Archive for Monday, March 27, 2006

Drought hampers paddlefishing

March 27, 2006


Paddlefish season will run through May 15, but anglers may not have much success unless eastern Kansas receives spring rains and rivers rise.

If the rivers rise, paddlefish will enter the state in search of spawning areas, usually when the water temperature approaches 60 degrees.

But conditions are not promising. On the Neosho River below the Chetopa Dam, water flow is far below what is necessary to spur the paddlefish spawning migration.

Conditions are not much better at the Marais des Cygnes River below Osawatomie Dam. Fisheries biologist Richard Sanders said that river is low, too, after checking it on March 10.

"We've had some rain since then - maybe about a tenth of an inch to one inch - but it was spotty, and I don't think nearly enough to bring the fish in."

Paddlefish may be snagged using pole and line with not more than two single or treble hooks. (Barbless hooks must be used in the Neosho River.)

The daily creel limit for paddlefish is one at the Chetopa dam on the Neosho River and two at the Osawatomie site. Both Neosho and Marais des Cygnes rivers have a length limit of 34 inches.

The possession limit is six on or after the third day of the season (three at the Chetopa site). Each legal-sized paddlefish caught must be kept - on a tagged stringer - and must also be tagged at a designated check-in station.

Anglers must stop snagging once the daily limit of legal-sized paddlefish is reached. Other sportfish snagged must be released immediately.

Anglers at the Chetopa site must check in at Warwick's Jump Start in Chetopa. At the Osawatomie paddlefish snagging area, the check-in station is Moon's IGA in Osawatomie.

Paddlefish may be snagged in the Browning Oxbow Lake, near Elwood, but this site receives very little pressure because it has been low for the past four years and has no check station. Anglers who snag paddlefish there must phone (785) 246-4514 to get fish tagged.

Other sportfish, such as flathead catfish, cannot be legally snagged and must be immediately released if accidentally caught.


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