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Crappie Resources

Snagging Report For March 30th

Report for March 30, 2016

For Truman Lake, Lake of the Ozarks and the Osage River (below Bagnell Dam).

Not much has changed since last week. With the low flows snagging remains slow on Lake of the Ozarks and the Osage River. Snaggers are continuing to have good success on Truman Lake. Snaggers are harvesting mostly small fish (34-38 inches); we have seen a few larger 60+ pound fish on the reservoirs. Snaggers are catching several sublegal fish (30-34 inches), please get these fish back into the water unharmed immediately as these are the fish you will be harvesting in the future.

Violations cited this past week include snagging in a restricted zone (between Bagnell Dam and Hwy. 54), continuing to snag after harvesting two fish, no permit while snagging and driving the boat.

Thanks to all of the snaggers who reported harvesting tagged paddlefish.  Please continue to report all tagged fish. Reporting tagged fish will help us monitor and better manage paddlefish, together we can keep paddlefish snagging great for many years to come.

Paddlefish were spawned at Blind Pony Hatchery the week of 14 March. They started hatching last week and they are getting ready to move the fry out to the hatchery ponds. Check out the spawning pictures on the MDC Facebook page!

If you have any questions call 660-530-5500 or email Trish.Yasger@mdc.mo.gov.

Report tagged fish – get a reward

MDC is conducting a long-term study to improve paddlefish management. Please report all tagged paddlefish that you catch. Participating qualifies you to enter a raffle for up to $500.00 Find out how to participate  

Snagging success depends on the weather

Snagging is very dependent on weather conditions, primarily water temperature and flow. When water temperatures reach 50–55F and flow increases, paddlefish migrate upstream to spawn. Early in the season harvest is primarily made up of “local” fish, smaller males and immature females. As water temperature and flow increase, the fish will move upstream in the reservoir or river. Males make spawning migrations before females, with more females showing up when water temperatures are 55F and greater.

If we get a dry spring without much rain, snagging may not be as good as it has been in the past, and the fish will tend to remain lower in the reservoirs or rivers. On the other hand, if we have a very wet spring, fish will move up higher in the reservoirs or rivers. In some areas snagging may be very difficult or hazardous if flooding occurs. When lakes and rivers are rising due to heavy rain, logs and other debris can float downstream, and boaters need to be careful.

We’re enjoying warm weather, still not much rain! We had a little rain in the Osage Basin last weekend. The Marais des Cygnes and upper Osage rivers went up a little; however, they are now starting to fall again. Water temperatures are in the low to mid 50’s at the surface. The extended forecast is calling for warm days with some rain today. Truman Lake has dropped a little and is just below normal water level and Lake of the Ozarks is up slightly, but still low. They are releasing a little water from both Truman and Bagnell dams. With the low water levels we will be relying on spring rains to get the fish moving – think warm spring rains! Remember as water temperature and flow increases snagging should improve!

 

Snagging places and prospects

Remember: after you have snagged your second paddlefish, you are done snagging for the day

Truman Lake

  • Please remember the 34-inch-length limit (eye to fork of tail) on Truman Lake and its tributaries.
  • Truman has dropped and is just below normal pool. There is very little flow; they are releasing a little water at Truman Dam. The water temperature is in the mid 50’s at the surface.
  • Snagging continues to be good, primarily between Talley Bend and Osceola. Snaggers are harvesting primarily small males and immature females (34-38 inch fish); we’ve seen a few 60+ pound fish harvested. We’re seeing a few snaggers with limits. Snaggers are catching some sublegal fish (30-34 inch fish), please be sure to release these fish unharmed immediately. The fish are scattered out from Talley Bend to Taberville and above; however most of the harvest has been from Talley Bend to just above Osceola.
  • Best guess. Early in the season when the fish are scattered out, snagging tends to be better lower in the lake. This is especially true with the low flows. Try the deep holes from the Talley Bend area to just above Osceola.

Public ramps to launch — from down to upstream

  • Talley Bend Access: go upstream towards Horseshoe Bend and up to the Walker Hole/ Weaubleau Creek and above towards Osceola.
  • Brush Creek Access: go downstream towards Walker Hole/ Weaubleau Creek and below OR   upstream towards Osceola and above. Caution: When the lake level is normal pool (706' msl), some people, especially the snaggers with deeper, V-bottom boats and pontoons, find it difficult to get out of the cove at Brush Creek Access. Be sure to always use caution.
  • Crowes Crossing: to downstream towards Walker Hole/ Weaubleau Creek and below OR upstream towards Roscoe and/or go up the Sac River a couple of miles.
  • Sac River Access/Highway 82: go down stream towards the Osage, snagging the last couple of miles of the Sac, then continue on toward Osceola and below OR go up towards the Roscoe Access and above.
  • Roscoe: go downstream to where the Sac and Osage meet, then go up the Sac River a couple of miles or continue downstream towards Osceola OR go upstream towards Taberville and above.
  • Taberville: go downstream towards Roscoe and below OR go upstream towards the cut and above.

Lake of the Ozarks

  • Please remember the 34-inch length limit (eye to fork of tail on Lake Ozark and its tributaries. Also, snagging is not permitted from the no-fishing zone below Truman Dam to the Highway 65 Bridge. Tickets are issued for this violation.
  • Lake of the Ozarks is up slightly, but still low – use caution. They are releasing a little water from both Truman and Bagnell dams, so there is very little flow. The water temperature is in the low to mid 50’s at the surface.
  • Snagging continues to be slow. Snaggers are harvesting primarily small males and immature females (34-38 inch fish); we’ve seen a few 60+ pound fish harvested. Snaggers are catching some sublegal fish (30-34 inch fish), please be sure to release these fish unharmed immediately. The fish are scattered out from MM50 up to the Highway 65 bridge (about MM89.5); there are no real concentrations of fish. Snagging has been better lower in the lake, especially below Wigwam Access (MM66.2). We are seeing a little snagging on the Niangua Arm.
  • Best guess.  When the fish are scattered out, snagging tends to be better lower in the lake. With the low flows try the deep holes from MM55 up to Highway 65 bridge. Snaggers typically have better luck in the lower lake below MM70. Try the deep holes below Wigwam School Access (MM66.2).

Public ramps to launch — from down to upstream

  • Browns Bend (around MM61.5): I've been told when the water is low, it can be difficult to get from the ramp to the lake since the cove is somewhat shallow and this isn't a very large ramp, so not a lot of parking spaces. Go upstream between MM61 and MM65 and above OR downstream towards MM50.
  • Wigwam School Access (MM66.2): go downstream towards MM62 and below OR upstream towards MM72 — Big Buffalo Creek.
  • Warsaw (Drake) Harbor Access: you must go below the Highway 65 Bridge before you start snagging. Go downstream and start snagging below the Highway 65 Bridge (about MM89.5) and down.  
  • Bledsoe Ferry Access: you must go below the Highway 65 Bridge before you can start snagging. Go downstream and start snagging below the Highway 65 Bridge (about MM89.5) and down.
  • Larry Gale Access — Niangua Arm: go downstream to where the Little Niangua joins the big Niangua or upstream toward Highway 54.

There are numerous private ramps that you can pay to launch from.

Osage River

  • On the Osage River below Bagnell Dam, the minimum length limit remains 24 inches (eye to fork of tail). Also, snagging is not permitted from the no-snagging zone from Bagnell Dam to U.S. Highway 54 Bridge. You need to go below Highway 54 Bridge before you start snagging. Tickets are being issued for this violation.
  • On the Upper Osage River below Bagnell Dam, a snag fishery exists for a few miles below the Highway 54 Bridge to RM78.
  • The water is cool and flows are low; they are releasing a little water from Bagnell Dam. We are seeing a few snaggers and they are harvesting a few small fish around 30-pounds.
  • On the Lower Osage River below Bagnell Dam, snagging is primarily done from a couple of miles above Pikes Camp all the way down to the Missouri River; the lower 25 miles. We also see snaggers out in the Missouri River. We haven’t heard of any fish being snagged in this area.

Public ramps to launch — from down to upstream

  • Bagnell Dam Access: you must go below the Highway 54 Bridge before you can start snagging.
  • Bonnots Mill Access: go up or downstream. Occasionally we see snaggers out in the Missouri River.
  • Mari-Osa Access: go downstream below the Highway 63 bridge towards Bonnots Mill and below, OR upstream towards the lock and dam.
  • Pikes Camp Access: go upstream a couple of miles, OR downstream towards the lock and dam.

Advisories

Check the Wildlife Code of Missouri (see link below) for paddlefish regulations

  • Please remember — on Lake of the Ozarks and its tributaries, the Osage River below U.S. Highway 54, and on Truman Lake and its tributaries — no person shall continue to snag, snare, or grab for any species after taking a daily limit of two (2) paddlefish. Tickets are issued for this violation.
  • Once you’ve taken your second fish, you are done snagging for the day.
  • Unless, exempt, anglers must possess a valid fishing permit if you are snagging or driving the boat used for snagging.
  • Extracted paddlefish eggs may not be possessed while on the water or adjacent banks and may not be transported. Paddlefish eggs may not be bought, sold, or offered for sale.
  • Do not clean paddlefish while you are on the water. The head, tail, and skin must remain attached to all fish that have length limits while those fish are on the water.

Dial 1-800-392-1111 anytime to report illegal activity

In 2013, Conservation Agents broke up an international paddlefish-trafficking operation in Warsaw. This group of poachers stole a lot of fish from legal snaggers. We aren’t sure what effect that this illegal activity has had on Missouri's paddlefish population. If you see or suspect illegal snagging activity, please report it immediately. Your identity will remain anonymous, and a reward is possible depending on successful prosecution of the case. Visit our Operation Game Thief page below for more details.

Keep snagging strong — release sublegal fish unharmed immediately

MDC maintains the paddlefish populations in Truman Lake, Lake of the Ozarks, and Table Rock Lake with annual stockings of fingerlings from MDC’s Blind Pony Hatchery. It takes paddlefish seven to eight years to grow to legal size. In 2008, we had our largest stocking of paddlefish ever — more than 164,000 fish. These fish are now eight years old, and should average about 34+ inches (measured eye to fork of tail). These fish should start contributing to the harvest. Snaggers may continue to catch a lot of sublegal fish this year. It is important to release these fish unharmed immediately and gently because they are the fish that you will be harvesting over the next several years!

The Code states that sublegal paddlefish must be returned unharmed immediately after being caught!

  • Take care when removing hooks, and get the fish back into the water as quickly as possible.
  • Be sure that your hands are wet before handling, and avoid excessive handling.
  • Do not pass fish around for photos.
  • Hold fish firmly to avoid dropping them, and never put your fingers in the gills or eyes.

Avoid penalties! Use nets instead of gaffs to land fish

  • Using a gaff to land paddlefish can injure or kill sublegal paddlefish, making you subject to a penalty. Use a large net to land all paddlefish safely.

Wanted: Bighead and Silver Carp

MDC biologists are looking at bighead and silver carp (invasive species) to see if they have any impact on our native fish species.

Biologists would like to collect all bighead and silver carp caught by anglers on Lake of the Ozarks, Truman, and Table Rock lakes. We will look at captured fish to see if there is any dietary overlap with our native paddlefish, determine if they are mature and able to reproduce, and look at various ages and sizes of fish. If you would like to help out, please save and freeze any bighead and silver carp that you catch. Contact Quinton Phelps at 605-695-0593 (cell) or Trish Yasger at 660-530-5500 (work) to arrange a pick-up of the fish you’ve collected.

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