Central Missouri proves to be a prime destination for paddlefishing

1 year 2 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, April 25 2018 Apr 25, 2018 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 6:49:00 PM CDT April 25, 2018 in News
By: Justin Kollar & Ethan Illers, KOMU 8 Reporters
loading

SWEET SPRINGS - As temperatures rise in Central Missouri, so do fishermen's aspirations of landing their trophy catch. Missouri's lakes and rivers are teaming with fish and other wildlife once again. One particular fish, the paddlefish, whose population was struggling, is now on the rise. 

The paddlefish spawns at the beginning of spring every year. Due to human involvement in their native habitats in the form of locks and dams, their numbers have declined in recent years after spawning routes have been blocked in reservoirs. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) collects these prehistoric fish and breeds them to restore their numbers to a stable level. 

Blind Pony Hatchery Manager Nathan Storts said the fish MDC collects have a much greater chance of survival under the hatchery's care than they would in the wild.

"By keeping them in a controlled environment, we are able to monitor them and restock lakes and rivers across the state for fisherman to enjoy," Storts said.

The eggs spawned at Blind Pony are incubated for 10 days until all the eggs hatch. The young fish, called "fry," are then released into one of the hatchery's holding ponds, where they grow and mature. In October, the fish are large enough to be released into the wild in spots across Missouri.

Storts says the paddlefish's closely-monitored life at the hatchery is critical to the species survival.

"With the decline of their spawning habitat, there's just no way they could keep up," Storts said. "People love to catch paddlefish. Without our help, they would decline pretty rapidly." 

Popular lakes for this sport include Table Rock Lake, Black River and the Lake of the Ozarks. The way a paddlefish is caught is unlike traditional fishing methods. A large hook is dragged across the floor of the body of water until it snags a paddlefish. 

Adam Wolf, owner of Tombstone Tackleshop in Columbia, said his store has been busier this year than ever before. 

"They always say that Oklahoma is the snagging capital of the world, but it's not," Wolf said. "Lake of the Ozarks is. The lake has unbelievable populations that are a huge draw for fisherman across the country."

Due to their recovering population, paddlefish season is much shorter than other fish species. Wolf says the short window of opportunity for fisherman is also a factor to the sport's success. 

"The excitement builds up all year," Wolf said. "I think if you could do it year-round, it wouldn't be as big. But when you wait all year to do it, and you just have a month and a half, it creates excitement."

The paddlefish season begins March 15 and runs through April 30.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA — A Columbia teenager is home safe after she was missing for almost two days. Summer Skye Allen,... More >>
59 minutes ago Saturday, July 20 2019 Jul 20, 2019 Saturday, July 20, 2019 9:05:00 PM CDT July 20, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — Three men were arrested after allegedly stealing $22,000 worth of electronics from a Moberly Walmart Saturday. Several... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, July 20 2019 Jul 20, 2019 Saturday, July 20, 2019 6:53:00 PM CDT July 20, 2019 in Continuous News
CENTERTOWN - Family, friends and even strangers showed up to celebrate Jasen Smith's life at his Memorial Benefit at Apple... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, July 20 2019 Jul 20, 2019 Saturday, July 20, 2019 4:35:00 PM CDT July 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Police confirmed a runaway teen missing since Thursday was found safe Saturday afternoon. Summer Skye Allen was... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, July 20 2019 Jul 20, 2019 Saturday, July 20, 2019 4:03:00 PM CDT July 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - After being closed since May due to flooding, The Station House at Katfish Katy's is now open. ... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, July 20 2019 Jul 20, 2019 Saturday, July 20, 2019 3:32:16 PM CDT July 20, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The runway at Jefferson City Memorial Airport is back open after a small plane overturned Saturday morning.... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, July 20 2019 Jul 20, 2019 Saturday, July 20, 2019 1:25:00 PM CDT July 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — A Rolla man was sentenced to life in prison Friday for a 2017 shooting that killed two people.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, July 19 2019 Jul 19, 2019 Friday, July 19, 2019 7:45:00 PM CDT July 19, 2019 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT - The Missouri Highway Patrol helped detonate a suspicious package Friday afternoon at the Holts Summit Police Station.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, July 19 2019 Jul 19, 2019 Friday, July 19, 2019 7:29:00 PM CDT July 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - With excessive heat fixed over Mid-Missouri, senior citizens looked for a place to escape the heat on Friday.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, July 19 2019 Jul 19, 2019 Friday, July 19, 2019 1:45:00 PM CDT July 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Show-Me State games kicked off Friday morning at 11 AM with a Torch Run at the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, July 19 2019 Jul 19, 2019 Friday, July 19, 2019 1:44:00 PM CDT July 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man Thursday night after he allegedly went into a woman's apartment and sexually abused her.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, July 19 2019 Jul 19, 2019 Friday, July 19, 2019 9:06:01 AM CDT July 19, 2019 in News
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors filed reckless homicide charges on Thursday against a Missouri semi driver for a highway construction zone... More >>
1 day ago Friday, July 19 2019 Jul 19, 2019 Friday, July 19, 2019 8:12:49 AM CDT July 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — A Versailles man previously convicted of child molestation has been charged with possession of and promoting child pornography.... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, July 18 2019 Jul 18, 2019 Thursday, July 18, 2019 7:47:00 PM CDT July 18, 2019 in News
INDIANAPOLIS - The NCAA heard Missouri's appeal on Thursday after the school was handed a handful of penalties back in... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, July 18 2019 Jul 18, 2019 Thursday, July 18, 2019 6:49:00 PM CDT July 18, 2019 in Top Stories
BRANSON - One year ago Friday, 17 were killed when a duck boat sank during a thunderstorm on Table Rock... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, July 18 2019 Jul 18, 2019 Thursday, July 18, 2019 5:01:00 PM CDT July 18, 2019 in News
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors filed reckless homicide charges on Thursday against a Missouri semi driver for a highway construction zone... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, July 18 2019 Jul 18, 2019 Thursday, July 18, 2019 4:09:00 PM CDT July 18, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The new AI face editing app FaceApp has become an instant hit with iPhone users. However, there are... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, July 18 2019 Jul 18, 2019 Thursday, July 18, 2019 3:45:00 PM CDT July 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - An excessive heat warning is still in effect through Saturday and families should take precautions when playing on... More >>
2 days ago Thursday, July 18 2019 Jul 18, 2019 Thursday, July 18, 2019 1:55:00 PM CDT July 18, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 86°
11pm 85°
12am 84°
1am 81°
2am 80°