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Soft Water Question

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I’ve tried much earlier plenty of times, but it’s really not worthwhile to even give it much effort until at least May 1 and even then will start out slow.

It mostly depends on water temp. When it hits 60, get out there. wink

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I'm thinking of trying a trip down to St Louis to fish for blues in April. Looks to be about an 11 hour drive. When you guys are heading to Sturgeon Excursion I may go south and try the Mississippi River and the Missouri River for blues. I'm just starting to scout out river maps and river info. I'll need to scratch the catfish bug by then and it could be a fun trip.

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When? Depends on weather. I'm hoping for 2nd week of April. My plan is to watch the weather forecasts for St Louis around that time frame and when we get a forecast for warm, stable weather for about 4 to 5 straight days head for St Louis. We need a water temp of about 40 degrees or higher for a good cat bite. I'm lucky - I'm retired so all I need is the Bride's OK and I'm out the door. I'm hoping to take off when the April weather looks good for fishing in St Louis. I was thinking 4 day trip - travel one day - fish two days - return one day.

I've got all the river maps and boat launch site info for the Missouri River at St Louis. I'm thinking of fishing the confluence area where the Missouri River meets the Mississippi. That area gives up some big blues and quite a few big flatheads.

I've been doing a lot of reading about that area and the techniques used to catch blues. It is primarily wing dam fishing and fishing off man-made structures (bridge piers, revetments, barge tiedowns, etc). It is a big river with strong currents but the fishing isn't all that different from what we all do.

One challenge will be getting some good local bait. It would be nice to catch some SkipJack Herring or large shad for cut bait. I'm in the process of trying to find some local bait shops that might have bait.

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Steve, could you use a throw net down there to try to catch some of your own bait?

To answer your question - the answer is yes you can use a throw net to catch live bait in Missouri.

They have some interesting regulations for taking live bait. Nongame fish may be used as live bait. Nongame fish include bluegill, green sunfish, carp, carpsuckers, suckers, buffalo, drum, gar and all other species other than those defined as game fish.

Here is where it gets interesting:

- Live bait may be taken by trap, dip net, throw net, pole and line or seine.

- All bluegill, green sunfish and bullheads more than 5 inches long and other species of nongame fish more than 12 inches long must be returned to the water immediately after being caught by any of the methods listed above except pole and line.

- Bighead carp and silver carp may not be used as live bait but may be used as dead or cut bait.

- There is no length limit on bighead carp, common carp, gizzard shad, goldfish, grass carp and silver carp when used as bait.

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Here is something else you may find interesting from the Missouri Fishing Regulations.

SPORT FISHING: General Rules

Methods: You may take fish by pole and line, trotline, throwline, limb line, bank line and jug line. If you use more than 3 poles (or two poles on the Mississippi River) at any one time, the additional poles must be labeled with your full name and address. Regardless of the method or number of poles, you may not use more than a total of 33 hooks at any one time; except on the Mississippi River the maximum is 50 hooks at one time. If fishing on the Mississippi River and on other Missouri waters at the same time, nor more than 50 hooks may be used and not more than 33 on waters other than the Mississippi River.

I'll be fishing in my 17' Alumacraft so with 2 guys 3 rods each will probably be the max for efficiency especially in heavy current. I'm planning on fishing 3 lines although a guy could fish a lot more than that based on these regulations. If I had my pontoon I could have that baby looking like a porcupine. It is interesting to see the fishing regulations in other states.

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