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Science and the Environment

Fishing Regulation Changes Proposed by MDC

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Changes are being proposed to fishing regulations for two popular game fish.  The changes would help smallmouth and rock bass to grow while simplifying regulations for smallmouth in MDC Special Management Areas, according to the department.

MDC research shows that both species grow slowly, and many don’t reach a quality size before dying from natural causes or being caught by anglers.

Anglers surveyed by the department have reported that fishing quality for rock bass has declined over the past decade.  They also say the minimum-length limits and daily limits for smallmouth on rivers and creeks vary and can be complicated.  For rock bass, MDC research shows that a majority of anglers favor a single, statewide minimum length limit. MDC is proposing setting it at seven inches.

For smallmouth bass, the proposed changes would maintain the current statewide length limit of 12-inches with a daily limit of six fish, but change all Special Management Areas 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.

Public meetings on the proposed changes are planned.  Open house-style meetings will be held October 13 at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center and October 15 at the National Fish Hatchery in Neosho from 6 to 8 pm.