The Department of Conservation is considering setting a minimum length of 7 inches for rock bass statewide, and a 15-inch minimum, 1-fish per day limit for smallmouth bass in managed areas.
Proposed regulations would also create a new special management area on the Current River and expand the special management areas on the Big Piney, Big River, Jacks Fork and Meramec rivers.
There are eight Rock Bass Special Management Areas that have an 8-inch minimum length limit, all other streams are covered by a statewide regulation with no minimum length limit. Smallmouth Bass have 12 Special Management Areas that have a minimum length limit of either 15 or 18 inches with a daily limit of 1 or 2 fish. All other streams are covered under a statewide regulation with a minimum length limit of 12 inches and a possession limit of six.
Department Fisheries Management Biologist Craig Fuller said the proposals aim to let fish grow to the size most anglers want to catch, based on public feedback.
“To simplify fishing relations for anglers to go fishing, enjoy fishing in Missouri and have a simple set of regulations,” said Fuller.
Fuller said both species are popular.
“Smallmouth bass and rock bass are the fish that live in our Ozark streams that are native fish species that live there,” said Fuller.
Fuller said additional resources will not be necessary to implement the changes. If the Conservation Commission and Regulations Committee approve the proposals, the changes would go into effect March 2017.
Eight statewide open houses to explain the changes will be held September 29 in Van Buren, October 1 in Blue Springs, October 5 in St. Robert, October 6 in Farmington, October 8 in Kirkwood, October 13 in Springfield, October 15 in Neosho and October 19 in Columbia.