Where have all the channel catfish gone?

Discussion in 'MISSOURI RIVERS TALK' started by Mocathunter, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. Mocathunter

    Mocathunter New Member

    Messages:
    52
    State:
    St. Joseph, Missouri
    I thought this might spark some good conversation, as well as quell my interest. I know in my lifetime the channel cat population in the missouri has changed, and even more so in the last 5 years or so. I hear the older fellas talk about it also, the so called good old days. The blues and flatheads are thriving these days, so why not the channels. Could it be the influx of bigheaded carp eating the fry. If so then why are we not seeing a trend down with the other species of catfish. I know the MDC has been doing extensive flathead studies with the tagged fish, as we have caught 5 tagged fish this summer alone in our area. I would like to hear the population numbers from flathead studies, I believe the flathead numbers are increasing fairly quickly now that commercial fishing for cats is not allowed. Could this possibly be a contributing factor to channel cat populations declining? Another perspective to view is; besides in lakes, are there any rivers that truly hold great numbers of channels, as well as trophy size flathead, and blue populations, all in one environment. I don't mean in certain sections of the mississippi where channels are strong, and not the others, but one section where all 3 seem to strive in great numbers and size. Is there a correlation between the three as far as; can all three reach trophy potential without impacting the success of one of the others. I don't know the reasons; what do you fellas think?
     
  2. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Asian carp (bighead and silver) are plankton feeders; they eat the same things that shad and spoonbill eat.

    If anything is eating the channel cat fry, it's the bigger cats like flatheads and blues.
     

  3. buddah

    buddah New Member

    Messages:
    1,622
    State:
    Pennsylvania Wi
    That is interesting. I also know that our bullhead cats are suffering in populations from the suspected Asian type Carp, and down southern Pa. suspected flathead influx. Don't know if there is an Oz. of truth to it but ya' never really know! I suspect that it has to do with its food source and water levels this year have been far from stable. Up & down. Just a thought.
     
  4. catfishcentral

    catfishcentral New Member

    Messages:
    1,497
    State:
    OK
    Although I don't live in Missouri, I see the same thing in Oklahoma. I really think the blues have really just overpopulated certain rivers and lakes in my home waters. I catch 9 blues for every channel cat these days. I think also some of the bigger blues might be eating the smaller channels. I have a section of river where if I want to catch channels I can....it's a oxbow off the main channel that's narrow and shallow getting into. I can catch 8 to 9 channels to every small blue I catch in there...whereas the main river seems to be nothing but Blues. Why are they in there compared to the main river channel? I think there getting away from the blues. The Missouri river has always had blues in it so who knows maybe the lack of commercial fishing has exploded the blue population and size. I sure do see LOTS of big blues coming from the Missouri of the past few years. Those big boys eat more than shad and skipjack. I've also caught quite a few blues off small 8 to 10 inch channels.
     
  5. dwreel

    dwreel New Member

    Messages:
    554
    State:
    Southern Pines, NC
    They have all gone back to work so they can pay-off that judge that just ruled It's illegal to fish navigatable waters.
     
  6. fishinjunky

    fishinjunky Member

    Messages:
    267
    State:
    Nebraska
    try fishing the humps in the rip-rap. i think this is the only area i've ever caught channels on the river. lots of flatheads to.
     
  7. Willy

    Willy New Member

    Messages:
    242
    State:
    Missouri
    I have noticed a steady decline in bigger channels the last several years and I really think that the river is changing and we just are starting to notice the changes. I used to fish alot of flathead tournaments and we always caught alot of big channels in the early 80s but could not say the same today. You can still catch the smaller ones but not the solid fish that we used to catch.
     
  8. crazy

    crazy New Member

    Messages:
    2,090
    State:
    Kansas CIty, MO
    Or it could be something a long the line as water quality. Both bullheads and channel cats can take more toxic water then flathead and blues. I guess you can say it is good that there are a healthy population of blues and flatheads. I don’t know about not as many channel cats as there use to be in the past. I just started fishing the river with in the past 3 years. I do know how ever that I don’t fish for them but have tons of hits from them on some of the flats I fish. I just use to big of bait and hooks. Even 10+ pound channel cats like to pick at there food.
     
  9. huntsfromtree

    huntsfromtree New Member

    Messages:
    142
    State:
    KC Northland
    I have worked for a MDC fisheries biologist out of Liberty, MO for the last three summers. I worked on the Catfish population dynamics study running hoopnets on the plattle river and electrofishing the Missouri for the last two summers and probably tagged the fish you catch. Where did you catch them? blues or Flats? As for the channels we shock small 3-12 inchers on the missouri by the hundreds. I believe you dont see large numbers of decent channels becuase they get eaten by blues and flats that are thriving. Many Flatheads we caught in the Hoopnets would hack up channel cats and other flatheads they had eatin. One large (40lbs) flathead we shocked had the tail of a 3.5-4 channel cat hanging out of its mouth.
     
  10. Hannibal Mike

    Hannibal Mike New Member

    Messages:
    1,454
    State:
    Hannibal, MO
    I have not been catching channels like before either and no big ones. The Missi is a big river, but they are getting harder to find. A commercial fisherman that I know has netted for 50 years and he said that he used to catch a lot of nice eaters (1-2lb) in the chutes off the river, but no more. He also said that he has caught more large flathead than before. The asians do eat plankton, but I wonder if this impacts what the baby channels eat. I hope that the conservation guys can help identify the problem and find a commercial use for the asians. Nets seem to do well on the asians.