Help Improve Paddlefishing


Paddlefish, also known as spoonbill, have long, paddle-shaped rostrums that are about one-third the length of their bodies.
Please Credit "Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation"

We Need More and Better Information

MDC biologists have been studying these prehistoric fish since at least the 1960s, yet we still have much to learn. Angler surveys and other research and monitoring efforts have helped us assess reservoir populations, but these data have not provided the information needed to implement the best possible management strategies. We need more and better information on where fishing and harvest occur throughout the state, the number of people who fish for paddlefish and the number and sizes of paddlefish caught and harvested. This information can help us further manage our stocking program, these popular fisheries and our paddlefish management efforts.

Paddlefish Tagging Project

Beginning in 2015, MDC is conducting a 5-year tagging project. Both legal and sublegal paddlefish will be tagged in Lake of the Ozarks, Harry S. Truman Lake, Table Rock Lake and the Mississippi River. Paddlefish are being tagged to help monitor harvest, learn more about this species, and improve paddlefishing.

Biologists will tag paddlefish from each location from December to March 14th each year of the project. All paddlefish will be tagged with reward tags. Each year a reward will be given for the 1st tag that you turn in and all returned tags will be entered into a raffle for up to $500.00.

Transmitters will also be implanted in 100 reproductive adults at Harry S. Truman lake to help determine if any natural reproduction is occurring and if so, where. Biologists will manually track fish from March through the end of May. If you happen to harvest a fish that has a transmitter, please contact us at the phone numbers listed below so we can arrange the return of the transmitter for reuse on another fish.

We Need Your Help

Please report all tagged paddlefish that you catch. ONLY remove tags from legally harvested fish. Do NOT remove tags from sublegal paddlefish, rewards will not be given for sublegal fish. The information from these sublegal fish is valuable to us, please report the requested information below. Information from harvested paddlefish must be sent in for reward by either mailing the tag or sending a photo of the tag number along with the information below for each fish:

  1. The DATE you caught the fish
  2. WHERE (reservoir or river, mile marker, county) you caught the fish
  3. The TAG number
  4. The eye-to-fork LENGTH of the fish
  5. Your Name and ADDRESS

Please call or send this information to:

Missouri Department of Conservation
3815 East Jackson Blvd.
Jackson, MO 63755

For questions, call 660-530-5500 or email

Thank you for your help with this project.

Check the Code

This is NOT a legal document. Regulations are subject to revision during the current year.
Refer to the Wildlife Code.