Blue Catfish Management on Truman Reservoir and Lake of the Ozarks


Blue catfish
Blue catfish
Jim Rathert

Blue Catfish Management on Truman Reservoir and Lake of the Ozarks

In 2009, a group of Department of Conservation employees from Protection, Resource Science, and Fisheries divisions came together to discuss the history of blue catfish and the anglers who pursued them on both lakes. Some anglers and professionals alike had concerns with the decline in the numbers of large blue catfish.

The Department looked at past angler surveys and harvest evaluations with an eye toward regaining the fame these lakes once held for producing big catfish.

In 2010, staff began gathering blue catfish population data and continued the effort for three years ending in 2012. During the same time period, the Department held three stakeholder meetings, three public open houses, and gathered public opinion in several other ways. With the combination of sound science and public input that showed angler support, the Department implemented the following regulations, effective March 1, 2014:

  • Blue catfish between 26 and 34 inches in total length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught on Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Lake, and their tributaries.
  • ANY stream, creek, or river entering these lakes is a tributary. These waters cease being tributaries ONLY where a major dam (Pomme de Terre, Stockton Lake, Montrose, and Tunnel Dam) interrupts them, or where they reach the state line.

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