Wet weather doesn’t stop catfish anglers

Posted June 13, 2013 at 10:03 am

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Missouri is a great place to fish, even in the rain. A downpour didn’t stop David Johansen of Nevada on June 5. He reeled in a blue catfish topping two pounds while fishing from an old bridge over the Marmaton River north of Nevada.

“The fish are wet, so why not us,” Johansen said. “In fact, any day I’m fishing is a great day.”

Flooding poses problems, especially prolonged flooding that damages crops and wildlife habitat. But the bright side for Johansen is that with moderate flood levels, he knows he can cast bait into flooded shallows just beyond the normal river bed and catch fish. Catfish move into the flooded shallows to feed.

Jerry Cornelius of Rich Hill used the same approach while fishing on June 5 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area. The Marmaton and Little Osage rivers meet at the Four Rivers area, and they flow on as the Osage River into Truman Lake. Fish from the lake often move upstream, including catfish. Cornelius had been fishing only a few minutes in a flooded area near a parking lot on the Four Rivers area when he landed a nice blue catfish. Rain pelted down as he fished.

“We know when the water is up, the fish are going to be in here,” Cornelius said. “Plus, what else can you do on a day like this. The garden is flooded and the cows can take care of themselves.”

Visitors should be cautious in flooded areas. Don’t try to drive through standing or flowing water, don’t try to wade in floods. But a little fishing from the high banks won’t hurt.

For more information on conservation areas with public access for fishing, go to http://mdc.mo.gov. Click on the conservation areas line on the right side of the home page, and use the search tool for the county where you wish to fish.

RAINY DAY BLUE – Jerry Cornelius of Rich Hill caught this blue catfish in flooded backwaters of the Osage River at the Four Rivers Conservation Area. Photo courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation