Missouri River flooding good for the fish

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 15th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

While the flooding on the Missouri River has caused a lot of headaches for the people living there, an expert with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it looks like its going to be a good thing for the animals that live in the river. Southwest Iowa fisheries supervisor, Chris Larson, says the flooding is having a major impact on the habitat.

“It’s kind of a biological payday for us in fisheries because the fish have been restricted to the channel for almost 57 years, and now they have this huge expanse of area to live and reproduce and grow and things like that,” Larson explains. Larson says there was an effort to improve the habitat before the flooding, and this is an extra benefit.

He says they obviously did not want to see the river flood to such extent that it damaged human property and lives, but he says there will be a small benefit from shallow habitat areas created that weren’t here before. He says the floodwaters are teaming with life.

Larson says crews have been doing some sampling and they are seeing “young of year” fish species all over the flood plain that they have not seen in the past, especially above Omaha where the river has rarely been out of its banks. He says they are seeing “paddlefish and saugers and blue suckers and all different kinds of species that’re taking advantage of the smorgasbord of food that’s left out there for ‘em.”

Larson says there should be a wealth of good new fishing in the area after the floodwaters finally recede Larson says he can’t think of any fish species that have not been found in the floodplain in their limited sampling. The floodwaters are expecting to continue recede through the month of August.

(Radio Iowa)