (currently there is none outside of special management areas). MDC is proposing setting this minimum length limit at seven inches. Anglers in south-central Missouri should note the rock bass minimum length limit will remain eight inches at MDC's Rock Bass Management areas on the Big Piney and Eleven Point rivers.

For smallmouth bass, the proposed changes would maintain the current statewide length limit of 12 inches with a daily limit of six fish. However, all of Missouri's Special Smallmouth Management areas would be changed to a 15-inch minimum length limit with a daily limit of one smallmouth bass. Proposed regulations would also create a new Special Management Area on the Current River and expand the Special Management Areas on the Big Piney, Big River, Jacks Fork and Meramec Rivers.

MDC is seeking public input on these potential regulation changes and will host eight open houses around the state to provide more information, answer questions, and get public comments. All open houses will be between 6 and 8 p.m. The four open houses scheduled for this part of the state are:

  • Sept. 29 in Van Buren at The River Centre at The Landing, 110 E. Carter St.
  • Oct. 5 in St. Robert at the St. Robert Community Center, 114 J.H. Williamson Drive
  • Oct. 13 in Springfield at the MDC Springfield Nature Center, 4601 S. Nature Center Way
  • Oct. 15 in Neosho at the National Fish Hatchery, 520 Park St.

MDC is also accepting public comments online at or through U.S. mail to: Missouri Department of Conservation, Attn: Policy Coordination, PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102.