Warsaw, Mo. – Some call an ancient fish that swam with the dinosaurs a spoonbill because of their long, flat snout. Biologists call them paddlefish. Persistent anglers who use snagging techniques to catch them call them a big and powerful trophy fish. Newcomers are welcome to learn how to land them. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer a free discover nature families paddlefish snagging clinic on Saturday, April 11, at Warsaw.
Paddlefish can grow up to seven feet long and weigh 160 pounds or more. They must be 34-inches long to be keepers as measured from the eye to the fork of the tail. Since paddlefish filter microscopic aquatic life for food, they are rarely caught by pole-and-line anglers. But their spring spawning causes the fish to congregate in some rivers and lakes, giving anglers using heavy tackle a chance to snag paddlefish from March 15 to April 30.
Participants can learn about paddlefish snagging in one of two sessions offered on April 11. The first session will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the second from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Warsaw Community Building, 181 W. Harrison St. This is adjacent to the upper end of Lake of the Ozarks, downstream from the Truman Lake dam.
Each clinic session is limited to 24 participants, and they are open only to first-time participants. Experts will discuss paddlefish conservation efforts, snagging techniques, and how to prepare paddlefish fillets for cooking. In addition, each participant will get to go snagging for paddlefish for two hours on Lake of the Ozarks with assistance from the clinic instructors. MDC will provide all equipment. Participants must have a valid fishing permit unless they are exempt. Lunch will be provided.
MDC will begin accepting registration for the clinics at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 10. To register, call 660-530-5500.
For more information about paddlefish in Missouri, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZsZ.