Conservation Update by Norman Steelman
Crappie fishing as well as other fishing with warmer weather will be picking up shortly. We have several area lakes around which are good for fishing. In the City of Mexico, Lakeview Lake, Teal Lake, and Kiwanis Lake in Plunket Park are good fisheries which all have different regulations. Lakeview Lake’s regulations are: Crappie-30 fish; Catfish (channel, blue, and flathead combined)-4 fish; Black Bass-6 fish (release 12” to 15”); all other species combined 20 fish. Teal Lake regulations: Crappie-30 fish; Catfish (channel, blue, and flathead combined)-4 fish; Black Bass-2 fish (release under 20”); all other species combined 20 fish. Kiwanis Lake (Plunket Park) regulations: Trout- 4 fish (Feb 1st-Oct 31st); Trout- Catch and release only November 1st through January 31st. Fishing lures restricted to flies, artificial lures and unscented soft plastic baits only. Crappie-30 fish; Catfish (channel, blue, and flathead combined)-4 fish; Black Bass-6 fish (release 12” to 15”); all other species combined 20 fish.
Other Audrain County lakes worth visiting and their regulations are as follows: White Conservation Area; Crappie-30 fish; Catfish (channel, blue, and flathead combined)-4 fish; Black Bass-6 fish (release 12” to 15”); all other species combined 20 fish (statewide limits apply). The regulations for Diggs Conservation area are: Crappie-30 fish; Catfish (channel, blue, and flathead combined)-4 fish; Black Bass-6 fish (release 12” to 15”); all other species combined 20 fish (statewide limits apply). On Vandalia Lake regulations are: Catfish (channel, blue, and flathead combined)-4 fish; Black Bass-6 fish (release 15”); all other species combined 20 fish (statewide limits apply). Remember if you are going to a Missouri Department of Conservation area or a large reservoir, please look for regulations prior to fishing.
Many people will go to large lakes to fish for crappie. Mark Twain Lake has a limit of 15 crappie daily. Lake of the Ozarks has a limit of 15 and a length limit of nine inches. Due to differences in regulations from area to area if you are going fishing at Missouri Department of Conservation area or on a large body of water please check the regulations for the lake or stream prior to fishing.
Along with the warmer weather getting the fish to bite, morel mushrooms start sprouting up in the woods as well. There are many theories on how to find the elusive tasty fungi, but the best advice I can give is simply just get out and look for them. Remember; do not trespass while looking for mushrooms. Mushrooms, nuts, berries, fruits, and edible wild greens may be harvested from MDC areas for personal use only and may not be sold, unless prohibited by signage or other form. Also, if you do not know what mushrooms are eatable and which ones are non-eatable, please learn how to distinguish them as non-eatable mushrooms can be poisonous. Please make sure you do not have a false morel prior to eating the mushroom. An online list of eatable mushrooms can be found at http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/outdoor-recreation/mushrooming/edible-mushrooms. Other mushrooming advice on poisonous mushrooms and tips are also offered.
Mushrooms can be prepared several ways, but the most common is frying in a cracker type breading. It is important to cook mushrooms as even morels can toxins when eaten uncooked. If you’re trying one for the first time, eat only a few (cooked) bites, and save a raw specimen in the fridge for 48 hour and do not mix mushrooms as well on the first time. This will be helpful if it turns out you’re allergic or sensitive to it—or if you’ve made a mistake. Good luck on the hunt and enjoy the feast!
Nuisance wildlife, whether it is raccoons, skunks, foxes, or any other type of animal will sometimes find its way into our backyards, garages, trash cans or even attics. In the spring, this is common with wildlife looking for a place to raise young. These areas will usually be a place where the animal feels safe and may not be noticed for a while. For raccoons, this can be an old houses attic or garage. Other animals such as skunks burrow to have their young. Common places where a skunk may have young around a house are underneath concrete porches, crawl spaces, or other enclosed areas. Other wildlife can become problematic with baring young as well such as groundhogs, bats, and opossums. If you happen to have a problematic wildlife problem, feel free to give me a call and I will try to give some advice to help remove the problem. Sometimes repellents can be used, but commonly live trapping and removal is the only option at the time to remove the problem. The other issue is to repair the damage done by the entry and residence of the animal.
If young or injured wildlife is found in the wild, please leave it in the wild. If it is young wildlife, commonly the mother is not too far from the young wildlife and will be back soon. Please leave such wildlife alone. If the wildlife is picked up, then it is removed from the best care it can receive and many times the only care which may be able to keep it alive. It is the same penalty to take young wildlife out of the wild to raise them as it is to kill them illegally. Once wildlife has imprinted onto humans it cannot be released back into the wild without a dependence on humans. If something does not seem right with the wildlife, please call your local conservation agent or office so the animal can be assessed. If you have any wildlife related questions or information, please call me, Norman Steelman Audrain County Conservation Agent at 573-473-8000. You may also call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-392-1111 if you have information regarding a violation of the Missouri Wildlife Code. You may remain anonymous, and you may ask to be considered for a reward if you wish.