By Bill Graham
Courtesy of MDC
Kansas City, Mo. – The spring crappie spawn is starting, enabling anglers to more easily catch the popular panfish near shore. Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) biologists are encouraging anglers to harvest a full 30-fish daily limit of crappie at lakes at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area in Lee’s Summit. Crappie reproduce in large numbers and can become overpopulated in small waters.
All of the Reed Area lakes are overpopulated with crappie and provide a good fishing opportunity for anglers as spring unfolds, said Jake Colehour, MDC fisheries management biologist.
“Overpopulation slows growth and results in a lot of smaller fish and not many big fish,” Colehour said. “By harvesting the daily limit, anglers can help reduce the population density and improve the growth and size structure crappie at the Reed Area. This likely means harvesting a lot of fish around 8 inches long or smaller, even if those fish are smaller than you would normally keep.”
MDC’s Reed Area staff are hearing good reports about crappie fishing at Gopher Lake and Catclaw Lake. But nine of the 12 fishing lakes at the area have crappie, and this is a good time of year to catch them.
The Reed Area in Lee’s Summit offers a close-to-home fishing opportunity on the southeast corner of the Kansas City metro area. For information about the area, including maps showing the lakes, roads and parking lots, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZxU.
MDC encourages anglers to practice all safety measures that are recommended by health officials as precautions against the COVID-19 virus. That includes maintaining physical distancing at fishing lakes, parking lots, and hiking trails. Visitors are also asked to pick up all trash or discarded fishing line and place in the trash dumpster near the area entrance.
When anglers visit any MDC fishing lake, they can check bulletin boards in parking lots for special creel and length limits or recommendations that apply for the lake. Information about fishing waters is also available for digital devices through MDC’s free MO Fishing app at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZJZ. To learn more about crappie and catching them in Missouri lakes, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zhk.