Noodling In Missouri:

Discussion in 'Alternative Methods of Catching Catfish' started by kat in the hat, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. kat in the hat

    kat in the hat New Member

    Messages:
    4,875
    State:
    Missouri
    OK...It's illegal to noodle in Missouri. In 2004, the Conservation Dept. voted to legalize hand fishing in certain areas as part of an environmental impact study. It was deemed, at that time, that hand fishing was probably detrimental to the flathead population, and the hand fishing season was closed.

    Now, state legislatures are gonna vote on a statewide hand fishing season for catfish and carp. It will have a certain time frame/season, and only 5 catfish can be kept in year, a special permit must be purchased, and all catfish must be checked in.

    I'm one of those who have never been opposed to hand fishing. However, I believe that the Conservation Department should have the ultimate say in the matter. They are the ones with the resources to make educated decisions regarding fish and wildlife. I have always had a great deal of respect for our Conservation Department because they do a great job with what they have, and a lot of other states don't have such a luxury.

    Anyways...if this passes, what does it mean? Besides hand fishing will be legal, our state government has removed the power to effectively regulate our fish and wildlife from the Conservation Department. They are over riding the authority of the only institution in the state that can responsibly make these decisions based on factual data.

    It's not about hand fishing to me. It's about who I want making these types of decisions. I trust the Conservation Departments judgement.

    I caught a bit of this on the news, but couldn't find anything on the net. I will post a link when I find one, or one becomes available.

    What do you think?
     
  2. bluejay

    bluejay Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,507
    State:
    Napoleon, Mo.
    Thanks for the post Matt. I will keep an eye on it and be checking myself also. No matter how the vote comes out the Department still has the final say. If I get a chance to vote on it will be against and I feel that most people that get a chance will also vote against it.
     

  3. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
  4. bluejay

    bluejay Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,507
    State:
    Napoleon, Mo.
    Thanks Gary. You are a wealth of knowledge!! Your also a preety good guy. LOL
     
  5. Bill D Curtis

    Bill D Curtis New Member

    Messages:
    252
    State:
    Blackwell Oklahoma
    all you missouri guys need to contact gary webb he is the president of a group called noodlers anonymous he is responsible for trying to get the laws changed i think they have a web page
     
  6. Bill D Curtis

    Bill D Curtis New Member

    Messages:
    252
    State:
    Blackwell Oklahoma
    my mistake howard ramsey is pres gary webb is vice pres or somthing and yes they do have a web page these guys are good noodlers i ve met them several times at the okie noodlin tourney
     
  7. kat in the hat

    kat in the hat New Member

    Messages:
    4,875
    State:
    Missouri
    Yeah, I'm well aware of Noodler's Anonymous. They are primarily the ones lobbying for this to pass. I'm not against noodling at all. I'm against over riding the Conservation Department's authority. Hey...if it does pass, I'll likely give noodling another try. Hopefully I won't get hurt this time.
     
  8. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    Messages:
    1,021
    State:
    Kentucky
  9. kat in the hat

    kat in the hat New Member

    Messages:
    4,875
    State:
    Missouri
    Here's the latest info.




    By Tony Messenger

    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH​



    03/02/2009​


    JEFFERSON CITY — The noodlers are back.​


    They crowded a Missouri Senate hearing room this week ready to tell the same story they've been telling the suits who sit behind the wood-paneled dais for 10 years: ​



    Their granddaddies caught catfish by hand. Their daddies caught catfish by hand.​



    And by golly, they want to catch catfish by hand.

    The rare — and painful — fishing technique called noodling is illegal in Missouri. But for these country folk from Ludlow and Paris and Malta Bend, it's a way of life. ​

    In June and July, when catfish are nesting, they stick their arms down dark river holes surrounded by craggly tree roots and wiggle their fingers around as bait, hoping — yes, hoping — that a 30-pound catfish will latch on. ​

    Such fishing was legal in Missouri until 1917, when lawmakers outlawed the practice out of a concern that by losing the biggest fish in the rivers, the stock would dry up.​

    That's still the argument the Department of Conservation uses to keep the noodlers at bay.​

    Conservation fisheries director Bill Turner told lawmakers that a study by the department that started in 2005 indicated that hand-fishing would eventually deplete the catfish population in some rivers.​

    "The critical finding is that when an adult catfish is removed from the nest," Turner said, "... it led to the death of all eggs."​

    Turner said hand-fishing could eventually destroy Missouri's quality catfish habitat.​

    Hornswoggle, said Howard Ramsey, in so many words.​

    Ramsey is the president of Noodlers Anonymous, the group that has been at war with the Department of Conservation for more than a decade over this issue.​

    "Missouri has no shortage of catfish," said Ramsey, who hails from Paris, Mo., and brought his granddaughter, Maria, along with him to testify in the Senate on Wednesday.​

    For Ramsey, and Gary Webb of Ludlow and Claudia Wilkinson of Malta Bend, the issue is about discrimination and family tradition.​

    "The hand-fishers in Missouri are being discriminated against, and we can prove it," Ramsey said. ​

    The noodlers found sympathy on the agriculture committee from Sen. Chuck Purgason of Caulfield, Sen. Bill Stouffer of Napton and Sen. Wes Shoemyer of Clarence. ​

    "It would seem to me that the angler is going to have a whole lot more effect on the population than a few hand-fisherman," Stouffer said. ​

    But for Tom Russell of the Conservation Federation, the issue isn't about biology, but choice. ​

    "I believe it should be the fish's choice whether it takes the bait and risks being caught," Russell told a group of senators, who thought the "pro-choice" debate involved other issues.​

    Russell compared hand-fishing to the practice of spotlighting deer, which is also illegal.​

    Stouffer wasn't buying the analogy.​

    "At least that fish has got a fair shot at you," Stouffer said, noting that noodlers end up with scraped and bloody hands as trophies. "We don't give guns to the deer."​

    The last legislation on hand-fishing passed easily in the House and Senate. It established a five-year trial period allowing the practice for six weeks a year starting in 2005. ​

    In two years, a total of 159 noodlers caught 27 fish.​

    But after two years, the Department of Conservation put an end to the practice anyway, citing its concern for the catfish population.​

    So the noodlers are back in Jefferson City. Now it's up to Missouri lawmakers to decide whether to give them another chance. ​

    Purgason wants to see the noodlers win their battle, but he also said the Legislature is the wrong place for the fight.​

    "I don't like a group of elected officials who don't know anything about hand-fishing making a decision on gaming law," Purgason said, directing his ire at conservation officials. "You need to get your act together and get with them and give them a season." ​

     
  10. stlcatman

    stlcatman New Member

    Messages:
    2,408
    State:
    Imperial, MO
    Well these guys must hand fish a lot differently than any other hand grabber that I have seen. I could be wrong but my impression is that they are not luring the fish but trapping it in it's hole and getting it to defend its nest. I am not sure where this luring it with the fingers and the fish has a choice argument holds water?

    I am with you I think laws like this should be in the hands of the people who monitor the resource.
     
  11. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    "Missouri has no shortage of catfish," said Ramsey, who hails from Paris, Mo., and brought his granddaughter, Maria, along with him to testify in the Senate on Wednesday.

    Brilliant reasoning - there's plenty of them, so why not do something the biologists say might damage the population:smile2:

    All sarcasm aside, I'm with Kat, having the legislature pass laws regarding wildlife is a bad precedent, whether it's for legalizing noodling or mandating catch and release. Missouri's DNR does a great job and the MDC biologists I've spoken with have been great people. They're scientists who are basing their regulations on science, not (for the most part, anyway - no government official can completely ignore it) public opinion.
     
  12. Welder

    Welder New Member

    Messages:
    4,834
    State:
    Missouri
    I dont like hand fishing but if others want to why not. Have limited season on it. We have a limited season on snagging why not noodlen. Just set the season up so its not during the spawn, but after and make it even more challenging. Then everyone should be happy. The flatheads can nest and the handfishers can have their funn. It ant like we dont catch a lot of cats in mo. Sheesh I have pulled 200lbs of live catfish out the mo river under the current regs at one time. And if its after the spawn it shouldent even put a dent in the catfish numbers. I have aslo read about guys who cpr handfish. I do agree the state needs to step back and let the MDC do thier job. The MDC does one heck of a goood job for us.
     
  13. bvomark

    bvomark Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,286
    State:
    Bartlesville, oklahoma
    I grew up im Mo and have followed the debate for noodling in Mo since before the experimental season was set up. I also believe that we need to let the biologists set the limits, seasons and methods. The statistics for the fish taken by all methods were in the MO. Conservationist magazine. I was checked near Clinton, Mo by a game warden for a license. It was right after Mo. canceled the experimental season. The magazine had the statistics and the cancellation reasons. I told him that day the decision was not based on science, but was a personal feeling on someone in the department.

    The number of fish taken in the experimental season was a very small portion of the total take. As I remember less than 1%. The other factor that I consider is that two neighboring states (OK and AR) have allowed noodling for years. It doesn't seem to have a detrimental effect.

    My opinion is that the director or someone high up in the Mo. conservation department is against noodling regardless what the science and statistics show. Since the biologists seem to be unable set the methods based upon science I feel that the noodlers have a right to and should go to the legislature asking for a change to the regulations.
     
  14. Grimpuppy

    Grimpuppy New Member

    Messages:
    3,556
    State:
    Concordia, KS

    Seams like a pretty low number for two years. I would guess a lot of people didn't report their catches. I would have guessed just the president of the club and his son that have been noodling for 30 years got more than 27 fish in 2 years.
     
  15. crittcocatman

    crittcocatman New Member

    Messages:
    15
    State:
    Arkansas
    That is a problem with wildlife regulations in general, you can't account for illegal harvest or harvest that is not reported. The fact that other states have legal hand-fishing and the population has not been adversly affected (as far as I know) should be a good indicator that there is some bias in the organization that is making the decisions. Seems to me that as stated above, there should be some area of compromise that would accomodate the hand-fisherman without destroying the population. My experience in AR is that I fish one hole in a little muddy river year round and year after year I catch around 300-500 lbs of catfish and buffalo carp. If I can't deplete one hole in 5 years of steady fishing, how can 200 hand-fisherman deplete a whole state. Let there be a finite number of permits(revenue for state) and a finite number of harvests(conservation) and let all those who are not scared noodle away.
     
  16. lee

    lee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,047
    State:
    missouri
    i agree with jerry...
    anybody with enough courage after the spawn! should be allowed a season to noodle up a catfish dinner or 3
    i personally don't have the guts to...
    lee and bitty
    :angry:
     
  17. catcrazed

    catcrazed New Member

    Messages:
    575
    State:
    ohio
    I personally am against noodling for a handful of reasons. First of all Most noodling is done during the spawn. Me being a big fan of catch photograph and release is number 2. now for the kicker. Ive watched a noodling contest on television and it made me sick. People thrashing these fish around like they were some piece of trash or something. They were super rough on these fish. Even released, the ones being thrown and slammed around like they were wouldnt make it anyways. Someone above said something about fishing out a whole they have fished for 5 years so why would the hand fisherman hurt anything. Well your not catching fish tucked back in a hole protecting eggs. Those fish are out and about. Them taking one fish of the nest can result in 100s of thousands of eggs never being hatched. your 500lbs of fish is nothing compared to taking one large cat off her nest. It is scientifically proven that a female flathead after reaching sexual maturity would lay between 2,400-4000 eggs per pound she weighs. So If a 40lb spawner is taken and eggs not hatched that would be between 96,000-160,000 eggs never hatched!!! Thats my problem with it. Now someone above did have a good idea on hand fishing after spawn season. Have at it after the spawn as far as im concerned.
     
  18. crittcocatman

    crittcocatman New Member

    Messages:
    15
    State:
    Arkansas
    I forgot to mention that I would limit it to a season after spawn... Sorry for my oversight, and I agree.
     
  19. SGTREDNECK

    SGTREDNECK New Member

    Messages:
    1,522
    State:
    Tennessee
    That sounds like a good idea. After the spawn let the brave souls stick their hands in holes. It aint for me.