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Missouri Open Houses on Catfish Regs

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Missouri Open Houses on Catfish Regs
Three open houses this month will give anglers a chance to learn about blue catfish regulation changes being considered for Truman Reservoir and Lake of the Ozarks.

The open-house format will allow participants to ask questions of MDC staff and express their ideas about the potential changes. The changes would affect blue catfish at the two lakes and their tributaries, including the no-boating zone below Truman Dam.

Since the early 1990s, anglers and MDC biologists have had concerns about the declining number of larger blue catfish being caught from Truman Reservoir. In a survey, more than a third of Truman Reservoir anglers said they think the quality of catfishing has declined. Similar concerns have emerged more recently at Lake of the Ozarks. A reward tag study at Truman Reservoir during 2004-2009 confirmed anglers' concerns, showing that blue catfish 24 inches and larger were being harvested at an extremely high rate.

Both lakes contain adequate to excessive numbers of smaller blue catfish, but the high harvest of intermediate sized fish, 24 inches and larger, isn't allowing blues to grow to the larger sizes desired by many anglers. The potential regulations are designed to increase harvest on smaller blue catfish by doubling the daily limit from five to 10, while still protecting the most vulnerable sizes of blue catfish. Blue catfish can easily grow up to 60 pounds with the potential to exceed 100 pounds.

In response to these facts, MDC developed potential regulation changes to address the problem and presented those ideas during 2010 at stakeholder meetings held in Camdenton, Clinton and Warsaw. Most public comments at that time favored implementing the potential changes. Taking into account suggestions received at the stakeholder meetings, MDC modified the previous proposal designed to reverse the decline and increase the number of larger blue catfish while still permitting substantial catfish harvest.

The regulations being considered call for increasing the daily limit from five to 10 blue catfish, implementing a protected slot-length limit and setting a daily limit of one or two blue catfish above the upper end of the slot.

The open houses will be held:

Aug. 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Midcounty Fire Protection District meeting room, 184 N. Business Rt. 5, Camdenton.

Aug. 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Gymnasium, 209 E. Jefferson St., Clinton.

Aug. 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Warsaw. Lincoln EMS Station, 1206 Medic Dr., Warsaw Participants can come and go any time and express their ideas about the potential regulations at the open houses. They also can take comment cards and send them in later or express their preferences at submission/17932.

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