Missouri Not Ready for Unconventional Fishing
Members of Noodlers Anonymous went to Jefferson City to ask the Department of Conservation for the opportunity to noodle. Handfishing is restricted to three sections of three rivers across Missouri, but Noodlers Anonymous wants to fish on any river statewide, catching up to five catfish a day, for 45 days a year.
"We've had discussions of one kind or another since 2001," said John Smith of the Missouri Department of Conservation.
12 other states have legal seasons for handfishing, but Missouri is still waiting.
"We're in the second year of a five year study," said Smith.
Smith also said that the study goes above and beyond what other states have done, because catfish are especially important to Missouri's waters.
"We don't want to do anything that might be detrimental to the population we have in our waters."
By the end of the meeting with the regulation committee, Gary Webb of Noodlers Anonymous was exhausted.
"I live 100 and some miles away, and this is my sixty-eighth trip to Jefferson City," he said. "A wasted trip."
Webb will have to find alternative fishing holes.
"I'm going to Kansas," he said.
The Department of Conservation said any decision about a legal handfishing season could be years away.