HAMBURG, Iowa – Parts of the Missouri river are still closed to boat traffic due to flooding, but relaxed fishing regulations in Iowa have opened up floodwaters to anglers.
Boating restrictions are expected to stay in place until the river is back in its banks, and fishing regulations stay the same for these waters. Regulations will be more lax, however, on isolated pools of water created by the floods as the river returns to its banks. These pockets of water are expected to appear in late September.
“We want people to enjoy the fish that are stranded in these low spots before the water dries up and they die. Relaxing the laws only covers these specific areas that have not shown up yet. The Missouri River is not part of it,” said Chris Larson, fisheries supervisor for the DNR in southwest Iowa.
To be legal, these waters bodies need to be completely isolated from the river and unlikely to be connected to the river during normal flows, must not have existed before the flood, and they must be less than 5 feet in depth if on public land. Anglers will need permission to access water bodies on private land.
“All fishing regulations on the Missouri River remain in place and will be enforced to the extent that the law allows,” Larson said.
These relaxed fishing regulations for isolated water bodies in Missouri River flood plain in Iowa will remain in effect until on or about Nov. 30, .
In these newly created, isolated water bodies, anglers with a valid fishing license will be allowed to harvest any size or number of fish species from these isolated flood waters. Any number of fishing poles, jugs or nets will be allowed. Anglers must remain in sight of these lines at all times, and follow all other fishing regulations and area rules. Trot lines will be allowed (name and address must be attached), however lines may not be set across entire water body and at least one end must be above the water level and visible.
Dynamite, poison, or electric shocking devices, or any stupefying substances will not be allowed. It is illegal to sell fish or stock captured fish into public waters.
If anglers capture a sturgeon fish species the DNR asks that they be returned to the river unharmed and as quickly as possible. Pallid sturgeon is listed as an endangered species in the Missouri River and is protected under federal law.