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Would you support making the Flathead(Shovelhead) catfish a gamefish

  • Yes

    Votes: 24 88.9%
  • No

    Votes: 2 7.4%
  • I am undecided

    Votes: 1 3.7%

Flathead Catfish needs your help

9505 Views 145 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  atrkyhntr
As I am sure some of you are already aware, there are people that are trying to get the Flathead (Shovelhead( Catfish some protection by getting it gamefish status. There are areas in the Ohio River and other rivers across the country where the populations of this Trophy fish are being decimated by commercial fishing using a variety of different types of netting methonds. How long will it be before this species goes the way of the Sturgeon, I myself have never seen a Sturgeon in the wild, I don't want our children or grandchildren to say the samething about the Flathead. These great fish are not being hunted for food, a vast majority of them are being sold live to private paylakes across the nation where they eventually die of stress, in alot of cases these lakes amount to nothing more than ponds. These lakes were are not suited for these large fish in so great of numbers ... Many are being kept alive in the summer months by aerators because the lake cannot maintain an effecient amount of oxygen naturally.
We are in no way asking for a ban on keeping these fish for food, we are simply attempting to get the Flathead catfish classified as a game fish, offering it the same protection as many of the fish you already fish for.
Even if you are not a fishermen, I would appreciate it if you would take the time to vote .. Could you imagine how you would feel if some companies started capturing our deer and other wildlife only to be sold to ranches where they were killed for money?
This poll is simply to get a feel for the amount of support out there, your opinion is needed and respected no matter how you vote. It would be greatly appreciated if you have any suggestions or comments that you post them here, it would give great insight into the feelings of other fisherman on the subject

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I'm sure the stores too

FHM has buddies at his favorite tackle shop, I'm sure BPS would put one out here at their Outdoor World.
Only makes good business sense for them too. No fish, no tackle sales.
cant believe

that Jacks poll on the GFO got 4 NO'S?????:confused:
What are peoples problems, are they just doing it to be funny? cause it is'nt funny at all...and none of them will voice thier opinions WHY to vote no! Maybe we have guys comerical fishing among us?
Has anyone set back and noted the guys who have VOICED thier opinion and voted YES...and have you also noted the guys who are always on-line that havent spoken a word on these threads yet?hmmmm
How some can say they are CATMEN is beyound me!

If i had a few copys of a petition in my hand, i could get it posted up in Fishermans TODAY and they would help push to get it filled..plus i know i could get one filled myself with guys i know all around this area...just say the word!
Re: cant believe

Has anyone set back and noted the guys who have VOICED thier opinion and voted YES...and have you also noted the guys who are always on-line that havent spoken a word on these threads yet?hmmmm
How some can say they are CATMEN is beyound me!

maniac im prety much a quite person i usually dont have a whole lot to say i just like to read a lot and try and learn a little about flatheads. i did vote yes and i will support the best that i can . i think your last post was out of line . i think your pointing fingers in the wrong direction, just because someone has not posted yet does not mean they do not support this cause.
Yes Scott I have noticed that there is some prominent Catmen who have said nothing on this topic:confused:

Guys........Your plan wont get off the ground without well laid plans and having your "ducks in a row" so to speak........I know some of you have been researching the Flathead topic with little luck...........And I also see where some comments have been made as to why some of the Catmen have no comment...................First thing I would like to know is: What kind of limits are imposed on the Netters, How many Cats can they take per day per guy?..........Are they netting for table fare and just keeping the incidental Flats? The ODNR MUST be checking their Creels from time to time.......They have to be.

I personally would like to see the Flat be protected...........for sure, along with the Big Blues as well........

What I dont see on this thread or others is anyone complaining prior to this about not being able to catch any BIG flats or Blues in the Ohio.............seems to me that most of the River guys kickbutt from what I see.................I realize that you guys are looking to the future as well............My main question is "Do they have Limits as to what they can take" ..........IF yes, then Perhaps Mother Nature is keeping up with the Netters quite well.....PLEASE DONT MISUNDERSTAND ME: I THINK NETTING STINKS MYSELF !!!!! My point is perhaps another approach would be to gather all facts first and maybe look at slot limits etc.........Another point to consider is other states, they can un-do what you work so hard for in a short time..Its a LONG river........Let me get my Helmet on quick b4 some of you jump Me :D :D :D
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Here's the thing

There are more & more commercial fishermen every year. Now they are fishing longer & more areas than before.
I know alot of guy who will support catfish becoming gamefish who don't have computers. Not everyone is "hooked" on messageboards like some of US.....
Takes me alot of time to check the several I do go to each day. Hard to find time to fish !
Here's an interesting idea. I got a survey from somewhere- Ohio State college I think. They followed up when I didn't send it back. It was a survey the Ohio Dept of Waterways commisioned about boating. Had alot of questions about ramps, use of water, etc. Horsepower restrictions....you know it's under consideration to change 10HP limit lakes to unlimited- but with a low speed limit so all boaters can use all lakes. Also you could write in stuff, like I did about how docks shouldn't be at the ramps where people can block the ramps docked to them & have people prep away from the ramps, etc.

Anyway, my point is that maybe the DNR would be convinced rather easy make a survey or something.
I guess somewhere there would have to be big farms for raising big cats for the paylakes, they will have to have an option to continue in business. Their would have to be restrictions on where they get their fish( farm raised only), or they will get them from out of state netters. I would guess that the same farms that raise cats for the food industry could just let them grow larger for the paylakes. Of course, I'd like to see them have farm raised cats for eaters & let folks catch their own big fish in the wild or with guides. I really believe it could start a whole industry on the Ohio River.
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Wise 1

We both posted about the same time, in response I would have to reply. Personally I had a banner year in the fall on big cats. so did my fishing buddy. The vast majority of the seasoned veterans on the river, guides, etc DID NOT. Until September there was hardly any fish over 20# caught.
Part of the blame questioned is did the coal slude spill in W.VA have an effect? Most think yes ( that was in fall of 2001 I think) Maybe it killed some fish duing the winter buried in the mud or something. Now suddenly, there are nets in one of the areas I fish. Since it's winter, they must be targeting the blues. Catch them in IN and sell them to Ohio paylakes? You can't keep blues in OH now, but you can have them in paylakes? Makes no sense.
I think once the ball gets rolling, it wil pick up steam & the final bill that's passed will hopefully have the necessary provisions.
First thing first- make cats a gamefish, no more netting of them, have limits on numbers and maybe a size limit to one Flathead harvested per day over 30" Maybe something like the bass and walleye regulations. They can have 6 walleye, saugeye, sauger combined total of 6, same with bass, smallies, LM & spotted. Stripers, muskies, all have limits. Shouldn't be a big problem.
Actually I think IN has a 10 catfish limit in place for the anglers.
That would protect those smaller streams could be wiped out quickly by alot of pressure. Like Jack was saying, the commercial guys stay mostly in the river, but he's said some trotliners wiper out some of his stomping grounds in the past.
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that Jacks poll on the GFO got 4 NO'S?????
I thought this was Ohio Sportsman, why don't those who want to read GFO go there & post. Do we have to have a quote & link from there everyday ?

Let's just get this Catfish are Gamefish regulation passed instead of finger pointing.
For some reason, Ohio (and specifically southwestern Ohio) holds a major concentration of paylakes, probably more per area than any other region of the US (at least for catfish). This is a booming business and the reason why the increase in commercial fishing is occuring. In just the past few years, a lot more paylakes have started up, and all the ones I know of stock lots of big flatheads and blues. 10 or 15 years ago, the size of a respectable flathead from a paylake was usually 20 or 25 pounds. You didn't see the 30's, 40's, 50's, etc. like you do today, and you never saw bluecats. Paylaking has followed the overall trend in increasing popularity of catfish, and people want more of a chance at catching the large fish. Because of this, the commercial fishing that occurs on the Ohio River is different from that which occurs most other places -- these fish aren't harvested as food sources like so many places in the South. They're transplanted from their natural habitat into these artificial ponds.

Now, I don't want this to sound like an attack on paylakes. I fished paylakes for a few years, which is why I know so much about what goes on there. They provide a service to a large group of people. The problem is what once had nothing more than a cult following has grown into a major business. The original idea of a paylake -- a place where someone can come to catch a few fish, usually for the table (trout, channel catfish, etc) has changed into a "trophy" fishery, where fishermen catch fish for money, and sometimes lots of $$, and this change in philosophy is what has created many of our problems here in Ohio.

The demand for large catfish is so great that many lakes have turned to other sources for their giant cats. As the sting operation that was released last year showed, many paylakes have resorted to buying fish illegaly from people who catch them from our local lakes and rivers, so now not only is the Ohio River affected, but all of our waterways are. Many lake owners have turned to commercial fishing from other states like Arkansas and Tennessee to supplement their stocks from the Ohio River. This is in part because they receive blue cats and larger flatheads from these waters, but also because it's getting more difficult to obtain all the fish they need from the Ohio River alone. I know a few people who commercial fish for paylakes, and they keep every catfish they catch, no matter what size. They stock their own lake with the choice fish, then sell the rest to surrounding lakes.

Just a little info. I wanted to post regarding the reasons for commercial fishing and why the problem is becoming more and more important.
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10-4 Mrfish.........

Ive have always been an Analytical one..........I like to gather as much info as possible and then proceed, Im not an Ohio River fisherman, so I just do not have enough facts to post up what I think "we " as a group should attempt to make happen.....................Never go off halfcocked right? :D :D Keeps your boot outta your mouth.

I think the goal is attainable, and I would agree that the first goal should be making a Flathead Cat a game fish in Ohio......................( KY and Indiana would have to follow as well ) .........Then a limit on what a guy as a Netter could keep would / should help the populations.............

My fishing club grows its own trophies, thats why we have strict rules about handling fish by the gills etc, we dont take Blues outta the nets any more to protect them... Our fish breed niceley and eat like kings ( we stock Shad ) ...Its neat seeing a swarm of baby cats under a dock in the lake.......and we have Zero bullheads in our Lake..we have had members bring us fish from Catfish Paradise etc...we say NO THANKS.......they end up dead anyway.....

So, Im with ya................
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I was just checking, it was the Ohio Sea Grant Collerge Program who's name is on the survey from Ohio State University
Maybe we could write them too ?
CW- great post. and you're right about paylakes. They fill a void, only there's a change now. The contests have even tempted me, I know 2 guys who make some good money fishing them. They shoot for those big jackpots. He said some of those guys get mad when he leaves with several thousand dollars of their money !
I voted yes..

..as y'all know I'm a carper and this is exactly what the C.A.G (Carp Angler's Group) is trying to do with the carp...in all states. Publicity is the key...along with the petition...but getting a "National" presence...ie organization...or at least a "State" Organization going goes a long ways towards helping your cause.

Next is public education.....through publisized get togethers and tournaments/fun fishing events. Patches, T-shirts, hats etc. Chose venues out in the public eye....put flyers up in tackle stores etc.

Submit articles to newspapers, fishing mags etc.

A petition is a good start...but a "membered" organization consisting of those that sign the petition goes a long ways. Politicians know petitions go away....a club is more "durable" and in it for the long haul.

Anywho...just some thoughts out loud...what you are trying to do is the same thing we in C.A.G are doing...you don't hear me pushing membership...but, that's my secondary goal...the primary is just to get people to have fun catching them and to start viewing them the same ways that bass, walleye etc are viewed. Popularity is what makes it all happen. No quick fix sorry to say....but progress is being made.
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As far as I have been able to tell, the Flathead is listed as a commercial fish ... There are NO creel or size limits imposed on it that I can find ... Since there are no limits it is very likely that there are not many records... As far as catmen not posting a reply or voting in this thread or the one in gfo .. that is their business and I respect that ... the poll on these threads don't count for anything .. when it comes to signing a real petition I am sure most will sign... I posted this thread offering anyone that vote no the opportunity to post why WITHOUT getting flamed.... You have to remember that there are always going to be people that will vote no or refuse to sign ... Instead of getting mad, we need to find out what it is about our presentation that isn't reaching them .. if indeed they can be reached.... If they choose not to vote or to vote no that is up to the individual they should not be attacked for feeling the way they feel... I would like to know why someone would vote no myself .. but not to get mad or start a debate, but to learn what we are up against... If anyone that has voted no want to PM me, and give a reason why .. I assure you that I will not mention any names publicly or privately.. This thread was intended to gather information only, no one should be pointed out or attacked for feeling differently...

I totally agree that we first need to get as much information as we can, I mentioned that in the first thread .. the last thing we want is to be uninfored or even worse .. misinformed when confronted with petition in hand...

Right now it would appear that the flathead population is healthy because of the posts of some of the catmen .. there pics and stories are well know ... but remember how few cats were taken this summer ... only in the last month or so of decent weather fishing were hardly any cats over 30lbs taken from the Ohio ... Some of its tributaries have consistantly given up big cats through the summer, but remember these tributaries are not commercially fished ... It is my opinion that if you wait for the numbers to show a noticeable decline .. then you have waited too long, the recovery period for a 20 to 50 lb fishery might be 15 to 20 years ....
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Guys I am not in the cat catching brotherhood... But when I read that a club may be needed then I can see that we need to set our ears back and straighten up... That may well be the only way this can become a reality...
I'd join and offer to make the website too.... all we need to do is ensure this club is non-profit and the server I can get for free :D

Now what we need is a name and someone who knows all the 5 W's.... what when where why who
What= are we doing this for
when= can we expect to start taking action
where= is this going
why= are we doing this and getting involved
who= will take the lead

We need a club, that is a fact, this club would need to have an agenda that will atract members. This club must be non-profit for several reasons... The 1st is so that all money donated can qualify as tax deductable and 2nd non-profit is so much easier to show where any and all money has been alloted. Also and this is very special about non-profit... this club can qualify to have mathcing funds and/or grants for studies to verify information one way or another.

Politicians know petitions go away....a club is more "durable" and in it for the long haul.
Well said... We need to find ou twhich politicians votes or are issues that affect the outdoors and fishing in general...

Now if we decide to go this route one word of warning:eek:
This needs to be treated as a conception and everyone who is willing to become involved should remember that the next 9 mos are very crucial and then the infant will be born and brought home to be raised nutured like any newborn, time is not at a premium time is not an option...

Now are there any clubs in Ohio already or even the US for that matter? We may already have something in the works hmnmn :confused:
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There is a National Catfishing Association, and after finally gaining access to their website I discovered that it hasn't been updated since 1999 (http://www.nationalcat.com/NCA.html). And while searching the net, I also discovered that there are a nember of catfish societies already in existence (uscats.com, wwcats.com, etc.) but the bulk of them deal with catfishing tournies, except for the organization in the U.K.

Now, if someone will give me a direction to go in our research, I will do the best I can to dig up whatever info I can find.

Well I see that there is something at the national level but what we need to know about is here in Ohio...
If there is nothing or nothing that looks like we're after or willing to baclk then maybe we should "GULP" take the bait and run with it...

I am asuming that there is noting out there that can help what we're trying to do... There is nothing on the ODNR website that I could find....

WOW after viewing that website and how un-updated it is that alone should send up flairs letting us all know that if your not in something for the longhaul then don't jump in :eek:

Flatheads are fun to catch, They take skill to bring in, And BOY DO THEY GET BIG!!!!:D
I just now read this, wish I had sooner. Why anyone would vote yes is beyond me. Either they are dicken' around or are serious.
Maybe affraid that if a flattie has protection it'll eat up your "true game fish" this is beside the point

I can try to get some info up at OSU between classes. Maybe I can find out who the some of them people are that study in this area and ask them some questions.

If you guys can think of anything I might be able to do with the resources up there, let me know.

FM, have you said anything to Matt about this?

I just wrote them. Here's what I asked. I'm no writer, but I will post the reply when it arrives.:)

My question is about catfish. I would like to know why they aren't classified as a gamefish? It seems I've seen surveys where catfish & bass always are the 2 top targeted species. Bass are protected with a size & creel limit, while OH cats aren't. IN has a 10 catfish limit.
There are commercial fisherman netting the wild cats from the Ohio River & selling them to paylakes. I think it would be much wiser to develope the Ohio River into a great catfishing and striper fishery like SC has done with the Santee Cooper area. Guides and resort areas abound there. We could have the same thing in the Ohio River with the help of KY & IN. No more commercial netting, classify them as a gamefish. No netting of LM & SM bass, or stripers etc, so why allow it with cats? If there was a creel limit ( 8-10 fish) and a limit of one fish over say 30" kept per day we could have a world class fishery.
Marinas, guides, tackle, boat repair, restaurants, motels, etc would all benefit. Especially in small towns hard hit with no industry.
The ODNR would get more money from sales of non-resident licenses & guide licenses to make up for the loss of comercial fishing licenses.
Back to my original question, what would have to be done to get some sort of movement towards classifying them as a gamefish? Petitions? Lawsuits? Could a survey on license forms be issued ?
I belong to several internet fishing forums. There is certainly support to have catfish protected as a gamefish. Apparantly Texas did this a few years ago, and SC has begun a writing campaign to their govenor there. They are removing fish by the barrelful from "our" Ohio River. Also why are bluecats - an endangered species- allowed to be used in paylakes? What about stocking bluecats in out lakes?
I wanted to touch a few bases, and get some input on catfish in Ohio. The ODNR has been doing a good job with the saugeyes, etc. It's time to bring the cats into protection too.
Thank you, Jim
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Good job Jim. I have realized but never actually thought about the fact that the Blues are protected, yet allowed to be used in pay lakes. That doesn't make any sense at all?

Can't wait to read the reply.
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