Catfishing on the Missouri River

  Zach Smith, left, and Jordan Stoner show off a fine Missouri River catfish. Photo by Kenneth Kieser

Zach Smith, left, and Jordan Stoner show off a fine Missouri River catfish. Photo by Kenneth Kieser

This story originally ran in the Independence Examiner newspaper.

By Kenneth Kieser

The Missouri River generally runs like molasses in September. But heavy rains up north sent enough water to create a full pool for this long stretch by St. Josepp – good news for river navigation and even better for catfishing anglers.

Outdoor writers Zach Smith, Brent Frazee and I recently met 23-year-old tournament catfisherman Jordan Stoner in an effort to land big blue catfish on the Missouri. The young guide picked us up in a 16-foot Sea Ark powered by a 300-horsepower Mercury outboard motor, biggest I have seen on a river fishing boat.

The comfortably wide and stable boat was well rigged with heavy rod holders positioned around the bow and stern plus a state of the art Lowrance graph that featured a 19-inch full color screen. Stoner’s rig was a far cry from old wooden jon boats that once hauled commercial fishermen up and down this often-dangerous stretch of constantly flowing currents.

The boat easily navigated moderate swells while Stoner studied his graph where submerged brush and occasional fish images appear. Suddenly he cut back the motor and requested someone drop anchor at his command. He had found the exact amount of brush and fish holding against the west bank.  

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