CHARLESTON -- Southeast Missouri anglers are about to be introduced to new regulations on Missouri Department of Conservation areas in the Bootheel.
When we talk about larger is better, well, fishing for larger fish has its advantages.
From crappie at Robert DeLaney Lake north of Charleston and bluegill at General Watkins Conservation Area in Scott County, south of Benton, changes will happen March 1.
Crappie at Robert DeLaney Lake will have a length limit of nine inches and a daily catch limit of 15. This will change from the no-length limit and daily catch limit of 30.
Biologists have been studying the growth rate of crappie and with this change will produce bigger crappie in the near future.
According to tagging studies and population surveys, anglers harvest a high percentage of eight-inch crappie. Robert DeLaney Lake has great potential to grow 10-inch or better crappie. The smaller crappie will now have a greater chance of getting bigger at Robert DeLaney Lake.
General Watkins Conservation Area will also see a change in the bluegill regulation on all lakes and ponds.
Mike Reed, Fisheries Management biologist, said, "Although bluegills are predominate quarry of SEMO sunfish anglers, other sunfish species can also be found on their stringer. These include redear sunfish, also called "shell crackers," green sunfish and warmouth.
"Fishing is most popular in spring when bluegill and redear spawning concentrations make fishing fast and furious. The many saucer-shaped nests constructed by male fish can be seen in clear water, appearing as a honeycomb of activity."
Bluegill regulations will change from 20 to 10 daily catch limits and now an eight-inch length limit.
The Missouri Department of Conservation recognized the interest in catching larger fish and also the enjoyment of being on waters that are managed in a way that all Missourians can enjoy a fun day at the lake.
If you have future questions on regulations, contact conservation agent Leother Branch at (573) 471-5737.