I called my local conservation agent today and had a long talk with him about commercial fishing on the Mississippi. A few of us around here have been spending countless hours on the Mississippi river and just can't seem to catch anything but dinks. We aren't doing anything different, just can't really seem to get on the big fish here lately. He told me a couple of years ago that there werent very many big catfish left on the river down here. I find it hard to believe, I just don't know if the commercial fisherman have anything to do with it or not. All I know is every hole within 10 miles north and south of the boat ramp has a hoop net in it. I asked him if the MDC ever has plans of putting a length limit on big catfish. He said it has been brought up several times, and he wouldn't doubt if they made a move toward a length limit in the next few years. I don't have anything against someone who keeps all their fish, that is their call, but right now in Missouri, you can keep 20 fish per day, (including channels, blues, and flatheads.) What would someone do with all that meat per trip? Anyway, back on the subject. He said over the past 25+ years working for the MDC he has personally seen tons of catfish...big catfish being pulled from these nets. He said they would line the floor of a 25 ft boat from front to back with catfish laying belly to belly and cover them up with sheets of plywood with cinder blocks to keep them from moving around. He said that your average sport fisherman probably wouldn't make a dent in the population compared to the commercial guys. He also mention that most of the commercial guys we have down here are from the State of Illinois. He said the MDC would put a ban tommorow on the harvest of catfish from the Mississippi river if Illinios would do the same. They seem to think that the river is a bottomless pit according to him. He said that even if the MDC did put a ban on catfish and Illinois didn't it would be hard to enforce a law to prove where that fish was taken from. While talking to him I asked him about the Asian carp problem also. He said that there really isn't much to do about them. I asked him about whether or not it was legal to put one back in the water alive (I don't do this anyway) He said that that was legal, but you can't fish with one live or have on live in your boat off the river. They just don't want a potential spread of Asians to another body of water. I enjoyed my talk with him and I figured I would share this with you all.