This is part two of our series on fish in Missouri. Read part one
Muskie are strong, big and ferocious fish and with regular stocking, Missouri lakes are now home to a large population of these fish. Muskies were first introduced to Missouri in 1966 in Pomme de Terre Lake and several other small lakes throughout the area. Five lakes are popular sites for experienced anglers looking for this particular fish: Pomme de Terre, Lake 35 (Busch Conservation Area), Henry Sever, Fellows and Hazel Creek.
Spoonbill or paddlefish have no bones and spend most of the time feeding on zooplankton. Fish of this species are some of the largest in North America, and can grow to weigh more than 100 pounds. Paddlefish are indigenous to the Mississippi, Missouri and Osage River basins in the state and populations are maintained at Table Rock, Lake of the Ozarks and Truman through annual stocking.
The rivers of Missouri are home to three distinctive species of Sturgeon, the lake sturgeon, river sturgeon and pallid sturgeon. Lake and pallid sturgeon are protected species and must be returned to the water not harmed if captured. The Missouri Department of Conservation is currently working on studying the fish and trying to develop a way to prevent them from becoming endangered.
Missouri rivers provide wonderful opportunities for people that love to fish for trout. Trout is a different type of fishing experience rather than the traditional bobber and worm that people use to fish for more common species. For those that wish to fish exclusively for trout, the Department of Conservation requires a payment of certain taxes in order to keep the rivers and reservoirs stocked because trout are not native to Missouri and it costs money to restock these species.
Perhaps the last, but certainly not the least, Walleye which are one of the most sought after fish in Missouri, if not North America. Walleye are native to Missouri’s large rivers and streams and are the fist fish to spawn each spring. In Bull Shoals, a record breaking Walleye weighing 21 pounds 1 ounce was captured in 1988. Walleye is the largest member of the perch family and is a favorite dinner staple for those fishing the many lakes and rivers of Missouri.
With the many different species of fish found throughout the lakes, rivers and reservoirs of Missouri, there is sure to be something for everyone. Whether you are a novice fisherman or a seasoned expert, Missouri has a vast diversity of fish just waiting to be caught, so make the most of your summer and drop a line and see what jumps on your hook.