MO Department of Conservation Proposes Changes at Wappapello Lake

Department of Conservation Proposes Changes at Wappapello Lake
By: Ryan Tate
Changes could be on the way at Wappapello Lake according to members of the Missouri Department of Conservation. Department agents propose changing the limits and size of crappie caught in the lake, with the hope it makes crappie caught in the future bigger.
The proposal calls for the limit to be changed to 15 instead of 30 at one time. Also, fisherman will be asked to throw all crappie back in the water under nine inches in length. Right now, there is no size limit.
"Even though you won't be able to take out as many as right now, the bigger crappie will provide just as much meat as the current limit of 30 but at a smaller number," Mark Boone with the Missouri Department of Conservation said. "If we don't make any changes we'll have what we have right now. It's worth a try, the regulations have worked elsewhere."
The proposal began as a petition by more than 200 anglers four years ago. They were upset the size of the fish continued to get smaller. So they petitioned the Conservation Department for help.
But some business owners are not happy with the proposal. They feel that some fisherman will go to other lakes to catch crappie, because they don't want to deal with limits.
"Fisherman won't come. There are other lakes to fish, and they won't drive 100 miles to fish in [Wappapello] lake if they can only get 15 a day," Katy Edmondson said. Edmondson owns a convenience store in Wappapello.
The proposal must be approved within the Conservation Department before it becomes law. If the proposal passes, it goes into affect in March of 2006. Conservation agents don't expect to see any changes in the crappie population until 2008 at the earliest.