Mark Twain and others have written about big catfish coming out of southern rivers and some of the cats mentioned were way over 100 pounds and it appears that it was common place. Move forward to the now time, we occassionally hear of a few 100 pounders being caught, but it is rare. Why, why, why? There are several reasons for the decline in large catfish, some are enviormental, some are technical, some are from harvesting by those earning a living from fishing and the largest impact might be from the everyday fisherman. How to measure the enviormental impact I don't know, but the runoff from farming operations (agri. and hog farms) has to have an impact on the fisheries. Also, the power plants that are located on rivers have done some damage, due to flyash and by changing the water temps of the rivers, above what would be consider normal. Residential developments along the water supply has been affected by runoff. The equipment, nets, traps, limb lines, jugs, sonar, rods and reels, high strength fishing lines, etc. has made everyone more efficient in harvesting the catfish. Those harvesting catfish for the market place have a much broader market for their fish, such as resturants, pay lakes and stores. The sport fisherperson and the weekend fisherperson takes their fair share, if not more than all the rest. Just several years ago, catfishing was on the bottom of the list in popularity and now it is second or third behind bass fishing. It takes a lot of fisherperson to move catfishing up to second or third in the ratings from last place in such a short time period. Thus, it looks like to me the answer to why, why, why is simple and that is FISHING PRESSURE and ENVIORMENTAL FACTORS. Will fishing regulations help improve this situation, maybe. But what the regulations will do is put the spot light on the Ark. Blue catfish and that in return will assist the different state DNR folks an opportunity to study the Ark. Blues to a greater extend, thus benefiting all concerned. The purpose of this thread was to show that we are all in this together and that no one group is responsible for the demise of the large cats that once roamed our rivers and lakes. One group can point a finger at another, but the ones that they are pointing a finger at can point it right back at the other. Will we ever get back the large cats (those over 100+ pounds), maybe and maybe not, factors are a whole lot different today than they were in the days of Mark Twain.