Missouri Approves Fishing With Bare Hands

Missouri Approves Fishing With Bare Hands
Kansas City Star (subscription) – Kansas City,MO,USA

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Next summer, it will be legal to plunge into some Missouri rivers and grab catfish by hand – a type of fishing that is not for the faint of heart.

Known variously as noodling or hogging, handfishing has long been a misdemeanor punishable by fines, because state officials fear it depletes breeding-age catfish. It can also be dangerous: Noodlers hold their breath for long periods under water and sometimes come up with fistfuls of agitated snakes or snapping turtles instead of fish.

That does not discourage enthusiasts, who insist there is great sportsmanship in fishing with your bare hands.

So after years of urging by noodlers, and lopsided legislative support for easing up on handfishers, the Missouri Conservation Commission has approved an experimental handfishing season next summer. Forms of handfishing are already legal in 11 states, including neighboring Oklahoma, Arkansas and Illinois.

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