Quite the catch: Missouri’s ‘Smallmouth Slam’ now rewarding anglers

Missouri bass anglers can now receive rewards from the Missouri Department of Conservation for catching smallmouth bass as part of the department’s “Smallmouth Slam.”

The MDC and Missouri Smallmouth Alliance are encouraging anglers to travel to 12 designated “Special Management Areas” across the Show-Me State in search of smallmouth bass. The anglers can be rewarded with a certificate, a pin and a medallion from MDC for hitting certain fishing milestones.

The Smallmouth Slam has been divided into three different tiers. 

  • Bronze: Catch a smallmouth from six of the 12 specified fishing areas. Recipients will receive a certificate and bronze pin.
  • Silver: Catch a smallmouth from nine of the 12 specified fishing areas. Recipients will receive a certificate and silver pin.
  • Gold: Catch a smallmouth from all 12 specified fishing areas. Recipients will receive a certificate, gold pin and a medallion.

Any-sized smallmouth bass caught after March 1, 2022 qualifies as a Smallmouth Slam, but any smallmouth under 15 inches must be released back into the waters where it was captured.

“The Missouri Smallmouth Alliance is proud to partner with the MDC on this exciting angler recognition program,” MSA President Augustus Knickmeyer writes in a press release. “We expect many river anglers, both veterans and newcomers to the sport, to actively participate in the Smallmouth Slam.”

The MSA, also known as Stream Team 509, adopts and cleans up fishing accesses, monitors water quality and participates in stream cleanup events. The MSA also encourages Missouri’s anglers to support laws, regulations and practices to improve and conserve Missouri’s Ozarks waterways and native smallmouth. 

Anglers can obtain and complete a Smallmouth Slam form each time they catch a smallmouth bass. They may submit their catch to the MDC website, but aren’t required to make an entry.

Fishing is “incredibly popular” in Missouri, which boasts over 1 million anglers — a lot of them serious bass anglers — says Joe Jerek, spokesperson for the The Missouri Department of Conservation. The Smallmouth Slam is intended to both reward and challenge those anglers, while encouraging them to try new areas to fish.

Missouri’s 12 MDC Special Smallmouth Bass Management Areas are:

  • Big Piney River (From Slabtown Access to the Gasconade River)
  • Big River (From the Council Bluff Lake Dam to the Meramec River)
  • Eleven Point River (From Thomasville Access to the Arkansas Line)
  • Elk River (Entire length on Missouri side)
  • Gasconade River (From Route Y bridge in Pulaski County to Route D bridge in Phelps County)
  • Jacks Fork River (From Highway 17 bridge to the Current River)
  • James River (From Hooten Town bridge to Highway 413/Highway 265 bridge at Galena)
  • Joachim Creek (From Route V bridge to Route A bridge in Jefferson County)
  • Meramec River (From Highway 8 bridge to the railroad crossing at Bird’s Nest access)
  • Mineral Fork (From Route F bridge in Washington County to the Big River)
  • Osage Fork of the Gasconade River (From Skyline Drive bridge near Orla in Laclede County to the Gasconade River)
  • Tenmile Creek (From Route B bridge in Carter County to Cane Creek)

Those interested in learning more about Missouri’s smallmouth bass Special Management Areas can visit the website here.

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