OUTDOORS: Another new Missouri fish record

BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

Some Missouri anglers already are having a state-record year.

Anthony Schnur, Jr., of Pevely is the latest to bring in a “fish for the record book” – a long-nose gar he took on rod and reel from Table Rock Lake on April 7. Schnur had set out to go crappie fishing, spotted the gar, and got it to strike.

The big (and toothy) gar weighed 32 pounds, 10 ounces, handily topping the previous record of 27 pounds set in 1999.

It is the fourth new state-record fish taken in 2021.

Turkey season closed last Sunday and, although final harvest totals weren’t available when I wrote this, it appears the final number will be less than last year’s total of 38,730. Going into the last week of the season, only 25,946 turkeys had been checked in.

My personal turkey hunting likewise was not very rewarding. It took me two weeks of the season to just see a gobbler and I didn’t hear one gobble until the third week.

The Missouri Department of Conservation had indicated beforehand turkey hunting this year would be challenging. As far as I’m concerned, they were “spot on” with that prediction.

Now it’s time to concentrate on fishing opportunities and they might be more productive than turkey hunting was.

Catfishing in Grand River turned out that way for my son Mark, who gave up a turkey hunting weekend May 1-2 to try for some big catfish in the Grand and came home with almost a boatload of big blue and flathead catfish.

The biggest was 80 pounds and there was also a 60-pounder, a couple in the 40s, and some just slightly smaller. Looks like the family fish fry this July should be at his house for sure!

The spring “crappie run” is likely pretty much over, but now that the water has warmed, it’s time for bass to be hitting surface lures, my favorite type of angling. 

For me, one the biggest outdoor thrills of the year is when a big bass “blows up” on a chugging surface lure. That’s one outdoor thrill that never gets old. And bass are pretty darn good eating, too.

May is the month for Missouri’s big-game hunters to apply for their black bear and elk permits, two recent additions to legal animals to hunt in the Show-Me state.

This will be the second year for five lucky applicants to receive an elk hunting permit, good for either an archery season early or a firearms season later.

Interested hunters must apply for an elk permit drawing May 1-31, either online, through MDC’s MO Hunting app, through a permit vendor, or by calling a toll-free number.

For precise information on applying and the elk season dates, interested elk hunters should access a new online Elk Hunting Digest at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/regulations/elk=hunting-digest.

 Complete information on the first-ever Missouri black bear hunting season also is available online in a Black Bear Hunting Digest by accessing huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/regulations/black-bear-hunting-digest

There will be 400 black bear hunting permits available for hunting in the three Bear Management Zones in south Missouri.

If you didn’t get a turkey, maybe you can get an elk or a bear this fall!

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