Paddlefish Spawning Season Offers Big Angling Opportunities

Warmer temperatures give way to a special snagging season

A much-anticipated season for Kansas anglers draws near as paddlefish begin their annual spring spawning run. From Mar. 15-May 15, paddlefish permit-holders can snag up to six of these gentle giants from designated areas on the Neosho and Marais des Cygnes Rivers.

Paddlefish permits, which include six carcass tags, are $12.50 for anglers 16 and older, and $7.50 for youth 15 and younger.

Paddlefish may be taken inside Chetopa and Burlington city parks on the Neosho River, on the Neosho River at Iola downstream from the dam to the city limits, on the Marais des Cygnes River below Osawatomie Dam downstream to a posted boundary, and on the Marais des Cygnes River on the upstream boundary of Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area downstream to the Kansas-Missouri border.

Paddlefish may be snagged using pole and line with not more than two single or treble hooks. Barbless hooks must be used in Chetopa City Park.

Catch and release is allowed in Burlington, Chetopa, and Iola except that once attached to a stringer, a fish becomes part of the daily creel limit. The daily creel limit for paddlefish is two, and the season limit is six. On theMissouri River (season: March 15-April 30), there is a 24-inch minimum length limit. On the Marias des CygnesRiver there is a 34-inch minimum length limit.

Immediately upon harvest, anglers must sign a carcass tag, record the county, date and time of harvest, and attach the tag to the lower jaw of the paddlefish.

Paddlefish caught out of season or in non-snagging areas may be kept only if they are hooked in the mouth.

During this special season, nonsport fish (carp, drum, grass carp, threadfin and gizzard shad, goldfish, gar, suckers including carpsucker and buffalo, goldeye, and bowfin) may also be snagged in waters posted open to paddlefish snagging. There are no limits on nonsport fish.

For information, consult your 2013 Kansas Fishing Regulation Summary, or visit www.ksoutdoors.comand click “Fishing/Fishing-Regulations/Paddlefish-Snagging.”