Christopher Smith

Missouri River Smallmouth Management

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Missouri Department of Conservation is paying attention to it’s smallmouth bass and know what a valuable resource they are to the state and the Missouri River and it’s tributaries.

The great thing is that they are actively tracking bass populations and surveying anglers about how many bass they remove from the streams and rivers.

They are also using telemetry (radio tacking) to determine the movements of the smallmouth bass to identify what water temperatures they prefer and seasonal movements of the bass.

Although we always prefer catch and release, the state is surveying anglers and fish populations so that they can determine if additional regulations should be implemented.

Missouri river smalllmouth management

Hope Dodd, of NPS, and MDC’s Mike Siepker, conducted a fish telemetry study at Big Spring along the Current River to document the use of springs by smallmouth bass and the timing of their movement into and out of springs. Their group tagged and tracked 30 fish for a year, documenting the temperature and habitat used by smallmouth bass within the river and the spring.

From the temperature data, the group found that each spring has a relatively constant temperature throughout the year, but not all springs have the same average temperature. From the telemetry study, they found that timing of movement from Big Spring into the river was influenced by temperature. Smallmouth bass inhabited the warmer water of Big Spring in late winter, and moved into the river once river temperatures warmed to similar temperatures of the spring. By late fall, when river temperatures cooled below that of Big Spring, fish began returning with five of 12 fish returning to Big Spring by the end of the study, Dodd said.  Source

Important Smallmouth Bass Findings

~The majority of SMB harvest occurred early in the season with 32% of year’s harvest within the first four days of the season.
~Wade/bank fishing is the most popular method, next to float fishing.
~82% of anglers surveyed fish for SMB.
~High water and warming water temperatures triggered SMB movement in the Current River.
~SMB preferred deeper water of five feet or more.
~Open water, logs and boulders are used by SMB at different times of the day and year.
~SMB left Big Spring when river and spring temperatures were similar.
~Fewer SMB returned to Alley Spring than to Big Spring.  Source

It’s always great to see fishery management officials doing a great job for preserving smallmouth bass. The State of Missouri is being proactive in it’s smallmouth bass management and we, at everything-smallmouth, want to congratulate them on their efforts!

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