Iowa anglers purchased nearly 700 special paddlefish licenses for the opportunity to catch the secretive fish in the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers for the first time in 30 years.
The paddlefish season runs from March first to April 15th. A paddlefish license is required for the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers, but not for the Mississippi and Des Moines rivers.
The slot limit requiring the release of all 35- to 45-inch fish protects the primary breeding stock. Most of the fish harvested will likely be below the slot limit. The DNR says firm white flesh of the paddlefish is excellent table fare as long as the red meat near the skin is trimmed off.
All 50 nonresident licenses were sold before the January 31 deadline.