OUTDOORS: World-record fish caught In south Missouri

BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor 

Missouri’s second new state-record fish of 2021 was caught in south Missouri on Feb. 25. Then it became something more.

After verification, it also has become the new world record for the species.

The big fish – a spotted gar – was taken by Callaway County angler Devlin Rich of Williamsville on rod and reel in Wappapello Lake. It weighed 10 pounds, 9 ounces, eclipsing the previous world record, set in 1994, by 13 ounces.

Spotted gar are fairly common in southeast Missouri’s warm, sluggish backwaters, but are seldom caught on rod and reel; more commonly they are taken with archery equipment.

Turkey season is now half over, and many local hunters have taken one or two gobblers. However, hunting was somewhat slowed by inclement weather.

The north Missouri snowfall on the second day of the season caused some turkey hunters to shorten their hunting activity for a while, but the moisture left behind by the snow should be encouraging morel mushrooms to pop up as the temperature rises to usual levels for this time of the year.

On a related note, ticks are out and hungry, so don’t forget to spray before each hunting trip. If you find some on you, you might save a few to send in to the tick study at A.T. Still University at Kirksville. The Missouri Department of Conservation has information available on this study, if you’d like to contribute.

Turkey season will end May 9 and that will curtail Missouri hunting activity (except for bullfrogs and squirrels) until fall, when the majority of Missouri’s hunting seasons open.

To allow plenty of time for hunters to make fall plans, the state’s conservation commission has released the fall hunting season dates already, starting – as usual – with dove season on Sept. 1.

Rail and snipe seasons open on the same day and the early teal season will run Sept. 11-26, the maximum 16 days. Limits and other regulations remain the same as last year.

The North Zone duck season will run Oct. 30-Dec. 28 with the same 6-duck daily limit and species limits (only one pintail) as last year.

Canada goose seasons will be both an early one Oct. 2-10 and the regular one and whitefront season to run Nov. 11, 2021-Feb. 6, 2022. Snow goose season will be Nov. 11-Feb. 6 also with a Conservation Order season to follow.

The North Zone youth waterfowl season will be Oct. 23-24. Take note that zone boundaries have been changed for the upcoming seasons. The Missouri River is no longer the actual boundary.

For further information and the exact boundaries, be sure to pick up and read the MDC’s 2012-22 Migratory Bird and Waterfowl hunting digest, available beginning in July where hunting permits are sold.

I haven’t been fishing yet, but I’m told that the crappies started biting about three weeks ago, although the unusual snow and cold water slowed them up a little.

It’s crappie prime time now through the end of turkey season, so if you’re already limited out on gobblers or bored from not finding any turkeys, you might want to put up the shotgun for a while and break out the fishing pole.

Fried crappie and mushrooms sure sound tasty right now! 

(Bill Wehrle’s “Outdoors” column appears in the C-T every Saturday)