Paddlefish from Oklahoma

New state policies for 2014 from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for paddlefish likewise called spoonbill, set day-to-day limits to one fish per angler on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Any paddlefish caught on a Mondays or Fridays need to be launched quickly and can not be in the angler’s possession in the field. The yearly limitation in Oklahoma is now 2 paddlefish per fishermen.

Paddlefish from Oklahoma
Paddlefish Caught in Oklahoma

“We went through a public comment period on our web site before the policies changed and we got naturally pros and cons remarks back. We sort of expected a little push back,”Paddlefish Research Center (PRC) biologist Jason Schooley stated.

The policies changed from the 2013 policies enabling fishermens to keep one fish daily five days a week year round. These brand-new regulations followed six years of data collection and analysis by wildlife biologists who concluded these harvest limits are the very best for long-lasting management of the types in Oklahoma.

“We do abundance estimates on Grand Lake and the Neosho River,” Schooley stated. “We’ve known since 2004 that we had a population explosion because of the outstanding recruitment in 1999. That was basically the infant boom of paddlefish that has actually afforded really substantial angling and high harvest rates.”.

Since the PRC biologists started extensive study of paddlefish in this location in 2003, researchers have not discovered as extensive a population in the waters of Oklahoma.

“With high harvest and low recruitment we’re seeing population decline and therefore before it reaches an overfishing circumstance we needed to moderate harvest by putting in an annual restriction,” Schooley said.

According to Schooley, a bulk of anglers won’t be impacted by the new limit changes as 83 percent of paddlefish fishermens keep 2 or less fish each year.

“We did experience throughout 2008 to 2013 around a 67 percent population decrease,” Schooley said.

PRC analysts use the fishermens harvest to collect data and are out studying the fish all year, not simply March and April when the fish generate and move up river.

In Oklahoma when a paddlefish is captured the fishermen has to stop fishing/snagging for the day and report the harvest within 24 hours utilizing the online E-Check system or take the fish to the Paddlefish Research Center at 61091 East 120 Road in Miami, 4 miles north of Twin Bridges State Park open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Wildlife Department employees will get live paddlefish from the banks and boat fishermens at Grand Lake and certain choice up areas by calling the PRC at 918-542-9422.

“We are managing paddlefish state-wide, so although we have a blue ribbon fishery in Grand Lake we need to consider state-wide ramifications,” Schooley said. “That’s some of the things we thought of when we craft these regulations.

“That’s the value of the E-Check, that’s a device that lets us find out more about the harvest across the state. Our supreme goal is to be able to position harvest regulations within each stock.”.

If a banded paddle fish is collected fishermens can report the band during the E-Check process, or if the fish is launched can be reported at or by calling the PRC.

The PRC biologists gather essential biological information for paddlefish management, process paddlefish meat for fishermens and salvage paddlefish eggs. The PRC likewise acts as the hub for statewide paddlefish management and research activities.

A boost in using sonar innovation and information on staging areas triggered greater vulnerability to groups of paddlefish staging to generate by anglers using watercrafts with several rods per fishermen. It is now forbidden to snag for paddlefish with more than one rod and reel while fishing from a watercraft.

“Some fishermens would drag numerous hooks through the water,” Schooley said.

Local and non-resident paddlefish anglers should have both a paddlefish permit and fishing license. Free paddlefish fishing permits are available at, at local fishing license dealers, or any Wildlife Department office in the state.

When snagging for paddlefish, anglers are enabled just one single hook or one treble hook. Fishermens should stop snagging when a paddlefish is kept and the fish needs to be labeled with the fishermen’s paddlefish permit number.

The regulations state that no individual can have eggs (connected to the egg membrane) of more than one paddlefish or even more than 3 pounds of processed paddlefish eggs or fresh paddlefish eggs gotten rid of from the membrane. Processed eggs are any eggs taken from a paddlefish that have actually gone through a process that turns the eggs into caviar or into a caviar-like item.

“The caviar sales supply funds for study, however we’ve revealed when we built this facility, even when we were back in trailers, we can not count on this income as a line product in the spending plan,” he stated. “We can not simply exploit paddlefish for a dollar figure. The caviar can be a result of a well handled fishery.”

Our Paddlefish Caviar
Our Paddlefish Caviar

Schooley said the late winter has likewise impacted the paddlefish harvest this year.

“No one’s been able to capture a fish at the Miami park so far,” he said.

Grand Lake and the Neosho River are probably the most fished waters for paddlefish in the state, but Schooley stated the majority of the tanks in Oklahoma are well stocked with paddlefish.

“A lot of the anglers here recognize with us and of course they have in mind we are protecting the fish so they can fish them for eternity, so they comprehend and are generally extremely supportive of exactly what we are doing,” Schooley stated.