To the Editor,
The proposed smallmouth regulations changes suggested by the Missouri Department of Conservation are so small they will hardly be noticed.
We have an opportunity to make Missouri a leading smallmouth destination in our country, but are hardly denting the surface.
We are blessed with 111,000 miles of streams. Smallmouth are found throughout the state and are prevalent in the Southern half. Yet we have now and will have hundreds of miles of new special smallmouth regulations. Why not tens of thousands of miles of new and exciting changes?
The MDC is resisting a statewide change to 15 inches and 1 to 3 in possession. They are suggesting that for their hundreds of miles of special regulations be 15 and 1. The Gasconade has a special 18-inch limit on 21 of its miles.
Most fishermen catch mostly 12 inches or less because that is the limit. Can anyone deny that? If we increase the limit to 15 we will catch larger fish. Don’t we like to catch larger fish? A majority of people want a statewide 15-inch limit. If we had them vote for it, we would have it.
We have a 12 and 6 statewide now. A few decades ago a handful of MDC personnel got together and wanted a statewide limit. They selected 12 inch out of the air. No years of study, meetings all over the state, or years to make a decision. They used their experience and good common sense and came up with simple workable regulations.
Missouri fishermen regularly travel out of our state to find better fishing. The numbers are large and the opportunity for our motels, operators and everyone in the smallmouth industry in our state to benefit from the spending in this large industry is lost.
When we realize how simple and beneficial it could be and actually do statewide 15 and 1 or similar, we will notice many out of state license plates next to ours at our tens of thousands of miles of stream fishing.