Categorized | Opinion

Cool Nights Get the Fish Biting

By Josh Gowan

Seventy-seven-year old Dean Linhart from East Prairie, Mo., poses with a big blue catfish.

Seventy-seven-year old Dean Linhart from East Prairie, Mo., poses with a big blue catfish.

I could certainly get used to these 60 degree nights! I’m not sure when the last “early fall” was, but according to the extended forecast the cool nights are here to stay! The fishing reports have started pouring in, and I attended a great event this weekend, so let’s get to it.
The 15th annual Fatherhood First fishing event was held at Combs Lake in Kennett, Mo.
The MBRC, or Missouri Bootheel Regional Consortium, was the primary force behind this event, but it could not have happened without Dunklin County Conservation Agent Eric Heuring, whose been involved for the last 10 years, along with his band of helpers. Aside from the MBRC, there were Conservation Agents from five bootheel counties, along with supervisor Trent Lane, the Corp of Engineers, the National Guard, several divisions of the MDC, the Quality Deer Management Association and more. An archery range for the kids was hosted by Pemiscot County Conservation Agent Brian Sheldon and David Mosby, president of the QDMA from Green Outdoors in Kennett. Fisheries biologist Salvador Mondragon is in charge of Combs Lake, and was there identifying fish for the kids.
I know this is a big list of people for a bootheel event, but with over 500 people attending, everyone stayed very busy! The MDC had two of their boats there and were giving boat rides. It was impossible to know how many kids caught their first fish or had their first boat ride, but it was a lot! Every kid in attendance received a t-shirt and a new fishing pole, around 300 total!
They moved around 180 kids through the archery portion of the event, almost all shooting a bow for their first time! Everyone was fed and I can’t put a number on the smiling faces I saw, both from the attendees and the volunteers! Conservation Agent Eric Heuring said “I just can’t emphasize how important it is to the department to introduce kids to fishing and archery and get them out enjoying the outdoors and taking an active role in conservation. Hopefully the kids participating with their parents will build on something they can continue to do in the future.” I couldn’t agree more.
I spent the morning walking the bank and assisting the anglers any way I could, mostly by tying on tackle, untangling lines, and baiting hooks.
There are very few things in life as enjoyable as seeing a child’s face as they reel in their first fish! All the agencies involved did an outstanding job, and it’s nice to see some tax dollars doing something worthwhile for a change!
The catfish on the Mississippi River have not slowed down a bit. Now that the river is back on the fall and the muddy water has cleared up a bit, fishermen up and down the river are catching catfish from deep holes to shallow sandbars.
One thing that has changed over the past week, is that the backwater holes behind the levee are finally turning out some good crappie. The river got back up and fell fast, which may have replenished the holes. On the other hand, the fish may have been there all along, and this cool weather is doing the same thing to those fish that it’s doing to the fish in the area lakes.
For the past few weeks I’ve been getting more and more reports of crappie being caught at Reelfoot.
Reelfoot is generally very tough in the summer, but the cool nights are turning the fish on earlier than usual. I’ll be over there in a few weeks to see for myself. The catfishing is unbelievable right now. I saw a picture with Jeff Riddle with enough catfish to feed an NFL team!
Dove season is just a few weeks away, and my wife is adamant about me bringing home a limit of delicious little symbols of peace! What kind of husband would I be if I didn’t do my best to make her happy! Hopefully we’ll have some crops out down here so we’ll have something to hunt!
I’m always in need of pictures or event information, just email me at
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine,

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August 2013
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