Big Rivers Catfish Assessment Summary

Date Published: 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022


  • Joe McMullen

Paper Summary/Abstract: 

Studies of blue catfish and flathead catfish in the Missouri and Mississippi rivers (big rivers) were prompted by concerns from some anglers about overharvest and inadequate harvest regulations. During 2015 to 2019 blue catfish and flathead catfish fisheries on big rivers were evaluated to estimate exploitation and population demographics. Our studies confirmed that current management approaches support healthy and sustainable populations, and regulation changes do not appear to be necessary to prevent overfishing. However, various harvest regulations were modeled to determine their impact on yield and the number of large fish in the population. Opportunities to manage these catfish populations to better meet the desires of some fishers who prefer to catch larger fish (i.e., size favored over yield) were identified. To determine the preferences of big rivers catfish anglers, a public questionnaire and comment period were offered during the summer of 2021.

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