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Nebraska says snag yourself a Paddlefish

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Paddlefish from the White River, SD Paddlefish from the White River, SD

Yes it's that time of year again when the hooks will start to fly in Nebraska as the short but highly anticipated Paddlefish season gets underway. Question is - has anyone tried to snag with fly gear?

Paddlefish snagging season opens Friday, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Snagging is allowed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Missouri River from Gavins Point Dam downstream to the mouth of the Big Sioux River at river mile marker 734.

All authorized snagging permits have been sold. The season closes on Oct. 31.

Game and Parks offers some reminders for snaggers:

-- The following area is closed to snagging: the area extending downstream from Gavins Point Dam to a line that extends from the east end of the south cement wall of the discharge channel northwest to the east end of the chalk point.

-- Snagging off the north wall of the spillway is prohibited.

-- All inland waters are closed to paddlefish harvest.

-- To measure a paddlefish, lay it flat and measure along the centerline from the front of the eye to the natural fork of the tail. All paddlefish between 35 and 45 inches in length must be returned to the water immediately.

-- A paddlefish must be tagged immediately in the dorsal fin with the angler's tag upon addition to the creel. Any paddlefish tag that is locked before attachment, altered or modified shall be void and will not be replaced.

With many boats expected on the water on opening day, anglers should be aware that the dam's spillway gates are open, causing turbulent water near the power plant and spillway. Water is being released to help evacuate millions of acre-feet of water stored in reservoirs upstream, according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers news release.

The Corp has the following safety tips:

-- Stay back from the buoy line. Water is turbulent even outside the buoys.

-- Do not cast fishing lines over the buoy line.

-- Do not cross the buoy line for any reason.

-- Do not tie your boat to the buoy line. Turbulent water can cause a boat to fill with water quickly.

-- Wear a life jacket.

Paddlefish Facts

The paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) is a large, planktivorous fish historically found throughout the Mississippi and Missouri River systems, the Mobile (AL) drainage, and portions of the Great Lakes.  The paddlefish represents one of the oldest and most obscure of North America’s freshwater fish species.  Severe alterations to large rivers over the last 100+ years and recent threats associated with increased harvest demand for roe and smoked meat coupled with competition from exotic species (i.e., bighead and silver carp) has compromised the sustainability of natural stocks of paddlefish.


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