MDC seeks public input on possible regulation change for crappie fishing at Smithville Lake

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Kansas City
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is seeking public input on a possible regulation change for crappie fishing at Smithville Lake in Clay County to both allow anglers to keep more crappie and to help improve the size of black crappie in the lake.

The 7,200-acre lake’s proximity to both Kansas City and St. Joseph makes it a popular fishing location in the region. According to MDC, crappie are the most popular fish sought by anglers fishing the lake and are one of the favored fish for eating.

Under the existing MDC regulation, anglers may harvest a daily limit of 15 white and black crappie combined with a minimum length of 9 inches.

Under the proposed regulation change, there would be no minimum length limit for either species at the lake. Anglers would also be able to keep a daily limit of 30 crappie of both species combined. However, not more than 15 of those fish could be above 9 inches.

“White crappie tend to grow larger than black crappie,” explained MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Eric Dennis. “While both black and white crappie count toward the daily limit, 80 percent of the crappie in the lake are black crappie -- and they are severely stunted from overpopulation. Most black crappie never reach 9 inches and do not get harvested by anglers.”

Dennis added that the proposed regulation change will allow anglers to harvest more of the smaller black crappie, while preventing overharvest of white crappie.

“Removing enough undersized black crappie from the lake should allow the remaining ones to grow faster and reach more-desirable lengths,” he said.

MDC invites public comment on the proposed regulation change online at

MDC will also hold a public meeting focusing on the proposed regulation change for Smithville Lake on Aug. 28 from 6-8 p.m. at the U.S Army Corps of Engineers Jerry Litton Visitor Center located at 16311 County Road DD in Smithville.

Fishing regulations can vary between waters so anglers should check regulations for the specific waters they are fishing. For more information about fishing in Missouri, visit