The Missouri River flowed out of its banks in record fashion in June and as it starts to go back into the main channel, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will ease some of the fishing regulations along the river. Southwest Iowa fisheries supervisor, Chris Larson, says mud and debris isn’t the only thing that’s flowed into the flooded areas.
Larson says there will be a lot of water bodies that were scoured out by the record flood and he says they decided to let people harvest some of the fish instead of letting the fish die once the water dries out. Larson says some of the fish who have been swimming in new territory will get a surprise.
He says most of the species will go back into the river as it goes down, but he says some will wait too long and the water will get too shallow, leaving them isolated in pools in fields and road ditches. The D.N.R. found several large fish trapped in holes washed out in the Saylorville area after the flooding there in 2008. (Saylorville story)
Larson expects similar stories as the Missouri recedes. Larson says he expects some big fish to be left behind, and it all depends on how deep the holes were cut. The relaxed rules will begin on August 15th but you will still need a fishing license, and you must get permission to fish any private land. Larson says there are some other rules too.
Larson says the waters need to be areas that are unlikely to be reconnected to the river in normal or slightly above normal flows, and they need to be water bodies that didn’t exist before the flood. He say on public lands the waters have to be less than five feet in depth or you need to leave the fish, because there’s a possibility the fish could get out again later. And there is one special fish you can’t take.
Larson says the Pallid Sturgeon is endangered and protected by law and they ask that any sturgeon species be return to the water. Other than the sturgeon, if you have a valid license, he says you can harvest any size or number of fish species from the isolated flood waters. Any number of fishing poles, jugs or nets will be allowed.