Anglers should be aware of rules, areas open; season runs through May 15
PRATT — Warming water temperatures and rising rivers have signaled the opening of the Kansas paddlefish season, which runs March 15-May 15 at a number of areas in eastern Kansas. Once water temperatures near 60 degrees, paddlefish make the annual spawning run. Some snagging areas, such as the Neosho River in Chetopa, require a rise in the river level for paddlefish to be present.

Paddlefish may now be taken on posted areas inside Chetopa and Burlington city parks on the Neosho River, on the Neosho River at Iola, downstream from the dam to the city limits, on the Marais des Cygnes River downstream from the Osawatomie Dam to the posted boundary, and on the Marais des Cygnes River on the upstream boundary of Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area and downstream to the Kansas-Missouri border.

Paddlefish may be snagged using pole and line with not more than two single or treble hooks. Barbless hooks must be used in Chetopa City Park. Catch and release is allowed in Burlington, Chetopa, and Iola, except that once attached to a stringer, a fish becomes part of the daily creel limit. The daily creel limit for paddlefish is two, and the season limit is six. On the Missouri River boundary waters, there is a 24-inch minimum length limit. There is a 34-inch minimum length limit on Marias des Cygnes River.

A paddlefish permit — $12.50 for those 16 and older, $7.50 for youth 15 and younger — includes six carcass tags. Immediately upon attaching a fish to a stringer, the angler must sign a carcass tag; record the county, date, and time of harvest; and attach the carcass tag to the lower jaw of the paddlefish taken. Anglers must stop snagging once the daily creel limit of two paddlefish is reached.

Paddlefish caught outside the paddlefish season or in non-snagging areas may be kept if they are hooked in the mouth.

Nonsport fish (carp, drum, grass carp, threadfin and gizzard shad, goldfish, gar, suckers including carpsucker and buffalo, goldeye, and bowfin) may also be snagged in waters posted open to snagging during the paddlefish season. There are no limits on nonsport fish.