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Iowa DNR accepting comments on proposed catfish regulations and paddlefish licensing changes on the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers

  • 1/26/2021 12:05:00 PM
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DES MOINES - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting comments on proposed changes to catfish bag and length limits and paddlefish licensing on the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers, through Feb. 15. 

Proposed changes include establishing a daily bag limit of 10 channel catfish, five flathead catfish (only 1 > 30”), and one blue catfish in the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers to align Iowa’s regulations with Nebraska’s and South Dakota’s regulations; and including reciprocity language should Nebraska establish a Missouri River Paddlefish snagging season. 

Currently, Iowa has a daily combined bag limit of 15 catfish (channel, flathead or blue) with no length limits in Iowa’s portion of the Missouri and Big Sioux border rivers, which is different from Nebraska’s and South Dakota’s regulations. Paddlefish snagging is only allowed in Iowa’s portion of the Missouri River. Some sections of the Missouri River are entirely in Iowa or Nebraska, which is confusing to anglers and creates challenges for law enforcement on both sides of the river.

The proposed rule change would make catfish regulations and state boundary regulations less confusing to anglers who fish the Missouri and Big Sioux border rivers and easier to enforce. South Dakota recently changed its catfish regulations to align with Nebraska’s.  

If approved, the proposed regulation changes will go in effect  Jan. 1, 2022.

Comments on the proposed regulation changes may be submitted through Feb. 15 via email to, or by mail to Joe Larscheid, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Wallace State Office Building, 502 East Ninth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034.