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March 26, 2007

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Discussion Topic: Should Noodling Be Legal?

Handfishing for catfish is legal in some states and a misdemeanor in others. And may soon become the latter in Missouri, where the practice has been allowed on an experimental basis for the last couple years.

Here’s the latest from an Associated Press story in The Joplin Globe:

Citing renewed threats to breeding-age fish, state conservation officials are no longer issuing permits to fish for catfish by hand, a practice known as noodling. The suspension could be made permanent as soon as next month.

“They’re catching too many, so we can’t catch any,” said Howard Ramsey, of Paris, Mo., president of Noodlers Anonymous, in a reference to Missourians who prefer to keep their hands outside the water when fishing . . . .

State law allows those who fish using lines, jugs or rods and reels to catch and keep up to 20 catfish daily. Noodlers are asking the state to allow hand-fishers to keep only five fish each season — compared with the experimental limit of five each day.

What do you think? Should the state grant the noodlers’ request? Do you think noodling in general should be legal or illegal?



Absolutely. If anyone reading this has ever witnessed it done either in real life or on t.v. then the person would know that this type of fishing, while dangerous, is probably the most sporting way to catch big catfish. I have gone noodling and have had a 35lb catfish latch onto my hand and nearly take me under. With that said it’s easy to see that a fish actually has a fighting chance when taken in such a way. The one drawback is that these big fish are often guarding their young so when they are caught the young have little chance of making it on their own, so I would certainly agree with limiting the amount of catfish that can be taken by this method. Then again there may be no need to because noodling is legal in both Oklahoma and Louisiana and I’ve never heard of a catfish shortage in either state.

will brantley

Absolutely. It's been my experience that those who are opposed to it are generally the same ones who have no understanding of it. The graphic nature of the sport causes it to be quickly written off by many who don't understand it for no rational reason.

That said, it's extremely effective for catching the largest class of catfish. Seasons, creel and length limits, as are in place for almost all other types of fishing, are more than sensible.

Dean B.

I'm for it being legal, with sensible regulations attached. Noodling as of this year is legal in Kansas. Limited to flathead catfish only, part of the Arkansas and Kansas Rivers and the season runs from mid-June through August and requires a special permit.


More rights just being wisked away by the government...

Blue Ox

I myself have never noodled before, nor am I real anxious to try it,(with my luck I'd probably end up with an angry snapping turtle trying to eat my fingers)but I don't see why there should be any law againt it. I agree with jordan-more rights being taken away by those who don't have a clue.

aaron moore

I have never done it, but want to. you gotta have pretty big Cajones to noodle...Ridiculous that it should be outlawed! As long as limits etc are controled...what does it hurt? if you can catch 'em with a rod why not your hands!

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