Those familiar with southern Missouri’s lakes and running waters most certainly know how important the walleye is to most anglers.
Highly preferred for its delicate white filet meat, walleye cannot be harvested in unimpounded waters one half-hour after sunset until one half-hour before sunrise is not permitted between Feb. 20 and April 14.
All guidelines for lakes, ponds and impounded bodies of water remain unchanged during this same period of time.
The significance within these dates is paddlefish snagging season — beginning Sunday, March 15 — and falls during the heart of walleye breeding season.
Bearing the seasonal overlap in mind, the Missouri Department of Conservation urges anglers to increase awareness and use caution during the heart of the annual walleye spawn.
“At night, these walleye get on shoals and spawn in shallows,” conservation agent Derek Farwell said. “We don’t want people doing anything illegal on accident and want to encourage smart fishing during the walleye’s seasonal breeding.”
Farwell also said stick baits in colder water temps currently are yielding consistent success for those looking to haul in a daily limit of one of the Show-Me state’s most-preferred fish.
As far as bait color suggestions, the louder and more vibrant the color, the better.
“Chartreuse and pink are popular bait colors this time of year,” Farwell said with a chuckle.
Additional fishing regulations for the state of Missouri regarding public fishing areas, specific fishing seasons, methods and daily limits can be found by visiting https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing.