Angler Opinions Regarding Handfishing for Catfish in Missouri

A mail survey was conducted in 2004 to solicit the opinions and attitudes of active resident anglers on the subject of handfishing for catfish in Missouri. Almost 90% of survey respondents had heard of handfishing prior to receiving our survey. However, only about 10% had ever participated in the activity. Anglers were essentially split in their opinions with roughly 33% of anglers in support of, 33% in opposition to, and 34% not having an opinion about allowing handfishing in Missouri. Less than 15% of those surveyed indicated that they would participate in handfishing if legalized in Missouri. However, over 70% of those surveyed that had previously participated in handfishing supported legalizing it in Missouri. Results of this survey indicated that there was not a clear majority for support or opposition to legalizing handfishing in Missouri, and handfishing is an activity that would likely have limited participation if legalized. Results of this survey identified differences among Missouri anglers that will assist policymakers within the Missouri Department of Conservation regarding the future of handfishing in Missouri. Key words: angler survey, catfish, noodling, handfishing, human dimensions, fisheries management

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