River Flatheads

Discussion in 'Fishing General' started by letemgrow, May 29, 2020.

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  1. MJM

    MJM New Member

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    Just a thought, maybe release the bigger ones now so your boy has some to catch in the future.
     
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  3. JNRBRONC

    JNRBRONC Moderator

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    Someday, I need to run some bank lines. I have never caught/ate a flathead. Is there a size that is better to eat? For channel cats, I prefer 1-3 pounders.


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  4. letemgrow

    letemgrow PMA Member

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    I don’t notice a difference in taste with flatheads. They’re all delicious and flaky like Cod or Walleye. I pan fry the steaks and use country bobs sauce as my go to seasoned with salt/pepper/garlic and onion powder.


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  5. muddy

    muddy Administrator

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    You ever wanna run some locally let me know, I remember where we shocked the big boys up.
     
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  6. JNRBRONC

    JNRBRONC Moderator

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    I was thinking the Cedar River, but it can be tough to navigate a boat through the shallow spots. The Iowa might be better.
     
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  7. muddy

    muddy Administrator

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    I'll bet you $5 that if we have enough beers it wont matter if we hit a shallow spot!
     
  8. jkratz5

    jkratz5 Super Moderator

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    Haven’t commented in awhile but Giants!!!!!! Congrats on the 52lber
     
  9. letemgrow

    letemgrow PMA Member

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    I look at them as the grizzly bear of the river for a few reasons.

    1. Grizzlies eat younger grizzlies, same with flatheads.
    2. They both gorge in spring/fall for upcoming hibernation.
    3. The apex predators of their habitats.
    4. Gluttons.
    5. Territorial.
    6. Same life span.

    When I add all those items up, it makes more sense to me to keep the 50# fish that are 10+ years old with a max life of ~20 years. Leave the 10-20# fish to take their place.

    There’s a reason why Alaska for instance wants the mature bears (40+# flats) harvested instead of the young bears (5-20# flats).... If anything there should be a size limit on what’s kept and fewer fish for the daily limit with anything over a certain size legal. It’s 5 flats a day here in KS. Which seems really high to me, but obviously it’s because not that many people put a dent in their pop.

    One study I read by K-state said people harvest about 10% of the pop every year.

    My kid can catch the 20# flat in 3 more years when it’s 35....


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    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
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  10. tmule88

    tmule88 Member

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    Nice fish!

    I do a lot of bank pole fishing in SE Iowa. We had a really good year catching several blues and flats over that 50 lb. mark. blue.jpg flat.jpg flat2.jpg
     
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  11. tmule88

    tmule88 Member

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    In 2017 I caught a 41" long flathead weighing just over 40 lbs. that was tagged by the Missouri DNR. After calling it in I discovered that they tagged it 9 years prior at 19" long 42 miles down river of where I caught it. It blew me away that how far these fish travel and also the growth rate/age of these fish. This was a cool experience I thought I would share.

    tag.jpg tag2.jpg
     
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  12. letemgrow

    letemgrow PMA Member

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    That’s great info to know. Another reason they’re like a grizzly bear...the miles they cover.


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  13. JNRBRONC

    JNRBRONC Moderator

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    Nice pics Tmule! Looks like that tag reads "reward$25". Did you get it?

    I don't have much problem with people keeping a few fish. I do wince when people hand fish a female off her nest. Probably only takes a couple successful nests to keep the population stable though.
     
  14. tmule88

    tmule88 Member

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    Yes I did get the $25 reward. I should also mention that fish had to come through 2 different dams and up multiply tributaries to make it to where I caught it.
     
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  15. Swampy_44

    Swampy_44 Member

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    Big flatheads are territorial? I mean to each there own. You dont need to justify the fish you keep to eat to anyone for that matter. But is that the real reason or no? For me, there's no bigger thrill than watching people in my boat pull in a giant fish. I personally have too much respect for that fish to chop its head off. I keep some fish under 20lbs, enough for some meat over the winter and some fish frys over the summer. I agree age and size doesent matter on flattys. They all taste well. Me personally I have too much respect for a fish that size and age to kill. I run lines alot, probably alot more than the average bank liner. So that also allows to me pick and choose what I clean and what I dont. Fish that big just remind me of a dinosaur, I have too much respect.
     
  16. Elvis188

    Elvis188 PMA Member

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    Just curious if you apply the same logic to hunting whitetails?:p:D;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  17. Swampy_44

    Swampy_44 Member

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    Well considering I rarely/never shoot big deer, so ya got me there. It's also very hard to catch and release deer.
     
  18. JNRBRONC

    JNRBRONC Moderator

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    This is a good discussion that I'm following, as I could go either way with a big fish. Glad people are keeping things civil.

    On the big fish, looks like they could easily be 10+ years old. Deer rarely get that old. With fish, part of the allure to me is you never know what is lurking below the surface of the water. There could be many fish there. Big deer, you might see one in the area but there probably isn't going to be many. Better cash in on that big deer if you get the chance.

    As to the age of the big flattys, I quit killing snapping turtles because I felt it was a waste to kill something that might be decades old for just a few meals. Also, I HATED cleaning them, so that was big part of not wanting to kill a snapper. I gave some away, but that got to be a hassle so I just stopped.

    I wonder how much contaminants build up in the old fish? Supposedly, the contaminants build up in apex predator fish over time, accumulating in their fat reserves. Again, I've never caught a flathead so don't know how fatty/oily they are, sounds like they aren't. I think the water quality of our rivers in Iowa is suspect. Mostly "just" agricultural chemicals, so not like the mercury issue that was a problem in the Great Lakes due to burning of coal to generate electricity. A person is probably not making a steady diet of flathead, so an occasional meal shouldn't cause problems.
     
  19. 150 Class

    150 Class Moderator

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    I would challenge you to ask that to a bass or musky fisherman. Apples and oranges.
     
  20. Elvis188

    Elvis188 PMA Member

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    It was a joke. Lighten up guys!!:p:D We are on a whitetail site!!
     
  21. letemgrow

    letemgrow PMA Member

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    For me I don’t see a reason to throw back a 15 year old flathead when 20-25 is a top age for them. I’d rather throw back a 5 year old fish with a lot of life left.

    It’s the same reason I shoot older bucks instead of younger bucks, or harvest larger black walnuts instead of those just big enough to market.


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