Contributors to this thread:
Spoonbill/Paddlefish in Kansas?
Never heard of Paddlefish/Spoonbill until just now, wondering if anyone in Kansas has any experience with these fish and if so, can I get some tips/pointers? This really intrigues me but i know nothing about them...
You use a large fishing pole with heavy weights and trebble hooks and you snag them. Caviar and meat is good when properly handled.
They are often snagged on the Missouri River on the North Dakota and Montana border.
Here's the info from North Dakota Game and Fish.
We have them in Kansas, in several drainages.
The main one is a run up the Neosho River, to the dam in the town of Chetopa (KS). It takes quite a bit of high water to get them up there, though.
The snagging is much, much better just below the Oklahoma border in and up the rivers from Grand Lake. It's a really big deal down there.
I'd suggest you research that area, if you want consistent chances.
They have some good snagging in a few places in the Missouri Ozarks, too.
Went once in Kansas right at the beggining of the season got snowed out and never went back my cousin went every year he lived in Kansas and never ended up tying into one he lives in Oklahoma now and does well with them
My son and I haven't gone for a couple of years but we hope to go this Spring.
You have to wait till the water level comes up and they will run upstream to spawn, that's when you can snag them if you can find an opening along the bank.
In the lake of the Ozarks they troll for them.
Aaron Johnson's Link
I grew up in Miami, Ok and as writer said it is very popular down there. You can google paddlefish guides grand lake or neosho river and there are some really good guides to go with.
Here is a link a buddy of mine shared on Facebook today.
Anybody know any guides that fish the Browning Oxbow Lake?
Montana has a season and we ussually catch every year. Its nice to be close so you know when they are running. There is actually an archery season in Montana also. Ive tried it once or twice but never worked out. I beleive there are some on BS that have been succesful.
If you try to snag them in Chetopa KS, you have to be there at EXACTLY the right time. I have made the drive multiple times when the river was high only to snag every species but a spoonbill. You see, the river has to get to a certain height for them to make it over the dam downstream in Miami, OK. Then they have to swim miles upriver to Chetopa before the river goes down. Usually, I give them 2 days after it has started running over the dam in OK. As for eating, I think they are disgusting. They have a dark stripe that makes up the majority of the fish and it is not good. You practically have to throw away 70 % of the fish and the meat that is edible has a porous consistency. Get a big one in the current and he can break 50 lb test like its nothing.
Oh and bring several boxes of weights and giant treble hooks because you will lose many of them. I was down there once when the water was receding a foot an hour, and I filled a tackle box with hooks and sinkers that people got snagged on rocks.
Taken with a recurve at night.
If you're looking for a spoonbill guide, look into Pritchards guide service. Rusty is a great guy and specializes in trolling for spoonbill at Grand lake in Oklahoma.
The meat is good but it isn't your typical flaky fish. We brought home 2 when we went with Rusty and my friends and family all thought it was closer to chicken nuggets than fish in texture.
Big difference as far as eating between a river fish and a lake fish. Out of the Missouri R they are excellent. I have had some from Oklahoma and they were not very good. I bowfish for them here in Nebraska every year that I can draw a tag.
Curious - Aren't they like endangered?
Z, like no.
There is some concern about poaching taking them for their "caviar" possibly putting a serious dent in the population.
Not endangered at all, just not widespread in distribution. We have plenty of them here in SD and have a snagging and an archery season for them. I've caught a couple trolling crankbaits for walleyes as an accidental catch. All released. Never tried bowfishing for them but would like to sometime. I see a lot of folks trying it down below Gavins Point Dam. I have eaten paddlefish a few times, a firmer meat, similar to halibut maybe. The roe is considered a delicacy and is quite valuable. I've not tried it but those I know who have brined their own roe have been big fans. I believe it to be illegal to sell paddlefish roe without special permits.