The Missouri Department of Conservation is changing catfish regulations at five southeast Missouri lakes to improve channel catfish populations and the average size of fish harvested.

The five lakes are Tywappity Community Lake in Scott County, Buford Pond in Reynolds County and Thomas, Giessing and Hager lakes in St. Francois County.

Beginning March 1, channel catfish less than 16 inches must be released. The daily bag limit will remain at four fish. This regulation change is part of a research project to determine the best way to improve catfish populations in our small waters. 

According to Mike Reed, a MDC fisheries management biologist, researchers and biologists studied the populations of catfish in these lakes and believe the regulation change will increase catfish abundance as well as average size by allowing fish to remain in these water bodies for a longer period.

The result should be more consistent catfishing with larger fish for harvest.

Reed said anglers can be found fishing for catfish in every southeast Missouri water body from the time water begins to warm in the spring well into the late fall months and MDC has responded to the immense popularity of channel catfish by annually stocking 8- to 10-inch catfish in public ponds and lakes that don’t sustain a natural population of catfish.

As part of regular catfish management in small bodies of water, MDC conducts hoop net surveys to assess catfish populations. These nets, baited with cheese, are very effective at capturing catfish. The survey results allow fisheries biologists to determine catfish population status and make adjustments to stocking rates if necessary.

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The Civil War Trust is looking for volunteers in Missouri to help maintain and restore various historic sites around the state on Park Day, set for April 1.

Activities are chiefly outdoor jobs that range from raking leaves and collecting trash to painting signs and gardening. Volunteers will receive T-shirts, and some sites will provide lunch or refreshments.

A local historian may also be on hand to detail the park’s significance.

Anyone interested in participating can sign up at any of these Missouri sites:

• Battle of Lexington State Historic Site, Lexington, 9 a.m. Contact: Lindsay Burks at lindsay.burks@dnr.mo.gov.

• Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site, Pilot Knob, 10 a.m. Contact: Brick Autry at brick.autry@dnr.mo.gov. Activities include trash removal, history programs and trail maintenance.

• Hickory County Museum/John Siddle Williams House, Hermitage, 9 a.m. Contact: Roger Boyd at rboyd950@gmail.com. Assist with an ongoing archaeological excavation, dust and sweep in the museum, and help with landscaping, trash removal, painting and repairing fences. There will be historic programs periodically throughout the day, and light food and drinks will be provided.

• John Wornall House Museum, Kansas City, 1 p.m. Contact: Sarah Bader-King at programs@wornallmajors.org.

• Lone Jack Civil War Battlefield & Soldier’s Cemetery, Lone Jack, 8:30 a.m. Contact: Alinda Miller at president@historiclonejack.org.

• Missouri Civil War Museum, St. Louis, 10 a.m. Contact: Kristen Trout at ktrout@mcwm.org.

The Civil War Trust is a nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of America’s battlegrounds. Although primarily focused on the protection of Civil War battlefields, through its Campaign 1776 initiative, the Trust also seeks to save the battlefields connected to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.

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Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) will sponsor a river cleanup effort on March 31 and April 1 with the Ozark Heritage Project.

Staff from ONSR, Ozark Heritage Project, park concessioners, local chambers of commerce, area schools, youth groups, and volunteers will  tackle litter in the Current and Jacks Fork rivers and along the roads and accesses of the park.

Rain dates are April 7-8. You can register ahead of time or from 8-11 a.m. each day at the following sites: Watercress Landing in Van Buren, Alley Spring river landing, Round Spring lower river landing, Two Rivers landing, and Akers Ferry upper river landing.

The staff at the registration sites will provide trash bags and river bags for your convenience. Dumpsters and recycling trailers will also be available for trash disposal throughout the park. Participants are encouraged to bring work gloves, and to wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the activity.

The Ozark Heritage Project will sponsor a Saturday evening meal and musical entertainment for all participants beginning at 5 p.m. at the Alley Spring Pavilion at Alley Spring. The talented Friends Pickin’ bluegrass group from Ellington will be the featured performers.

It will be a good time to enjoy friends, good music and lend a hand in cleaning up our rivers.

By Jimmy Sexton

(Jimmy is the owner and publisher of the River Hills Traveler. He can be reached at (800) 874-8423, ext. 1, or jimmy@riverhillstraveler.com.)