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OMG 2! Osage Mudpuppy and Golden Redhorse

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After a high water event a couple of weeks ago and some favorable reports of redhorse in the confluence with the Osage, we headed back down for another shot at the spring sucker run. What a difference a couple of weeks and no deluges in the recent past make on the water conditions.

20180224_074741.jpg 24Feb18

P3100150.JPG 10Mar18

We fished the bottom using a jury rigged three way. Tied a 5/8 oz or 1 oz bell sinker to the terminal end of the line and made a loop about 12 to 16 " above the sinker with an overhand knot. passed the loop end through the hole and over the bottom of a no. 4 or 6 baitholder hook so that the line cinches below the eye hole of the hook. Put on a nightcrawler and cast out into the current. Then sit or stand and wait. Today it didn't take long. I was fishing the point and put one of my baits on the river side of the seam between the creek incurrent water into the Osage and the other was right into that seam. About five minutes I have a strike on the river bait, It taps again and I set the hook. Fish on! I brought in a 10" channel catfish. After missing that sturgeon on the last trip fishing in this same spot, it was good to have a solid hook set and a landed fish even if it was a small catfish. After ten minutes I repositioned the bait from the seam and cast into the creek current. My buddy Jon just picked up and set the hooked on his first fish, a decent bluegill. Then my creek line got hit pretty hard and the hook set was solid. I pulled in my first nice bluegill of the day.


My buddy caught a couple more bluegill and then he reeled in the first golden redhorse sucker of the day.


I had caught a couple more bluegill but was only getting bit by fishing the creek and not the river side. By the time Jon reeled in his second sucker, I moved to fish upstream of him on the creek. I was casting across the creek towards a large laydown tree on the far bank. It was a blessing and a curse. I was getting bit on all of my lines, but I was in a large school of bluegill. at one time I caught a bluegill on the left line, as I was reeling that in the middle line was getting tapped. I caught that fish and as soon as I landed it I said to the right line when were you going to catch a fish. As soon as I made that statement, the rod tip bounced heavily and I set the hook on yet another 7-8 inch bluegill. Got to love calling the shot B)! Just wish that it was a redhorse. With one of my lines I made a shorter cast into what might have been the channel and hopefully away from the bluegill. The line looked to be drifting and I began to reel it in when I felt the fish and set the hook. Jon had mentioned that the suckers were biting lightly, just a movement of the line. Well now I had my first redhorse on the line :)! Not a giant golden redhorse, but it was the targeted species for the day.


I didn't catch another one, but did manage a few more bluegill (ended up with 10 bluegill on the day). As the action slowed, Jon had another weird bite, just like a steady pull. He set the hook and pulled in a very cool catch, a mudpuppy salamander. It was about 9 to 10 inches long with prominent gills. At first thought it might be a young hellbender, but later determined it was too big for a hellbender to still have gills. I just hope that we didn't damage it too much and it survived the encounter. These guys like the hellbender are getting pretty rare.



We headed upstream and Jon found a honey hole of hungry fish. He landed a blue catfish, channel catfish, a couple more bluegill, and a spotted bass (I got jealous of that one).


Jon's dad showed up around 10 am and he caught three suckers and a few nice bluegill as well. It was a great day. What a difference from our last trip!

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      Nice report John!

 The mudpuppy is a nice surprise. We would catch three or four every trip with shad guts fishing for channel cat on the Osage above Taberville during the winter. They like river worms too.  Fist one I caught I had no idea what it was and wouldn't touch it Tell you another thing when trying to remove the hook they will bite and bite hard. Clamp on like a bullhead would. Again neat trip report,


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Used to catch the occasional mudpuppy while fishing big live minnows for walleye in the winter.  Often got a lot of bites from them.  You could tell it was a mudpuppy when you reeled in your minnow and it had an obvious set of jaw marks across its abdomen.  Mudpuppies just love to bite a live minnow in the belly and chew on it, and of course that wasn't where the hook was, so you almost never hooked them.

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The Salt river tribs were lousy with them when I was a kid.  That was back when all the rivers were a literal trash dump.  As I got older, and the rivers got allegedly "cleaner" we kinda stopped finding them.  

We seined for minnows and crawdads sometimes to bait limblines, and had 4 mudpuppy's in the bucket.  My grandpa baited 3 of his best sets with them during a time when the flatheads were biting real good, but none of them got eaten so he determined that "fish just don't eat them". :rolleyes:

The ones we used to find looked different than the one you're holding, ours were always real dark, almost black  with no spots or stripes, and red gills.  And only about 5-6" long.   Don't think I've ever seen one as thick and colorful as the one you're holding.  Is there more than one species?

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According to "Reptiles and Amphibians of Missouri", there are two subspecies but both have dark spots.  However, a lot of the ones I caught on Black River and on the Diversion Channel were lighter in color and the spots didn't show up much.  They were mostly 8-10 inches long.  The one in the picture looks exactly like the photo in that book, but not so much like the ones I caught.  I believe mine were probably the Red River subspecies instead of the common species that we're talking about here.  The Red River ones are only in the southern quarter of the state.

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