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One thing you should think about when discussing the where, how and when on this forum if you really want to conserve your area do not encourage people to come into it. There must be 20 times more fisherman today than years ago. Some on here like to advertise for what ever reason. That os not really very good for anything but personal attention. Fishing spots are not some horn of plenty. 

 

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I know nothing about gigging, as I’ve never been, but I agree with Al that the way to answer this question is to use science.  The MDC should conduct a study.  

The only wrinkle to Al’s research design is I would suggest we use what scientists call a “difference-in-difference design”, which is just a fancy term for saying the MDC would choose one section of stream for the “treatment” group” and also choose a “control group” section of the stream( a section that is, to the greatest extent possible, similar to the section of the stream with the new regulation banning gigging; and the “only” difference is the control section of the river allows gigging). And, you then compare the difference in the fish population before and after the new regulation across the two sections of the river.  The advantage is you can do annual creel studies at multiple sections of the river in the two study areas.  

Also, why is this study a pipe dream?   The MDC is a public agency.  Its mission is to protect and enhance our natural resources, and, importantly, to do so in a way that is consistent with what MO hunters and fishers want.  I’m not saying it would be easy (it would take some number of years) but if enough people and organizations (eg MO Smallmouth Aliance, Conservation Federation of MO, etc) lobbied the right people at the MDC it might just happen.  Consider the recent changes to the trophy areas, where one of the things the MDC did was to include some new areas of the river under that designation   It took a long time, but, if I’m not mistaken, there was lobbying on that issue.

And, I’m going to open up a can of worms.  I’m interested in why some people have a low opinion of MDC.  (I’ve seen it in a lot of threads on this forum).  What is it about the organization that angers people? Is it the process by which they make regulations?  Should they make decisions in a different way?  Is it the content of the regulations?  Is it the commission or the local game warden that you think isn’t doing a good job?  

I’m not interested in defending MDC or picking a fight; I genuinely want to know why some people see MDC as a model of a good management agency and others do not.  

My last comment is a request—let’s keep this discussion civil.  I think most of us on this forum want the same thing—a healthy population of Smallmouth.  While we may disagree on what that looks like (a fishery where you can catch a bunch of 12-14” fish or one where you catch fewer fish but they are bigger),  we all love the river.

  I’m the most relaxed and at peace when I’m on the river, even  if I’m not catching fish.  And, honestly, I’ve been in a slump. I’ve had trouble locating quality fish lately (which I define as 15+).  I went out Saturday with a buddy on the Lower Meramec and we caught Smallmouth and spotted bass, but nothing of any size (and we fished for about 6 hours).  I then took my youngest daughter out for an hour Monday late afternoon to take photographs of the river; and I fished for about 15 minutes at one hole and caught a 16” smallie and lost one that had much broader shoulders.  Had to be timing, where I was out just ahead of the cold front.  

Again, let’s keep the forum a place where we can talk about our passion for the Meramec without attacking each other 

 

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Of course, I realize that the giggers may actually be more motivated and willing to lobby against the study than those who want the study, which would likely mean it would never get off the ground 

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Guess we could have our state employees relocate them:

Sucker Showdown at Taneycomo

Publish Date

Jan 02, 2000

Revised Date

Nov 04, 2010

Lake Taneycomo is well known for its rainbow and brown trout. It is not so well known for its white suckers. White suckers, a species native to the White River, have always lived in Lake Taneycomo, historically in moderate numbers.

In the late 1980s the numbers of white suckers increased dramatically and, at times, exceeded the number of rainbow and brown trout captured during population surveys conducted by the Conservation Department.

Fisheries biologists were concerned about this abrupt increase in the white sucker population. They believed that competition between white suckers and trout for invertebrate organisms that comprised the bulk of the trout diet might cause a decline in the trout fishery.

Biologists went so far as to remove white suckers from the lake in an attempt to reduce their numbers. Conservation Department staff captured thousands of the fish and removed them without a detectable effect on the population.

Further research indicated that while there was direct competition between white suckers and trout for food items, it was not as serious as first thought. White suckers, being indiscriminate bottom feeders, consumed a lot of filamentous algae and a number of smaller invertebrate organisms. Trout, being sight feeders, fed on larger, free swimming invertebrate organisms, primarily sow bugs and amphipods or freshwater shrimp. The numbers of white suckers in Lake Taneycomo have gradually declined in recent years and in population surveys, they are once again less abundant than trout and competition is less of a concern.

The majority of suckers harvested in Missouri are taken by snagging (or grabbing) and gigging. Both methods are time-honored Ozarks traditions. Sucker grabbing is at its best in the spring when these fish move into shallow gravel areas to spawn. It is not uncommon for hundreds of suckers to congregate in a relatively small area.

White suckers migrate up Roark and Bull creeks from Lake Taneycomo each spring. Because of their affinity for cold water, they make these runs earlier than other sucker species. Local residents take advantage of the early white sucker spawning run to harvest these fish prior to the later spawning migrations of the redhorse sucker species.

White suckers are still abundant in Lake Taneycomo. Knowledgeable anglers can take advantage of their early spawning run for some fast and furious sucker grabbing. During the balance of the year anglers can catch these fish by pole and line using natural or prepared baits. Either method of harvest is a lot of fun and provides excellent food when the fish are properly prepared.

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There were several years recently where the white suckers didn't seem to be near as abundant when we were down at Taneycomo. This past summer was the first in a while where we actually caught quite a few. I saw some pretty good schools of them swimming around up around Flat Creek as well and I hadn't been seeing that as much.

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12 minutes ago, Seth said:

There were several years recently where the white suckers didn't seem to be near as abundant when we were down at Taneycomo. This past summer was the first in a while where we actually caught quite a few. I saw some pretty good schools of them swimming around up around Flat Creek as well and I hadn't been seeing that as much.

Dang giggers thinned them out! 

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3 hours ago, Chief Grey Bear said:

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.  

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

 

true small mouth are in many miles of stream, yet winter holes CAN be pounded to the point larger fish are absent

as far as growing big fish..I disagree, with a 3 prong attack (pun intended) of genetics, habitat, and regulations we would see 5# smallmouths in Ozark streams

3 hours ago, Old plug said:

One thing you should think about when discussing the where, how and when on this forum if you really want to conserve your area do not encourage people to come into it. There must be 20 times more fisherman today than years ago. Some on here like to advertise for what ever reason. That os not really very good for anything but personal attention. Fishing spots are not some horn of plenty. 

we have more people fishing in the ozarks than ever with that harvest goes up......

2 hours ago, Jim Spriggs said:

 I agree with Al that the way to answer this question is to use science.  The MDC should conduct a study.  

Agreed

1 hour ago, Jim Spriggs said:

Of course, I realize that the giggers may actually be more motivated and willing to lobby against the study than those who want the study, which would likely mean it would never get off the ground 

more people are gigging they even have tourneys..with that comes the problems

1 hour ago, Chief Grey Bear said:

Riddle me this

 If the blue and red ribbon sections of trout streams are closed to gigging why is there not an exorbitant bunch of 20+ inch smallmouth being caught in those sections?

because the water is COLD!

1 hour ago, grizwilson said:

They believed that competition between white suckers and trout for invertebrate organisms that comprised the bulk of the trout diet might cause a decline in the trout fishery.

same poop different fish.....

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5 hours ago, Chief Grey Bear said:

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. 

On the Niangua I believe it's worse than I even let on.   I'm not there everyday, and sometimes I go a month without even seeing the river, so I have no doubt that I miss quite a bit. Especially during the actual gigging Season.

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4 hours ago, Chief Grey Bear said:

Riddle me this

 If the blue and red ribbon sections of trout streams are closed to gigging why is there not an exorbitant bunch of 20+ inch smallmouth being caught in those sections?

Trout water and smallmouth water overlap, but usually the prime trout holding zones are either too cool or something because the best smallmouth water is always above or below the trout water.  Except during Winter.

Probably more crawdads where the water is a bit warmer.

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