Outdoors notebook: Blue cats, channel cats will be legal for noodlers

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that makes it legal for noodlers, or hand fishermen, to keep blue cats and channel cats in addition to flathead catfish. The law takes effect Nov. 1.
by Ed Godfrey Published: April 20, 2013
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photo - Noodlers in Oklahoma will be able to catch blue cats and channel cats in addition to flatheads next summer, but few noodlers want to mess with a blue cat. Photo from The Oklahoman Archives  ZACH GRAY
Noodlers in Oklahoma will be able to catch blue cats and channel cats in addition to flatheads next summer, but few noodlers want to mess with a blue cat. Photo from The Oklahoman Archives ZACH GRAY

Noodlers will be able to go after channel catfish and blue catfish next year along with flatheads.

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that makes it legal for noodlers, or hand fishermen, to keep blue cats and channel cats in addition to flathead catfish. The law takes effect Nov. 1.

Whether noodlers actively will search for blue cats, however, is another story.

Blue cats are known for having a sharper bite than flatheads, and many noodlers who have snatched them in past have expressed regret.

“Compared to a dog, a blue cat is a pit bull and a flathead is a poodle,” said Skipper Bivens, who is from Temple and is the star of the Hillybilly Handfishing television show.

Most noodlers are able to snatch catfish during spawning season when the males are guarding the nests. But there is a difference in the bite of a blue cat and a flathead.

“If they catch a blue cat, they will pay for it,” said Robert Fleenor, head of the law enforcement division for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

WHAT'S THE ODDS TO WIN A HUNT?

Sportsmen have through May 15 to apply for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's controlled hunts.

Hunters must apply online at http://wildlifedepartment.com. Elk, deer, antelope and turkey hunts are offered.

Based on 2011 data, the overall odds of getting drawn for the coveted hunts are as follows:

Continue reading this story on the...

by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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