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5 minutes ago, MOPanfisher said:

Just for the record, Truman lake has no walleye, and those reported big girls from LOZ below Truman are pure lies. 

Excatly 

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1 hour ago, rps said:

The Oklahoma record walleye is 12 pounds and 13 ounces. The walleye in the picture below isn't even the Holiday Island Marina record. Mine was 13.75. Chuck's was 14.5 and I saw it. TR produces prodigious walleye and back channel communications tell me LOz does as well. I suspect Stockton holds something like this as well. Just saying.

big.jpg

Yep. If you are a bigger is better guy then you win. But if you want to go out and catch a nice size limit in a regular basis OK wins. 

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1 hour ago, Flysmallie said:

Yep. If you are a bigger is better guy then you win. But if you want to go out and catch a nice size limit in a regular basis OK wins. 

The Oklahoma limit is six fish above 14'". The TR limit is 4 fish at 18 inches or more. Can I tell you how many times I have caught Oklahoma fish and not taken TR fish? I think if  you search my past posts, you might find examples. Use "Stockton limit" as your search string.

 

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I'm going to try to sum up my thoughts on all these subjects, which have evolved a bit over the years...

First, gigging.  Chief continually says that hook and line anglers (legal or illegal) remove far more smallmouth than illegal giggers.  TRUE.  GIGGERS ARE NOT HURTING THE OVERALL SMALLMOUTH POPULATION IN THE HEAVILY GIGGED STREAMS.  No argument there.  The argument is that there are a limited number of BIG smallmouth, 18 inch or better fish.  Most anglers seldom catch them, illegally or legally, release or kill.  A gigger can specifically target big fish, and most of the time a stabbed fish is a dead fish, whether kept or not.  An angler cannot target them in the same way, and a fairly large percentage of the anglers that regularly catch them release them more or less unharmed.  So...finite and small number of big fish to begin with, anglers seldom catch them, can't target them specifically, and many anglers who do catch them release them.  But illegal giggers can target them, and can make a huge dent in the numbers of big fish in wintering pools where they are concentrated.

And what many of us would like to see is an experimental regulation on one good stream section, where gigging is banned for a period of, say, five years.  Survey carefully the smallmouth population before the reg is instituted, and do detailed creel censuses as well.  Then survey it again at the end of the five year period, while doing creel censuses all along, and just SEE what happens to the numbers of bigger smallmouth, if anything.  The problem is we don't have a baseline for what these streams CAN produce if big fish are protected from gigging, since all smallmouth streams are open to gigging and have been since forever.  So we can argue that Ozark smallmouth can't get as big or the big ones as numerous as those in other places, but we simply don't KNOW that.

Personally, I suspect that Ozark smallmouth definitely have a top end size range that's not as big as those in some of the famous spots for big smallies.  You'll ever get an 8-10 pounder out of the Ozarks, lake or stream, and you'll never get the numbers of large fish that you have in some north country rivers.  And that's fine.  The question really is, can you get, say, twice or three times the percentage of big fish within the population under different management?  Instead of me being able to catch an 18 incher for every ten hours or so of floatfishing, could I be catching 2 or 3 18 inchers during that same time period?  

I love visiting places like the North Country stream CWC and I fished last summer, and catching 16-20 inch fish by the dozens each day, but I appreciate the Ozarks for the numbers of fish and the challenge of catching the occasional big one.  By the end of the first day up north, we were joking whenever we caught a fish that it "just another average 18 incher".  There is a lot to be said for an 18 inch fish being a goal rather than a routine catch.  I just want to have a little better chance of catching them here.

Now...walleye.  The simple fact is that the Ozarks will never be a place where you can catch a lot of walleye to eat.  The native strain just doesn't seem to reproduce well enough to make for large numbers, and there is probably far too much competition with other game fish to allow massive numbers of walleye to survive to catchable size.  BUT...that native strain has MORE potential, genetically, to grow to record sizes, than walleye in many of the more famous walleye fishing regions.  If properly managed and if anglers here didn't think it was their God given duty to eat every walleye they caught, the Ozarks could be producing world record class walleye.  All it would take would be to manage strictly for huge walleye, with a one fish, 33 inch length limit--if you could also manage all those Ozarkers who would scream bloody murder if they couldn't murder every walleye they caught.

Trout...it seems that there is a subset of trout anglers who love to keep big trout just to get their pictures on social media and in the trout park lodges.  And a lot of guides on some of the tailwaters that have the mentality that you have to keep big trout.  Maybe it's because the trout fishery is mostly pretty artificial to begin with.  Heck, out in Montana you'd be shunned by everybody within a 100 mile radius if you actually kept a big trout.  But the "wild" trout streams have the potential to grow big fish, and the tailwaters definitely produce some of the biggest trout on earth.  Here would be my ideal regulations:  have a MAXIMUM length.  You can't keep a trout OVER 18 inches.  Except, you'd get a "trophy trout tag" each year.  One tag.  You would be allowed to tag one big trout and keep it.  You'd punch your tag and date it when you caught the one trout you thought was worth keeping, and the punched tag would stay with the trout.  Get caught with a big trout and no tag or an unpunched, undated tag, and you'd get a ticket.

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That is a total pipe dream Al. MDC knows best, just ask them. The arrogant bastards are fat, lazy, and behind the times in comparison to more eager agencies with less budget. A trip someplace else is usually worth it. Fished out of state more than in the last couple of years. Areas with better regs always fish better than MO.

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From my understanding "all" MDC aspects are under review by the new state admin.......me thinks we will see more changes in the next few years, than in the last 10

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9 hours ago, Al Agnew said:

I'm going to try to sum up my thoughts on all these subjects, which have evolved a bit over the years...

First, gigging.  Chief continually says that hook and line anglers (legal or illegal) remove far more smallmouth than illegal giggers.  TRUE.  GIGGERS ARE NOT HURTING THE OVERALL SMALLMOUTH POPULATION IN THE HEAVILY GIGGED STREAMS.  No argument there.  The argument is that there are a limited number of BIG smallmouth, 18 inch or better fish.  Most anglers seldom catch them, illegally or legally, release or kill.  A gigger can specifically target big fish, and most of the time a stabbed fish is a dead fish, whether kept or not.  An angler cannot target them in the same way, and a fairly large percentage of the anglers that regularly catch them release them more or less unharmed.  So...finite and small number of big fish to begin with, anglers seldom catch them, can't target them specifically, and many anglers who do catch them release them.  But illegal giggers can target them, and can make a huge dent in the numbers of big fish in wintering pools where they are concentrated.

 Giggers are not the end game to the problem. They just catch all the heat from this crowd because they are easy targets. 

We point fingers at them for what THEY CAN DO. Not what they actually do. I am not so naive that I don't believe that some game fish get stuck. But I don't believe it is even remotely close to what some would try to have you believe. 

Quote

And what many of us would like to see is an experimental regulation on one good stream section, where gigging is banned for a period of, say, five years.  Survey carefully the smallmouth population before the reg is instituted, and do detailed creel censuses as well.  Then survey it again at the end of the five year period, while doing creel censuses all along, and just SEE what happens to the numbers of bigger smallmouth, if anything.  The problem is we don't have a baseline for what these streams CAN produce if big fish are protected from gigging, since all smallmouth streams are open to gigging and have been since forever.  So we can argue that Ozark smallmouth can't get as big or the big ones as numerous as those in other places, but we simply don't KNOW that.

Smallmouth occupy nearly every mile of flowing stream in the Ozarks. Thousands of miles. Giggers don't come close to gigging that many miles. They can't. 

When the White Paper came and we analyzed the numbers, yes there was an increase in overall size and numbers of Smallmouth. But it was not the increase everybody thought it would be. 

Quote

 

Personally, I suspect that Ozark smallmouth definitely have a top end size range that's not as big as those in some of the famous spots for big smallies.  You'll ever get an 8-10 pounder out of the Ozarks, lake or stream, and you'll never get the numbers of large fish that you have in some north country rivers.  And that's fine.  The question really is, can you get, say, twice or three times the percentage of big fish within the population under different management?  Instead of me being able to catch an 18 incher for every ten hours or so of floatfishing, could I be catching 2 or 3 18 inchers during that same time period?  

I am totally with on this. We just can't grow anything big in the Ozarks except our women. 

But let's say we do. Let's say through the work of magic, we start catching fish consistently in the range as the places we dream of. Then what? How soon before we get bored of that? Then do we continue to lambast the fat, lazy, stupid, good for nothing because I am smarter than they are MDC? 

I'm not saying there can't be any improvements in the fishery. I think there can be. I do think we would be better served with a 1 over 15 on all black bass in streams. That will get you to the numbers you are looking for. Or at least closer. 

There has been a huge increase in pressure on our streams with the trendy yakers and the  gratification of instant media.  I think it is time to take a second look at our current regulations.

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