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Catfish Ohio

Catfishing In Pay Lakes

by Dr. Rob Neumann   |  December 12th, 2012 188

“This is where you’re born and bred to be a paylaker,” says James Reed, proprieter of Catfishermans Paradise in Camden, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. “The Cincinnati area is the heart of it all. Add Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana, and you’re looking at a concentration of about 400 to 500 pay lakes in this region. It’s the capital of the pay lake industry.”

For a ticket price, you can introduce kids to fishing in a setting where it’s all but guaranteed to catch fish—it might be at some establishments. No matter, the snackbar is always open. Or you can spend a day with friends on the bank of a cat pond sharing a few bottles of suds. Someone might win the jackpot or hit the slot. Soak some crawlers and get away from the daily grind. Harvest a few eatin’-size cats for a fish fry. Don’t have a boat to get on a big river, or you want to learn more about catfishing? Lots of reasons folks fish pay lakes.

Years ago, people mostly fished pay lakes to catch catfish for the frying pan. “Today, the face of paylakin’ is changing,” Reed says, “but there’s still a lot of diversity in the industry. But instead of stocking catfish for eating, more pay lakes are moving toward catch-and-release for big fish, and the bigger the better.”

Ryan & Allison Adkins, 55lb Flathead.

Check local outdoor publications and search the Internet and you see pay lake advertisements about great fishing for outsize catfish. Flatheads and blues to 40, 50, 60 pounds and up. One business promises a 100-pounder swimming in their waters. It’s common to see promotions about the thousands, even tens of thousands, of big fish stocked. Paylakin’ is a competitive business.

Reed’s operation has five lakes covering about 25 total acres. Four are trophy lakes stocked with big fish and are catch-and-release. The other is stocked with smaller fish where you can keep what you catch. Like most pay lakes, there’s a snack bar, and bait and tackle is available. Catfishing In Pay Lakes

Typical pay lake ticket prices run about $10 to $15 for 12 hours of fishing. Most pay lakes have contests that anglers can buy in to. If you put an additional buck or two into the “jar” you can win the jackpot if you catch the biggest fish over a particular time period, typically a day or week. The payout varies based on the number of entries and payback percentage.

Tagged fish contests also are popular, as are “slots.” Put a few bucks in the slot jar. If you’re the first to catch a fish in a slot size (slots might be 40 to 45 pounds, 46 to 50 pounds, 70 pounds plus, for example), you win the pot, or a percentage of it. Prize money can range from hundreds to over a thousand dollars. Many pay lakes hold regular weekend tournaments, too. Today, more anglers are considering pay lakes a venue not only to do battle with big fish, but also to make some money.

Travis VanHoose 29lb Blue.

Pay Lake Payouts
Travis VanHoose has been paylakin’ for over 20 years. “I mowed lawns when I was a kid and used the money I earned to fish pay lakes,” the 29-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, says. “My mom would drive me and I’d spend all day there.” Now VanHoose is a serious pay-lake tournament angler and founder of Paylake Madness (paylakemadness.com), offering advice and instruction on fishing pay lakes, as well as merchandise, including an instructional DVD devoted to paylakin’. “I’m excited to introduce new people to the sport and help some of the ones already paylakin’. This is a great sport to be involved in.”

VanHoose says the tournament scene has been a new twist on paylakin’ over the past decade. “It’s not an established tournament circuit, but I’d like to see it become one in the next few years,” he says. “Pay lakes tend to hold events around holidays and holiday weekends. Pay lakes work together so that their tournaments don’t interfere with each other. I fish about four tournaments around big holidays, about 15 events over the course of a year.” In addition to regular tournaments, jars, slots, and tagged fish prizes, many pay lakes have a year-end championship with the winner taking home a bigger payout and a trophy.

Reed’s Catfishermans Paradise hosts four Big Bang Tournaments each year, with up to $10,000 in payouts if 100 anglers enter the event. Each angler pays $105—with $100 going to the Big Bang Tournament pool and the remaining $5 going toward the prize money for the annual Big Cat Pay Lake World Championship held each September. The Big Bang tournaments pay each hour of the 10-hour tournament for the biggest and second biggest fish. The 40 hourly winners from each of the Big Bang Tournaments are eligible to fish in the world championship for free. The winner of the Championship takes home $1,400 if each of the Big Bang tournaments has 70 anglers. The payout is $2,000 if 100 anglers fished each Big Bang Tournament. There’s also a trophy and prize merchandise.

Some anglers might think pay lake fish are easy to catch. Smaller farm-raised channel cats can be naive, but large fish that have been caught several times are wary. “I’ve never seen fish that are so smart as they are in pay lakes,” VanHoose says. “These fish have been caught many times and when you’re fishing from shore with depths to 20, 30, or 40 feet it can be a challenge. You need to locate fish first.”

VanHoose fishes with a slipbobber rig—a 10- to 12-inch-long float, 1-ounce sinker, and a 5/0 octopus hook by Lazer TroKar or Owner. He fishes with two combos. One is an 11-foot 6-inch St. Croix heavy casting rod matched with a Shimano Calcutta 4000 reel spooled with Sufix 832 superline. The other is a 10-foot medium-heavy Tsunami rod and Abu-Garcia 6500 Pro Rocket reel.

“The way I catfish is like crappie fishing with long rods,” he says. “Use the slipbobber to keep your bait riding just off bottom—4 to 5 inches—working it through holes and around structure. Adjust the float higher or lower to keep the bait just off bottom as you work a bait through a hole with varying depths.”

VanHoose fishes with nightcrawlers, leeches, shad, and sunfish. If he’s fishing with nightcrawlers he disguises the hook by threading on several, forming a loose gob. He fishes live shad by hooking them through the eyes, and says a shad can live quite a while hooked that way. With small live Israeli carp from baitshops, and sunfish like warmouth, he often hooks them behind the dorsal fin. Cutting off the body and fishing with just the head is another option. In this case, he often likes to thread a leech onto the hook before adding the head.

“I take care of the fish I catch,” he says. “Some pay lakes require you to land fish with a net. They want big fish handled with care.” At Reed’s pay lake, all fish must be landed with a net. Any jackpot fish are disqualified if a net isn’t used. Anyone caught dragging fish on the rocks is banned from the lake for the day.

Supply & Demand
If you’re a pay lake operator offering catch-and-release fishing for trophy catfish, you want your fish to survive as long as possible. But fish mortality is unavoidable, and pay lakes receiving heavy fishing pressure need to be re-stocked to provide consistent good fishing. The largest and busiest operations might require tens of thousands of pounds of catfish to be stocked annually. According to Reed, he stocks about 15,000 pounds in each of his lakes each year, about 500 to 600 fish per lake. About half the fish are gone from season to season,“ Reed says.

Reed catches his own fish to stock. In addition to being a pay lake owner, he’s also a long-time commercial fisherman. With Ohio not allowing commercial fishing on the Ohio River, Reed purchases a nonresident commercial license from Kentucky to fish the Ohio River. He live-hauls them to his pay lake. The majority of pay lakes offering trophy catfishing opportunities buy their fish from licensed commercial fishermen that work the Ohio River and other waters. According to Reed, the going rate is about $2 per pound.

Among Ohio River border states, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana allow commercial fishing. It isn’t allowed in Ohio or West Virginia. Kentucky has the largest section of the river sharing a border with all of those states.

Catching big wild catfish to stock in pay lakes is a concern among a growing number of sportfishermen. Dale Broughton, who guides on the Ohio River for trophy catfish, says, “Blues were making a comeback in the river, and now over the last 4 or 5 years it’s been destroyed. You can watch a commercial guy with a trotline pulling in giant fish after giant fish—300 to 400 pounds. They’ve wiped out flatheads, too. It can take up to 20 years or more to replace a trophy catfish out here. Guys are mad.”

Broughton also points to tournament catches as an indicator. “Every September, the Ohio Valley River Cats holds its open tournament. This past September, the total catch was down by about 1,000 pounds compared to the previous year, even though there were more teams competing. And compared to the previous tournament, fishing conditions were much worse. So that’s a sign there are fewer fish out there. Boat weights during the last tournament averaged only about 20 pounds—more like good catches at a walleye tournament rather than a catfish tournament.

“Pay lake guys pay about $15 to catch fish that were in the river—the same fish that sportfisherme

n pay thousands of dollars to fish for, when you consider boats, tournament fees, and all the other equipment and miscellaneous expenses,” he says.

Reed, on the other hand, sees trends in the other direction. “In 1980 when I started commercial fishing, catching a 40-pound blue cat was rare in the Ohio River where I fished,” he says. “Prior to about 1993, there were hardly any blues. Now fish in the 50- to 60-pound class are common and there have been several state records set in the past few years. This year I’ve caught numbers of fish over 50 pounds, including a 70-pound flathead.” From Reed’s perspective, the fishery isn’t declining or even holding it’s own—it’s getting better.

So which way is the needle pointing? “This issue is coming to a head in Kentucky this year,” says Ron Brooks, Fisheries Director for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “The Ohio River is known for quality catfish in the 20- to 40-pound range with larger fish, too, and tournament anglers and other trophy catfishermen want to protect the 70-, 80-, 90-pounders. They see commercial fishermen harvesting big fish for pay lakes and are frustrated because those fish won’t have the opportunity to grow to record sizes.”

Ohio and West Virginia passed regulations allowing the harvest of only one blue or flathead catfish 35 inches and longer daily, while Kentucky has no limit. “Those regulations passed without strong data on catfish populations in the river,” Brooks says. “Those states don’t have commercial fishing, so it wasn’t an issue.”

“The regulations in Ohio were developed in response to two fisheries management interests,” says Scott Hale, Inland Fisheries Program Administrator for the Ohio DNR. “One was to promote trophy fisheries for large catfish; the second to prevent illegal sale of large, sport-caught catfish to pay lakes. It’s not legal to sell sport-caught fish in Ohio.”

Brooks says that in Kentucky, tightening the regulations as in Ohio and West Virginia would affect the livelihood of commercial fishermen there. “There are 279 commercial fishermen in Kentucky, of which about 10 are big players, harvesting about 10,000 pounds or more per year. Some fish go to pay lakes. Other fish go an expanding export market of big fish to make bullion.

“The process for new regulations in Kentucky starts with approval by an appointed commission,” he says. “Once approved, the rules are voted on by the legislature after public hearings and other input. So unless you can prove a biological problem, there’s no impetus to push for a regulation on the fishery. Based on everything we have so far, nothing really indicates a biological problem with the catfish populations.”

Brooks met with anglers and commercial fishermen to discuss the issue and the consensus was to give Kentucky Fish and Wildlife a year to gather as much information as possible on the fishery. “Data collection will involve creel surveys and fish sampling, with the primary focus on the status of big fish,” he says. “We’ll start in the fall of 2012 and wrap up in fall of 2013.

“The fishery might be more complex than we think, and there are other variables that may affect these populations that we need to consider. One is understanding the amount of movement that occurs between pools. We know there can be substantial movement through lock chambers, but catfish also can pass through gates when water is low. Understanding movement can help us evaluate the data we collect.”

Broughton says he’d like to see Kentucky develop special regulations for catfish on hard-fished pools of the Ohio River, as well as better law enforcement on the river. He’s also concerned about commercial fishermen targeting blue cats in cold water with trotlines and hoop nets, as catfish form winter concentrations and are more vulnerable then.

Reed says: “If the pay lake industry had done so much damage, then how come we still get good catches of big fish? We still see good catches of flatheads to 50 pounds. I think the Internet where opinions dominate has created a lot of negative imagery toward pay lake stocking and commercial fishing. Commercial fishing isn’t something new, and most folks that are posting opinions on the Internet sites and forums haven’t had an inside look. Unfortunately, this has created enemies on both sides. This whole thing’s been going on for 50 years.”

Broughton says he doesn’t have a problem with pay lakes, but rather with taking big fish from wild populations to stock pay lakes. But the pay lake industry relies on those big fish, and Reed contends there are vibrant catfish populations in the river.

As Brooks says, the issue is coming to a head in Kentucky. Hopefully the new sampling initiatives this year will offer a clearer picture of the status of the catfish populations. A year might seem like a long way out for those with a vested interest in the resource who want quick answers. But in the fishery management world with a lot of sampling and biological variability, that’s a lot to ask for in a year.

One State’s Pay Lake Profile
Catfish pay lakes exist in a number of states in the Ohio River valley region and southeastern and southern areas of the U.S. How substantial are pay lakes as a component of a state’s overall fisheries? Ohio DNR Inland Fisheries Program Administrator Scott Hale: “Ohio has nearly 100 pay lakes in operation, with the majority of them in Southwest Ohio (49 percent), and the balance in the northwestern (3 percent), central (13 percent), southeastern (14 percent), and northeastern (20 percent) regions of the state.

“Because anglers aren’t required to purchase a fishing license to fish in pay lakes, it’s difficult to determine their importance to Ohio sport fisheries. However, in 2011 we conducted a mail survey of licensed anglers and the results suggested that less than 1 percent of trips by these anglers were to pay lakes during 2010. Numerically, pay lakes represent only a small portion of Ohio waters available to anglers. Ohio has about 2.3 million acres of Lake Erie, 451 miles of Ohio River shoreline, over 170 public reservoirs ranging from 25 to 15,000 acres providing over 120,000 acres of water and about 60,000 mile of streams.”

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  • amish kidd

    netting trophy fish from public waters makes me sick! i cant believe in-fisherman would publish a story about these immoral fishermen. and at the rate they are steeling the public's fish to boot! why they can and have wiped out entire sections of rivers in Indiana with those nets. this publication used to be about conservation not stupidity!

    pretty low I-F pretty low

    • Lukestrick22

      You know that some of us fish paylakes for fun right ? I have been fishing them for 2 years .People don't understand not everyone has acsess to the rivers . And even if we do we don't have a boat . To all of you that hate paylakes heres a big fuck you and suck my dick to .

      • jess wiley

        You said it well. :)

        • LukeStrick22

          And paylakes are the best its not us paylakers fault that you cant catch fish

        • LukeStrick22

          Thanks Jess!

  • Landon Garrison

    Thank you In-Fisherman for bringing this issue out to the public. There are too many trophy catfish leaving Kentucky waters only to be put into pay lakes to die. Regulations must be put into place to keep the trophy cat population strong for future generations to enjoy. It is the right thing to do!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.rich.71 Jeremy Rich

    well if a paylake fish is a trophy then so is shooting a deer on a leash. they need to get some regs on the rivers before this black eye on sport fishing ruins them all.

  • Alan Short

    Of course if your making money your gonna say its not hurting the resource. Specially $2/pound. What are you gonna do when it's to late? It takes a long time for a cat to get that big, and if your pulling out hundreds of thousands of pounds a year it's going to be depleted. I'm on the water every week you do the math. Those big cats are the ones that keeps the population up.

  • craig chagler

    i do not see a problem with commercial fishing as long as the trophie fish r releast and the the number of catfish from river to lake is sumitted to to gavenment and are controled on how much thay take out of a river . 10,000 lb of catfish is crazey with no dought . i have not cought 10,00lb in my 10 years of fishing with rod and reel . i realy think this is crazy to hear this . it is so hard to catch a trophie fish right now . we need a slot limet for the fish that is taken out of the rivers . plus all the trophie cats are our best defencef from asin carp and zebra mussels that as of right now they r taking over our waters which if this happens then there r will be no cat fish at all . so this has to stop . now now now now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • https://www.facebook.com/crackdaddytv Paul Catfish Ragsdale

    Sounds to me someone got paid to glorify Pay lakes, the harm the Eco systems by raping fish from thier natural resources, I for one Boycott any Pay Lakes that have anything in them other than Chanel, If their are Blues or Flathead's in the Lake chances are they were taken from the Rivers.

  • ken keown

    Mark Twain once said " The only thing we learn from the past is that we don't learn from the past". Is this happening to our catfish in the Ohio River. Have we forgotten what happened to many species of wildlife that were over harvested.

  • Brad Kilpatrick

    Paylakes suck!!! Stealing fish from their natural environment and placing them in small ponds to die a slow death. No forage for these fish unless it has a hook in it. I find it hard to believe that infisherman published this article. I am very disappointed in the in fishermen editors for allowing this article to run. Not sure I'll buy another magazine from them as commercial over harvest for pay lakes is ruining several great catfisheries nation wide. Myself and many other conservation minded anglers are dead set against these pay lakes and the damage they do to public fisheries.

    Brad Kilpatrick
    President/founder KC Catfish

    • R.T

      Has anyone heard about the ongoing asian carp problem and the mussel problem that is taking over the local waterways? Do some research! The blue cat is essential to solve these two issues. So really it is very important to regulate what they can take. Hopefully the state will implement a blue cat stocking program into the ohio river, before it is too late. Too many trophy fish die from the hauling process to the paylake. Lets wake up folks!

    • Jim Leonard

      Well said Brad, you know I'm 100% in favor of what you say. Just found this site, I'll be visiting more often.

  • patrick

    another major point lost here is how many tax dollars have been spent by WV and OH in attempt to bring the Ohio River back to where it should be by stocking these waters with blue cats just so commercial guys can come in and take what they want with nothing regulating them. If they would recognize catfish as what it is, a true GAME FISH. this wouldn't be an issue.

    how many other "protected" species are caught by mistake? the wallies under 18". the bass, the paddlefish???

    • Ted Abbott

      Usually in a tank truck. And all those fish only add up to 3 large fish…if that. And most are little ones 20-40 lbers. If a Pay lake gets 10 big fish a year they are very lucky guys. Lets all get real! Start dealing with facts…Geese!
      The same amount and values should be placed an spent of Catfish species, I agree with that statement! But Commerical Fishermen also pay for a license. and it's a lot more than yours good neighbor..

  • savethecatfish

    Paylakes may be many things, but an example of fair chase isn't one of them. Cheers to In-Fisherman for bringing this issue to light, so more anglers (of any species) can see the truth about what's happening to river fish in the Midwest. The only people who defend paylakes are those who own them, sell fish to them, or those who want to believe their 45 lb pb blue cat that they caught in a paylake means something. It doesn't. Those fish are either dying or trying to commit suicide.

    • Luke

      Paylakes are for fun . Everyone of you that's aginst them say the same stuff . SOME PEOPLE DONT HAVE ACSESS TO RIVER OR THEY MAY BE HANDICAPPED SO THEY FISH IN A PAYLAKE. ITS NOT PAYLAKES FAULT YOU CANT CATCH FISH ITS YOURS .

  • savethecatfish

    The funniest line in the whole piece is the one where the pro paylaker talks about "locating the fish." Bro, trust me: they are right in front of you.

    • hogseeker

      trust me you have no idea what its like fishing in a paylake you have to find the fish and get on them you guys are just jealous you cant make as much money as us fishing its just like a casino its always a gamble

      • Big John

        Totally agree. Alot of paylakes have holes and structures for fish to hide in. It's not as simple as cast a line out and pull cats in. You have to find these and that does not mean you will catch them. Bye the way I do not own a paylake and do the fish you catch with the depth and fish finders make a good example of a fair chase? I don't think so you cheat to find them and you are looking right at them on a screen. Chew on that awhile and think before you talk trash about something you dont know a thing about.
        .

        • savethecatfish

          Well, I do know something about paylakes. I know they aren't very big. I know rivers and lakes are big. So if you put thousands of pounds of catfish into a small pond, doesn't that mean they are a lot easier to catch? They still have to eat, right? So fishing for wild fish, that may or not be hungry, isn't all that easy when you have literally thousands of acres of water to search. (Even with a fish finder.) Now, if it's about gambling, I can't argue. But just say it's about gambling, then, and not fishing.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dwiehe Daniel MinnowJohnson Wiehe

            I do not fish at paylakes for the gambling.. Its a nice place for my friends, family and the kids to enjoy the outdoors in a safe environment.. while making some memories fishing for some big fish. I dont know how many big cats people think are being taken out of the rivers for the paylakes but the one I fish at the most (Folz) im sure they are not taking near enought to hurt the population of cats in the river.

          • The Real Cat Daddy

            You obviously know nothing about pay lakes. When you are in your "boat" what are you doing…? I will tell you.. You are looking for structures, rock ledges, rock piles, points, back waters… This is where you "River Fishermen" as you call your selves are looking for these catfish or flathead's. Go into the middle of the water and try to catch a catfish, you won't because you don't know how. How do I know this you ask, just by the way you speak.. A "REAL" Catfish guy would tear you up, I mean the guy who fishes the paylakes, why would he burn you up because he is not gifted with a fish finder he is not gifted with the boat he is not gifted with depth finders, NO he is a man who has learned how to fish with the lay of the land, the pressure of the barometer, the wind, Full Moon in the sky or cloudy night.. You only depend on your "Boat" and your gadgets to get you to those rock ledges, those tree stump structures, the swirling whirlpool of water, the murky waters, BUT the guy that is stuck in the middle of the river with you has the edge.. Let's strip you of all your toys and you would be sitting there just like your pole..stiff and motionless… The paylaker, well he is changing depths, he is looking for murky water swirls, where currents run together, changing baits, or using the same bait in different forms and approaches… You river guys kill me as I read this.. I have fished both ways and it is 100x harder to fish a paylake because these fish are not as dumb as the wild catfish.. They have been in this body of water we call paylakes and they have basically learned their lay of the land, they have made their holes that they return to every night, I can not tell you how many times I have caught a fish that has 3 broken lines in his mouth from the fish's wild side kicking in and snapping the novice fisherman on the other ends line.. They overcome and adapt to their settings. What will you guys shoot for next, restrictions on minnows because you can't catch enough crappie because the paylaker is using all the bait up from the creeks that are replenished every time it rains real good…. Maybe you will stop the squid being used as bait because you can jump down and grab one and hook him up for bait… Darn it, now you can't take your wife out for a nice "seafood" dinner or maybe you can't buy the squid in "Wal-mart" because that guy over there used 32 squid for bait trying to catch red snappers.. You river fishing guys are clueless.. You fuel yourselves with beer and call your river fishing a sport that is in danger.. When most of the time you have stumbled onto a catfish.. You were not fishing for catfish you were fishing for whatever would bite..! US pay Lakers fish for sport, for money, for memories with the 5 year old who landed a 40 lb. shovelhead on the Snoopy pole…. Stick to what you know best.. How to wax your boat and give it a cool name and let the real catfishing guys do there thing.. I so wish that we could have a pay lakers against river cat fisher's tournament. That would be a treat and a wake up call for you … Well whatever you call yourselves..!

          • savethecatfish

            If we had a tournament at a paylake I think the 5 year old with the snoopy pole would win it.

          • The DM

            Quote” The paylaker, well he is changing depths, he is looking for murky water swirls, where currents run together…”

            Correct me if I’m wrong, Mr. Cat Daddy, but the last time I checked, paylakes were landlocked and really don’t have much to do with murky water swirls or where currents run together. Therefore, the name ‘PAYLAKE’.

          • The Real Cat Daddy

            You obviously did not read my comment to well or you can not handle the truth, what I said was if the pay laker was out on the river with your "river" fisherman that we would out fish you by looking for such things.. I can tell by the comments that have replied that all of you together may have 5 teeth total..

          • The DM

            Let me ask you this, would you fish your precious pay lake if it was only stocked with 10 pounders tops? How about if a 15 pounder was the 'big one'? Would it still give you the same thrill? Nah….didn't think so. Reason: while everyone appreciates anything they catch, who WOULDN'T want to cast each time for the hopes to snag a monster? I know I do.
            Welcome to the complaints of the river folks. For many years, we've spend our money (much like you do at the pay lakes) on gear, licenses, etc.. only to go out and come home with fish that are that size, when the NORM used to be 20-30lb + fish. The days of that are long over. We've been on the water and seen trot lines full of big ones that are heading to paylakes, and trust me, the fish that used to be waiting in the wings to take over when those big ones were taken are also gone. It is getting out of control. Imagine the situation in reverse for just a moment: if someone came into your paylake, and started catching and not replacing the fish, you'd be a little pi$$ed, too.

          • The Real Cat Daddy

            Well Yeah Duh… It sounds like to me that you guys are just upset because you can not catch any fish… Well this is because you do not know how to fish.. Obviously you need a new hobbie, like maybe you should ask your church if you can get back in on the "Bridge" (card Game) tournaments

      • bennettcola

        I agree. This has to be the most ignorant statement ever. Most paylakes are less than 5 acres according to james reed who says his 5 lakes cover 25 acres. Then he's stocking 500-700 fish per lake. These aren't minnows were talking about either. Talk about shooting fish in a barrel. Vanhoose is a joke. He where's a jersey as if a major tackle company would ever support this nonsense. That would be like writing your own death warrant. Any fisherman with a little skill would boycott a company that supported slottering trophy fish. I've heard these "paylaker" clowns try to use every excuse under the sun how this is ok. My favorite is the say it allows seniors and children opportunities to get out and catch fish and then turn around and say there difficult to catch? Google paylakes then select images. No images of seniors or children appear just middle age trailer trash.

        • Big John

          You river guys kill me. The problem you have with paylakes is that us Trailer Trash have finally figured out that we can go to a paylake and and catch trophy cats and not have to pay hundreds to have a guides take us out on a river and find and put us on them with their depth and fish finders. Paylakes are taking your customers and you don't like it so what do you do you try to do put the competition out of bussiness. Why dont you protest gill nets witch kill all sorts of different sorts of fish since you are so worried about saving the fish.No just catfish because just like a paylake its your money fish. Hypocritical don't you think.

          • The DM

            If you are so good at sitting on a bank fishing around a paylake, then why not take your 'skills' to the river bank? My family and I fish the Ohio river quite often and see TONS of people fishing the banks with friends and family, much like you all say that you do. NO COST involved with this, unlike your paylakes, and the same tackle/practices can be used.
            I think we all can agree that EVERONE likes to catch big fish, the issue here is that the regulations (or mainly, the lack thereof) on these fish is ultimately going to be their demise. If they keep disappearing at the rate they are from their natural environment, there will be nothing there to replace them. You want to make memories with your kids? So does everyone….what makes you think that the only place to make fishing memories is a damn paylake?

          • Tcat

            I tell you what tops off a day of hard fishing at the paylake. Take the night and spotlight some deer in a fenced in area and shoot them. Of course that kind of hunting would be good for seniors and kids as well. Then hunters wouldn't have to buy them fancy tree stands or camo. I hope you see the connection if NOT then google "sportfishing"

          • Big John

            I do fish the river all the time. Let me tell you though it does cost to go you cant do anything at no cost. It dosent cost as much as a guide but it will cost you just as mush as going to a paylake. I can agree that there should be regulations on big cats. I think that a cat that is over 50lbs. should be released it has earned it. That being said I dont know a paylaker one who would tell you a paylake is the only place to make a fishing memory I have tons of great memories fishing at the river and the back waters of the river as well.But what gives people the right to put down people who fish paylakes and call us trailer trash? People like that are the assholes that make river fishermen look bad. As far as the same tackle and and practices used for both river fishing and paylaking is not true. I fish both and they are very different. Same bait but different ways of rigging your line and different ways of locating fish. Paylaking is not as easy as people think.

    • Rob

      LOL Hell yea if they ever had to really find fish in the big river they better take a guide cause hotdogs and doe ball dont work to well lol like they do for pro paylakers

  • savethecatfish

    Director Brooks mentions the expanding market for bullion made from large fish. Yet there are consumption advisories associated with fish taken from the Ohio River — especially for at-risk groups like the young, the old and the pregnant. Larger fish are more dangerous to consume, for obvious reasons. Do consumers of these fish know where their food is coming from?

  • Danny Williams

    Kind of sad to see this type of fishing.
    Sign of the times I guess.

  • fatfish

    Twenty years ago the flathead catfish was king in the Cincinnatti area,now a fish over 15 lbs. are few and far between. The blue cat population has increased since then but that being said the trophy size catfishing is terrible.So anyone claiming that all is well and the fishery is benefitting from the commecial fisherman harvesting all of the trophy cats and more importantly the top breeding cats is full of shite. The act of catching fish from a public river and selling them to private paylakes would be comparable to killing deer at a state park and then selling them at Krogers! Time to make some changes!

    • paylakers unlimited

      okay thats one guys poor lake management.. the spelling lake i fish… i have only seen one fish along the bank we immediatly pulled. The fish and creamated it. Not all lakes are poorly managed…..

  • kent payne

    tournament fishing has killed going to any of the lakes around here and paying for a licence and not catching fish like I once did it ain't worth it anymore so I just pond fish!

    • JERRY

      SO YOUR NOT CATCHING ANY FISH IN THE RIVER OR IN THE LAKE HMMMM. YOU EVER THINK IT MIGHT JUST BE YOU….

  • Steve B

    I do not have anything against Paylakes in themselves, as they are a means for folks without boats or live in area with decent accessible fishing from land (Cincinnati). The trouble I have is the lack of resource management and conservation the Kentucky Department of Fisheries and Wildlife are exhibiting. Isn't resource management the #1 part of the job for a Fisheries & Wildlife department???? Markland pool of Ohio river (cincy area) is key spot for these commercial fisherman to harvest fish, as majority of the paylakes are in southwestern Ohio, so the CFs don't have as long of drive to deliver (gas $). Come on Kentucky, wake up and do the job a Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation office is suppose to do——PROTECT the species, and not be greedy !!!

    • KYCatMAn

      The problem is everyone that live on the border of KY, thinks all the trophy Cats are in Ohio River but there are plenty in other rivers and lakes that branch off the Ohio River.

    • Vince

      Kentucky Just woke up. Soon these holes will not be able to get any fish from KY anymore

  • patrick

    not a single comment supporting commercial fishing or pay lakes with these commercially caught fish.. says a lot.

    • hogslayer

      because the administrator as not letting us say our peace.

  • justin browning

    if you are going to do a story on paylakes, you need to include the facts about james greeds lakes . where are the pictures of the dumpsters full of dead blues and flatheads that suround his cess pools he calls lakes .where are the pictures of the dead and dieing fish laying along the banks .where are the pictures of the people going around on golf carts every morning pulling dead fish from the waters .if you are going to do a story then do a real story include all the facts if you need pics of this to put in your magazine please let me know !!!!

  • concerned fisherman

    Dont shoot the messenger. Hard issues like this have to be brought to light at a national level. Just because a publication runs a story doesn't meen they support its content. I never had a clue these lakes exhisted or that there was such a huge industry exploiting our natural fisheries for profit. For me the first half of the article explained what the whole pay lake industry was. And the second half exposed how these organizations are exploiting our natural fisheries for profit. I think they simply told both sides of the story. No where in the article did they pick a side. For me they dont have to after more than a decade reading their publication I know where they stand. I think pay lakes are a good thing if the fish are bought from hatceries and raised under natural conditions. And I'm sure some lakes operate that way but as the article pointed out most are not. So lets use the information that we have been provided with and try to make a difference. It took me 25 years to catch my trophy 70 pounder and without good managment my kids may never get that oppertunity.

    • justin browning

      they do tell both sides of the story . they just dont tell it very well paylakes is big business . i know about both sides my aunt owned a paylake for twenty some years i grew up fishing them .i have fished just about all of them at one time including cp2 .then i seen the light i see that big businss and money is way more important then the fish that they are stuffing in these death camps . i have see truck load after truck load come form are rivers and lakes and end up in dumpsters that surround james greeds lakes . then you got the wannatobes like travis vanhoose who is a bottom feeder trying to get what scraps he can . i have great pics of this if in fisherman would like to see them .

      • Paylaker

        You know its people like you justin that make the river guys look bad. Its funny you so much against Travis just cause he has done alot with his Paylake Madness. Grow up man and realize they are just as many of us paylakers as they are river guys…

  • Tcat

    I am glad the article brought light to the tragedy that is commercial fishing to supply pay lakes. If this issue was with a bass or a buck it would have been stopped 20 years ago. But KY and IN dnr are sitting back watching their state resources being hauled off the back for a truck for what…the permit fee of a hundred bucks. They should be ashamed of themselves to not stop this and show that they are willing to stand up for what the science tells them is raping a resource. By the time they get their head out of river mud the catfish resource will be ruined. Please forward these comments to Bill James, IDNR fisheries biologist.

  • Lkearns

    The sport anglers around here, we have faught for regulations and conservation to preserve our natural resources and the future of our heritage against commercial fisherman , pay lakes and anyone else taking advantage of what we hold sacred. Ive been fishing for catfish locally from maysville ky, to henderson ,ky all parts of the ohio river. And i can say without a shadow of a doubt in the past 10 years our waters have all but, been wiped clean of trophy mature catfish. All paylakes must be required to grow and hatch there own fish not deplete our fisheries.l I live in kentucky and it makes me sick that our DNR has done nothing in the way of correcting the problems. They want to hold a few town hall meetings and ask for compromise but, with no results. Only blowing smoke.

  • Tcat

    The states of KY and IN rely heavily on the commercial fisherman to report what they catch so it can be tracked. This strategy is similiar to the way we managed the buffalo in the 19th century. I think the trophy catfish and maybe even the whole catfish population is the next great Buffalo of the 21st century. Glad to see the State DNR's have learned from the past. At least now we learned to charge a permit fee to rape the resources.

    • justin browning

      if infishermen went to james greeds cess pools and done a interview. then it saddenes me that they left so much of what paylakeing is really about out .this is no place to take a family there is alot of drug use ,people cussing and yelling at each other across the lake because someone crossed there line. there has been fights and alot of gambling .im not sure why a nationally known magazine would want to do a story on paylaking with out telling whats really going on . then there are the dead fish stuffed in dumpsters covered in lime and the dead fish laying along the banks of each lake and in the weeds .i think you should do another story and this time tell the whole story.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dwiehe Daniel MinnowJohnson Wiehe

        Those are the people who get kicked out… Have you ever been bank fishing on the river?? lots of drugs and homeless people that I wouldnt want kids to be around. I would rather be somewhere that has rules to prevent or punish this when it happens than be in a place where I cant do any thing about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.joesph.79 William Joesph

    Point the finger squarely at Bill James and Ron Brooks…. these are the two in control and are to be held personally responsible…. expect nothing from them, they are protecting PERSONAL interest's… they must be exposed and force OUT until then, Bill James and Ron Books will purposly drag there feet until the resource of trophy catfish has been effectively wiped out for our lifetime's… not only in the Ohio river, but our inland rivers as well.
    James Reed, is only one of many resource hoarder's out there legally destroying our fisheries for their own gain.
    Resource hoarding is not a new human behavior- it's why we are suppose to have law's to protect our native fish and wildlife resources… Paylakers are Gamblers- not fisherman.

  • tncatman

    I have to wonder what this article would look like if they were talking about trophy walleye or small mouth bass netted from their favorite river. Only to be put in a pay lake for the benefit of unlicensed fisherman.
    Shame on in-fisherman for wasting half the article glorifying, non sportsman and pay lakes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.joesph.79 William Joesph

    Point the finger squarely at Bill James and Ron Brooks…. these are the two in control and are to be held personally responsible…. expect nothing from them, they are protecting PERSONAL interest's… they must be exposed and force OUT until then, Bill James and Ron Books will purposly drag there feet until the resource of trophy catfish has been effectively wiped out for our lifetime's… not only in the Ohio river, but our inland rivers as well.

  • Derrick D. Crozier

    I hope this ends and soon. I have no problem with pay lakes as long as they either raise their own fish or buy fish from farms, but don't take our wild fish, I think people would have a problem with deer ranch owners coming onto public hunting grounds to capture deer and those deer only live to a fraction of the age that these trophy catfish. Commercial fishing in our major rivers needs to end and regulations need to be tightened. As well as the impact to the fishery that commercial fisherman have they are also taking one of the very few predators out of the water that can have a positive affect on decreasing White Perch, Zebra Mussel, and Asian Carp populations. every one of those trophy fish is an invaluable resource that needs to be more protected!

  • andy

    There are a number of reasons that our river systems are being over exploited right now in comparison to years ago. One big reason being, as other states wise up to the possible damage than can be done to our river systems by mismanagement , they have banned commercial fishing, these fishermen have discovered that Kentucky and Illinois still sell non resident commercial licenses, leaving the Ohio and Wabash river open for commercial fishermen to supply a very hungry demand for trophy catfish.
    As some well know, pay lakes are the ones creating that demand, and the lack of regulation to one of our nations resources are allowing that demand to be fed, at a pace that will not last.

    I would like to think that a great magazine like Inn-Fisherman, would want to also do a story on the behind the scenes of the industry, and the damage that is happening right now to our nations waterways.

    This is just one of many reasons that regulations need to be imposed on this vital natural resource

    Thanks, Andy

  • R. Hahn

    I have fished the Ohio River since the 1970's Our river's catfish and paddlefish are in deep trouble. Satisfied and happy anglers don't write letters, form organizations [Ohio River Catfishermen's Federation] if there is nothing wrong. They are too busy fishing!!!! Thank's for shining a light on this. We need help bad!!

  • Jason Lynam

    this is a salty issue obviously, we river fisherman feel very strongly about the thousands of pounds of catfish that are being taken from millions of acres of water to be put in a 1 acre pond to rott and die. Justin is right if you are going to make a article about paylakes you should get all the facts like where do all the fifty year old catfish come from that he stocks daily and what kind of resource can honestly supply thousands of 50 pound fish monthly and weekly without it destroying the population. ill give one example before i go, in 2011 there was a rising sun catfish tournament on the river which 98 anglers competed, in 2012 there were 154 and there was over a 1000 pounds of less catfish caught in 2012 then 2011, that speaks for itself in my opinion.

    • Vic Long

      current means everything in river fishing . do you think the drought might have any effect on 2012 tournament season?

      • Vic Long

        please reply to my email why my first comments wasn't posted.

        • jeff_simpson1

          Not sure what you are talking about, Vic?

          • vic long

            it was posted thanks

      • Jason Lynam

        by no means, fishing was consistent for years and years then when the CFs started getting bigger and coming more in numbers and more paylakes opened up with high demands the fishing decreased almost instantly, 6 summers ago I could catch 20 to 30 blue cats in 1 day at 1 spot, that following winter I seen CFs laying nets all over that area and at the time I didn't know much about them so I wasn't to concerned, following summer I didn't catch 4 fish the whole summer in that stretch of water. when people started talking about CFs after that I realized what had happened cause I watched these guys lay the nets all winter long.

        • vic ong

          you have any stats on your numbers say the last 10 years . cause they did at frankfort dnr meeting last year. that i attended they had the number of cfs and pounds harvest . where the harvest went to market or paylakes .type of fish that was harvseted. you do know that the the nets are not selective in the species they catch ? just one cf in smithland pool caught 1.2 million pounds of asian carp the first half of 2012. that' s the true enemy of our fishery and that's what kdnr was focus on that meeting. getting over run with this invasive .

          look don't be so narrow in your focus that it's all the cfs fault . cause there's other factors that increases or decreases a fishery , than harvest. remember the bluecat was all but kill out in the pollution days post ww2 . their come come back in the ohio started with the clean air & water act back in the 60's

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.joesph.79 William Joesph

    Time is fast running out for us to protect the remaining big, OLD catfish populations that we have left……. the resource is quickly disappearing right before our eye's – don't blink… Many of us have all witnessed the rapid decline of catfish population's of all size and species of catfish, but especially the trophy size has dramatically decline just this year more any other time I'm aware of… state's inland rivers that are repopulated by the Ohio, and other big rivers, have been devastated by overfishing! Folks fishing inland river's are realizing the effect of overfishing much sooner and much worse than the big river anglers right now… we have all got to work hard together… big river anglers, AND inland river anglers to get this job done… and like I said, time is so short, If we don't accomplish this soon, the damage will be irreversible within our lifetimes… not trying for drama, just telling it like it is…..

  • Angler's Notebook

    In Thailand, fee fishing parks are now the only place to legally pursue Giant Mekong Catfish. The government's breeding program sells a number of the fish they raise to these parks to off set the costs of rearing and releasing fish, with the stated goal of restoring fish populations. You can stop at one of these parks and be into a half dozen 50 pound + fish in no time.
    http://www.anglersnotebook.com/2012/08/23/pattaya

  • Wifisher

    I'm on the magazines side all the way. In-Fisherman has always been on the conservation side of the coin. Get some OLD back copies or get the book with old catfishing articles in it. Almost every article they have printed about catfish has highlighted the importance of selective harvest, choosing the right tackle to prevent fish injury and other conservation issues. Doug and the others at the magazine always do a great job of writing, as well as printing articles of controversy to bring them to peoples attention where no other rag has the balls to.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dwiehe Daniel MinnowJohnson Wiehe

      Pretty sure they did not pick a side.. they only talked about the arguments that are happening between the paylakes and river fisherman. They are doing a survey to find out the turth I believe all the people complaining about paylakes will be but hurt from the results.

  • http://twitter.com/IndianaFishing @IndianaFishing

    I feel like it's a shame that commercial anglers are raping our waters of all the big catfish. How many of these big fish will be left in 10 or 20 years ? Why not just go ahead and put them on the endangered fish list now !
    What about the water quality in these lakes ?? Who test them to make sure they are safe ?
    The rest of my message was cut off and I'm not going to re-type it all back in.
    sam
    Admin: http://www.indianapaylakes.com/
    http://www.indianainfo.net/

  • Blue Buster

    it all about the money people……KY and Ind. need to get a hold on thes fast….Commercial fishing is killing are rivers……iv been cat fishing for a long time River and Paylakes and ther NO way they can say it not doing damage to the river…..20 are even 30 years ago you could go to the river and get BIG cats now no….you have to go to paylakes and even there the fish are not what they used to be…..James Reed has been killing are rivers for years…..He been kicked out of Tenn. and Alabma…for the same thang all ready….HUMMMMMMM MAKE YOU THINK…..why dont some 1 look into that….

  • Tennessee Catter

    Fortunately we don't have that many pay lakes in my neck of the woods, at least not within a 2 hour drive or more. I'll never watch another In-Fisherman program or buy their publications again.

  • W. Robins

    After all these comments and concerns, what does the author of this article have to say? Has Dr. Rob Neumann commented as to how this even became an article? I am curious as to how he would respond to everyones comments and concerns. Did he write this to bring this topic into the spotlight or does he support it? Just curious.

  • Marshall Ruley

    I live in central ky.For years i would fish the Rolling Fork or the beach for river.You could catch Flatheads in the 40 lb range ever so often and lots of 10 to 20 lb catfish.We had some droughts that really lowered the water to nothing but pools here and there. These pools were raided and all the big fish were taken out sold to paylakes and also used in fish fries.The population was destroyed and has not recovered.This has been several years ago.If you catch one 10 lbs you are lucky.An old man i talked to every so often on the river was upset to the point of crying .He grew up along the river and what he enjoyed doing all of his life (Setting a few cane poles ) is gone.He said the river had dried up before but no one in there right mind would go and catch them like that.They were all trapped. The old man has died since then and now i am the old man. We have to do something before it's to late.We don't need a survey a year long study.You take that many big fish out any fool knows the result.It may be to late already.

  • justin browning

    this has to be stopped bill james and ron brooks are the people responcible for this. they are in bed with commerical fishermen. they care only about money these guys need to be exposed .

  • Dale Sides

    Thank you In Fisherman for bringing the issue of the Rapping of our Rivers here in In the Ohio River states by the environmentally bankrupt Pay Lake industry This has been a great rallying point for our concerns Have you done the math using Reeds stocking rates if all lakes do the same that's close to a million lb,s of fish per year and half die by his own admission and that,s just pay lake fish and most come from one pool with no limits of any kind size or otherwise, you don't need more info to see a big problem and add to that the fish that are being targeted are 40 PLUS YEARS OLD not something that can be replaced over night

  • Jàmes Ramey

    I'm a resident of Scioto County in southern Ohio. I've fished the rivers and pay lakes all my life. And I can say for certain that commercial fishing is destroying the big catfish population. As many have said 10 years ago you could catch 40-50Ib flatheads regularly. Now thats nearly impossible in the Ohio river. I mainly fish the big Scioto River these days and I've had much better luck catching trophy fish the past few years. Its regulated by the State of Ohio and can't be commercially fished so it still has a fairly healthy population.

    As for pay lakes, I think if managed properly they can be a good thing. Like many have said they should be forced to buy farm fish and not steal from the rivers. I've seen what many pay lake do. James Reed is the worlds worst! You can't put 15,000 Ibs of fish in a 2 acre lake every year and expect them to live. Not to mention that in those lakes there is next to no food for them. The pay lake owners make no real attempt to keep those trophy fish alive. They're content with just restocking thousands upon thousands of pounds every year. Eventually there won't be thousand's upon thousands of Ibs left in the rivers to restock with. Something needs done and it needs done fast. Hopefully Kentucky will come to its senses and either regulate or ban commercial fishing altogether!

    • JERRY

      HYPOCRITE!! YOU FISHED PAYLAKES ALL YOUR LIFE HA HA HA HA

  • Joshr

    All of you who put down pay lakes should fish at one before you start saying negative things about them. I fish at paradise pretty often and it is a very awesome experience. The notion that its easy to catch a fish at a pay lake is anything but the truth. You will work your butt of just to catch one fish. These lakes allow me, a 20 year old college student, to have a chance at catching these awesome fish. If commercial fishing is really hurting the river so bad, why is it so easy for commercial fisherman to catch good numbers of big fish? If there aren't hardly any left like many have suggested, shouldn't it be very hard for commercial fisherman to catch these big fish too? To the person that said paradise had dumpsters full of dead fish, that's not true. Will there be dead fish found? Yes. But not dumpsters full. Nor does someone drive around every single day picking up dead fish. It sounds to me like some "conservationist pro anglers" are a little sour that pay lake fisherman don't have to spend thousands on a boat like they did to catch the same fish they're going after… Long story short, pay lakes are not destroying the trophy populations like people are saying so instead of ruining great fishing experience for "non-fishermen" like me, go get out and find the fish on the river and have a good time..

    • justin browning

      i have pics of dumpsters full of dead fish and they do come around every morning and pull dead fish out you better stay in school and learn the facts about paylaking 101 !!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/dwiehe Daniel MinnowJohnson Wiehe

        Your so full of it Justin.. Yes some fish die… but not near as many as you are claiming. I have been to cp2, Folz and a few others. Yes they go around every morning and dispose of the dead ones.. I dont want to fish next to a rotting fish. But its not even close to a dumpster full.

        • justin browning

          daniel minnow johnson i have pics of dumpsters full of dead blues and flat heads and if you fished up there that much then you would know im not lieing they are full all the time all you have to do is walk to the end of cess pool #1 and look in the red dumpster you cant miss it or the smell.

    • Joshr

      I was there two-three times a month this past year bro… From February all the way til October. In the early months they would come around and pick up the dead fish that didn't make it through winter.. After April I rarely ever saw them out doing that again. James will even tell you some fish die each year. But you make it seem like there's dumpsters all around the lake overflowing with dead fish the whole year, there's only two dumpsters there that I know of and the times I've seen them they were not full of fish.. I'm not saying there has never been fish in them, but you're over exaggerating it bub.

      • justin browning

        pics dont lie and i have seen times when the banks are full of dead fish and i have seen times where the dumpsters are full and have pics to prove it and if infisherman would like to put them in there magazine i will be glad to give them to them to show what paylaking is all about .

  • Oh you didn't know

    Cry us a river and we'll come and hoop net that one too. Crybabies.

  • River man

    Stealing the Ohio river and Kentucky lake fish is wrong they make a profit now but when our kids wana fish one day they will be not one chance of them catching trophy fish blue cats allmost was extinked once now they are back will it take them being in low numbers befor we do something come on do something pay lakes should be outlawed its easy to catch a fish in pay lake it a challenge to do so in the wild shame on you pay lakers

  • larry liner

    this article is a disgrace to infishermen magazine! if i wasnt already a life member, i would stop buying it. shame on you for glorifying scumbags like these!!!!!

  • Jesse

    All of you are on here complaining about how you can't catch big fish in the river anymore…so,by your logic, that means the big fish have been "fished out". Well, these guys doing the commercial fishing aren't having any trouble catching the big ones…sounds to me like you crybabies just don't know what the f#%@ you're doing. All I see on this thread is a bunch of bleeding vaginas .

    • derrick

      they are netting five hundred miles or more of river and using hundreds of gill nets,hoop nets and long lines.

  • mwalton

    in the article…it states that fisherman spend thousands of dollars to catch fish from the rivers….and people that paylake spend 15….to the person the goes to a paylake once in a while..there are plenty of people including myself spend 1000-2000 dollars a year to fish payalakes….i fish cp2 somewhere 2-3 tickets a week and have for a few years now…if the number of trophy fish is declining in the rivers then how come James so no trouble finding them year after year…granted he isnt using rod and reel…seems to me like people need to learn to fish the rivers and find the fish…which brings me to another point…not everyone has a boat or lives next to river…making it harder for people to get on fish…

  • Vic Long

    First I would like to say I'm no young gun in my late 50's and glad to see the ohio river rebound from the days when pollution just about destroy this fishery.
    Due to a hunting related accident in 96. I fracture my back that required titanium rods and screws to stabilize my spine. All but ended my days river fishing by boat. My back can't take the pounding the Big O can dish out . Those of you that fish it know how rough it can be with boat and barge traffic not saying what mother nature can do too it .
    I still think of those early river tournaments when I fish around Broughington and Moyer travel to fish a tournament in markland pool but zero in it , he didn't return rest of that season . Those days 60-70 pounds put you in the money and 100 pounds was a first place lock in 20 to 35 boat tournament. Mostly flats and channels came to the scales for weigh in. You could count the blues weigh in on one hand that season . Largest being a modest 42 pounds the last tournament of the year. Has the fishery improve over the years? There's only one answer. YES!
    Instead of trying end someones livelihood . We should be asking the states DNR's on north bank of the ohio river. To start a bluecat stocking program on the ohio river basin. In the tributaries and lakes created in these rivers . To help return our great fisheries back to where it once was.

    • justin browning

      why should the state spend taxes payers money on a stocking program just to see them netted out to go to a paylake where they are going to end up in dumpsters why not put restrictions on commerical fishing!!!!!

  • In-Fisherman

    We welcome the comments on this topic. In-Fisherman editors believe Dr. Neumann’s article is a fair and balanced look at what pay lakes are about and how they function. It allows perspectives from representative individuals from the main stakeholder groups, bringing pay lakes and their issues to light at the national level. We hope the article speeds the identification of specific problems that agencies need to resolve so that anglers can enjoy exceptional fishing for catfish in years to come. Thank you for your concern. We wish you good fishing!

    • justin browning

      would you do a story about shooting deer in a pen if your main stakeholders said to its all about the money when it should be all about conservation .

  • Daniel

    I love paylakes and river fishing… some of these comments are a little ridiculous. I fish of f the bank in the Ohio I do not even own a boat.. I don't have a lot of money to put into one. I have caught plenty of nice cats with out dumping all of my money into a floating piece of plastic with motor on it. Sound to me like all of these people who do this get butt hurt when they see someone else catching fish who actually knows what they are doing. The truth will come out when this survey is complete. For those who complain about the paylakes being an "Easy catch" you have obviously never fished a pay lake. The largest fish I have caught was a 62lb blue bank fishing on the river and I fish a paylakes way more than I do the river. The best reason imo to fish a paylake is the people and safety. I don't have to deal with drunk homeless people passing out drunk in my fishing chair. (happened twice now) or following me to my car wanting a ride or money… But on the other hand the river fish put up more of a fight. Quit your crying and learn to fish.

  • Andrew Downward

    all y'all freaking retarded its fishing and you do have to have a license to fish at these paylakes, great way to make money nobody critizes y'all for going to a river or a lake to fish, or how stupid professional bass fishing is, take a minute to think its fishing doesn't matter for fun out of a pond to professional fishing on a huge lake or trout fishing a stream Jesus Christ y'all forgot what fishing was about

  • Jared Cooke

    All you river guys are big crying…. I fish both the river and paylakes, I also own a Paylake. If you don’t like what I do, then feel free 2 find me so I can personally shut ur garages for you. I’m tired of hearing you non fisherman wine that there is no fish. The bluecats are as big and plentiful as try have ever been. How about you conservatis try wetting a line instead of bashing paylakes. Do u nor realize it is the fish houses That are slaughtering all the fish for food. Commercial fishing is a way of life for a lot of ppl. It’s not just about you cry baby acting like you own the water. We pay taxes just like you do, and own the water ways just as much as you do. Justin and William , u 2 must have a full time job at pouting and going on about your gay ass pics that show nothing. Paylakes are lucky if they consume 10% of the cats that are taken out of the water ways every year. You great tourney fisherman kill more fish then we do. Those big cats love being crammed up all night and stressed, then released 2 their death. I can go on all night, but this is old already.You can find me and my paylaking friends at my lake page. TwinOaksPAylake on Facebook . Type it in just like that fellars, come c me

    • derrick

      how do you think all those fish are delivered to pay lakes?

      • Ted Abbott

        And the good Lord said I give you dominion over all the fish of the seas, the earth and animals go out and subdue it! I think he meant get smart enough to manage it wisely.

      • Ted Abbott

        Usually in a tank truck. And all those fish only add up to 3 large fish…if that. And most are little ones 20-40 lbers. If a Pay lake gets 10 big fish a year they are very lucky guys. Lets all get real! Start dealing with facts…Geese!

    • Ted Abbott

      Jared is Right! Instead of trying to take fish we should be working together to increase the demand. We are intelligent people and managing for demand is part of the DNR's Job! If they stocked Catfish like bass and walleyes there would be plenty! All of our monies goes to DNR's we need to approach them for a better stocking plan equal with the Bass and waleye, crappie, and other game fish. Catfish is still considered a rough forage fish by DRN aren't they! Together we could get more done. If you fight to regulate commercial fishing and theres is still a problem…the next step will be to regulate you and I know you won't like that! Lets all get together and manage this better!

  • David Ellis

    I'm just a plain WV country boy and I've fished rivers and I've fished paylakes all my life. I've had success in both.But as an over all favorite I am a die hard paylake man. There is more of a competitive nature to paylaking and for the most part it's more exciting, and that's what I like. It just sounds to me, that a bunch of whine tit river men can't catch anything and decide to take it out on us. I've seen on numerous occasions this past couple of months of commercial fisherman fishing the Potomac and the Ohio busting fish over 50 lbs. So they don't have a problem catching them. Why can't YOU!!! Thank you, have a good one!!

    • derrick

      if you put out five hundred nets your bound to catch something.

      • Ted Abbott

        See it is statements like that wih no factual background proof that make your statement so small. The DNR knows how many nets we are allowed!

    • derrick

      they are using hundreds of nets on hundreds of miles of river.i am using three rods.do the math.

      • Ted Abbott

        Derrick get real and figure it out. None of us could use that many nets! Nor could we afford them! hahahaa

  • David Ellis

    I'm just a plain WV country boy and I've fished rivers and I've fished paylakes all my life. I've had success in both.But as an over all favorite I am a die hard paylake man. There is more of a competitive nature to paylaking and for the most part it's more exciting

  • BIGCATHUNTER

    I've been a PAYLAKER for years now and LOVE it. People want to sit and cry about not being able to catch river cats… Sounds to me that someone needs to learn how to fish. I personally fish both and have no problem catching fish from either. Most of the time the people who complain about paylakes dont even care about the river… They are just being a sourpuss because they tried it one time and had a bad experience. There are many times i hear people saying theres no fish in the lake and these places are a joke then ten minutes later when they catch the biggest cat they have ever caught it just turned into the best place in the world. Not to mention the accessibility for the kids, disabled, injured vets. I couldnt count how many smiles ive seen on the old, young, or disabled. For being able to catch a fish. People need to be more supportive of our local businesses and not let the state/ governments take them away from us as well what next a FISHING POLE BAN.

    • derrick

      its not about the business.its about protecting our natural resource.take the big fish out of the paylake and see how fun you think it is.

  • Brad Fortner

    Paylakes have been around for years and this debate has gone on for years the facts r simple even though they harvest 100's of 1000's of pounds of cats the fishing in the rivers is still getting better not worse so all u river fisherman just need to lay off us paylakers and quit crying.

    • derrick

      how do you know if the river fishing is getting better if you fish paylakes.

  • Jim Reed

    Ron Brooks is more than fair. He has agreed to conduct a steady by Ohio river biologist and KY commercial fisherman to see first hand if the big fish are gone or not ,and if thy are he has agreed to make some changes if needed. What more can be said, if the big fish have vanished I would like to no win this all happened it’s news to me. The problem is that it is hard for any person to realize just how many big fish are out there in the oh river system. The commercial guys have been taking these fish out of these rivers for over fifty years and thy are still there and if they weren’t so many people wouldn’t be out there fishing for them, most of the guys that are raising such a fuss are hard core guides which charge  and make there money from these same public waters as the commercial guys do, most of them catch skip jack and shad and sell them for money also from these same public waters.what it all comes down to is a group of selfish  people that are willing to bash and run over top of any one with out regard to so many that has worked so hard for there paylakes and the millions of people that enjoy fishing them each year ,thy do all of this just that it might make it a little better for them,there is enough big fish in the river to support both, the pay lake industry and the sport fisherman and I believe the last fifty years has proven this to us all,as far as the comment constantly made by this group about taking these fish from public waters for profit, that’s what commercial fishing is and it takes place all over the world in are ocean.s and rivers and if you have a problem with this you need to stop eating sea food that someone made a profit from taking out of are public oceans,the paylakes and commercial fishing which has given to so many has created jobs and million,s in revenue to are area, its are jobs and our way of live and its hard to believe so many could be so heartless toward so many, and you wonder what has happen to are economy in this country.

    • derrick

      again, this is not about doing away with pay lakes or commercial fishing .this is about protecting our resource.are you saying your against protecting the resource that you rely on?

    • justin browning

      there has to be restrictions put in place look at the buffalo its not about closeing all paylakes trophy fish dont last long in thees places thats why they have to stock over and over again you cant keep taking and taking and taking there has to be restrictions put in place and kentucky needs to step to the plate befor its to late .

  • Paylaking FIsherman

    This is really a cut and dry subject. If they are drying up, why are the big fish still coming out of the rivers year after year, plain and simple. It's not like these commercial fisherman (who been doing it for yeaarrrsss) are growing fish on trees, it's the water system that is flourishing that provides these fish for the fishermen, rather it be paylakes, river fisherman, guides or charters.

    We have eye witnesses from these people that have concerns that say they have seen, with their own eyes, fish coming out with 300 and 400 pounds of fish per line, so does that not prove that the fish are in abundance and flushing? If a person (Dale Broughton) for example is chartering or has a guide service, what are you running a boat out for? For shad? Bluegills? NO!! How in the world can a guy still have a successful business if the fish aren't there?

    Dale Broughton says they are not there yet you alone "Dale", said they was there and seen it with your own eyes, hmm, don't take rocket science to figure this one out. Not sure why some are hell bent on ruining it but we shall see soon enough. Who cares if these guys commenting on this article cancel their description, if In-Fisherman, spent more time covering paylakes (no matter what the skeptics say) i could have my member base of millions from the tri-state area subscribe and enjoy the magazine.

  • River man

    Well do you look at James dumpsters these fish wouldn't die in the wild boys and girl I do catch nice fish in the river but people like this don't release them back into there natural inhabitence instead over stock a small pound where they have no flow of water and natural food they die but I guess people will saport them because of no respect for true fishing and the price u pay for a ticket you could get gas to go fish in the wild

  • River man

    I catch nice fish in the wild every year and in a few years will the big ones still have good numbers I say no due to paylakes over stocking our trophy fish and have to restock every year because the last years river fish died in there 12foot pounds aventuley they will have only channel cats to stock so whatever I say it's you paylakes that can't fish go troll the river with your bobber it don't work if you call that real fishing you sadly misstakeing have fun while it lasts pay pounders

  • ron mexico

    Lmfao u river,boat hardline fisherman,kill,me,…i will only say one thing..thank you james reed for providing an environment where i dont need,to spend 100k to watch,my son catch the,fish of,his,life….the,one,thing,that i love the,most is how,u nincompoop elitists say we,have,no skills when i use 2 poles a bucket and,i never sit,still for,hours on end chasin my dream catch while u true,elitists float in your,boat with,your buckets of,chum and,your,fishfinders and 30 rods..see,i live,in,this place called reality u,guys should try,it,out

    • derrick

      you do realize your fishing in a pond that is stocked with ten thousand pounds of fish every year?explain the skill for me.100k?buckets of chum?30 rods?do you realize the fish you are catching were caught with trot lines with hundreds of hooks, hoop and gill nets stretched along the river banks as far as you can see, that is reality.

  • jessica wiley

    Let me just say there is plenty of fish in the river!! Im so tired of people always talking about how people miss treat or abuseing the fish and takeing them out the river. Dont the river guys kill alot of the big fish when they transport them in for weigh inns????

    • derrick

      I am not sure what you consider a big fish.in my neck of the woods if you have a half dozen forty pound fish brought to the scales in a season per club your lucky.we may loose a fish or two in a season, but not tens of thousands of pounds every year.how do you know there are plenty of fish in the river?

  • jtanner

    Wasting an article come on man I thinks its a very good article.. I understand where u river guys are comin from but there is plenty of big fish and plenty of rivers holding big fish… I am glad to see paylakes gettin more spotlight cause fishin paylakes and paylake tourneys are gettin popular and serious. . If I had a boat I would prob be on the river more but I dont have that has a choice so fish paylakes a lot and have won a disscent amount of money to.. catfishermans paradise put us 'paylakers' on the map… good article and good choice in fisherman.. big ups to travis and to james puttin a good fishin hole together for us paylakers

    • justin

      they are raping the rivers of trophy fish so you can catch oneout of a pond befor it dies to me thats not fishing same as hunting for big bucks in a pen .

  • Jeremy

    Well from the post I'm reading it sounds like there are a bunch of fisherman that don't want to put in the time to find the big cats in the rivers I pay lake and river fish a lot and still catch 40 50 pounders all the time you just got to know where to fish and for everyone wanting to talk crap about pay laking it's a good fun time James reeds setup is very nice he has put his heart and soul in these lakes. I try to visit there once or twice a week and its nice to go there and see kids that are 10 or 11 years old catching monster cats it just makes there day. So going on what I said James Reed keep up the good work and I can't wait to see you in the middle of February 2013 to pull in some big hogs #SUPPORT PAYLAKES

    • jtanner

      FISH ON!!!

  • KYCatMan

    What need be done is to regulate the Pay lakes to hatchery and farm grown fish and make it illegal to take or purchase catfish or anything kind of species from river/ lakes. Also there should be a size limit on the Commercial side and check in with Conservation officer after every trip.

  • Fud

    Wow just WOW, Notice the theme of paylakers who jumped in with the mentality of a 10 yr old. This is the problem you think your owed the right to catch a trophy fish. And saying things like i have only caught a 65lb fish and it was hard doesn't help your cause at all. I have been fishing hard on the big O and on the inland waters of Indiana for the past 3 years and my biggest fish is 35lbs. Now i know your saying its because i just dont know how to fish. But thats simply not the case. I have talked to the locals all over the state and along the Ohio and its the same everywhere. The Quality of fish has declined in recent years. You want to know how he is able to keep putting those big fish in the pits? I will tell you, There is this thing called winter when the fish tend to pile up in deep holes and you can bet your ass that every one of them has a commercial net in it right now. Probably covering most of the Ohio river and any other river systems they can still legally put them in. So there are all these nets sitting for days they are going to catch fish some will even die. If there was no problem why are these other states banning or putting limits on them? In-Fisherman and anyone with common sense can see the problem. If you paylakers think you deserve to catch trophy fish then go sit on the bank of a water that naturally holds them. You dont have to have a boat or thousands of dollars in gear. Stop making excuses to rationalize something you know is wrong. Taking fish from other states water ways to put in your mud pit to live maybe a year is WRONG no iffs ands or buts.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dwiehe Daniel MinnowJohnson Wiehe

      Wow just wow.. notice all these butt hurt river fisherman that jumped on here. This survey will tell the truth. I know if the survey comes out in favor of the ones complaining about paylakes.. I will accept it and move on. Question is if it comes out in favor for the paylakes will you quit your butt hurt and learn how to fish. FYI Folz paylake has had the same spoonbill catfish or paddlefish which ever you prefer for 15 years. Still alive in there.

    • derrick

      well put!

  • Jason Kuhn

    wow soooo much negative feed back. look i never really though that with these guys taking there nets to the river would downsize the blue and flathead catfish on the ohio river. i understand that this is a considerable issue HOW EVER i have caught the biggest fish in my life at catfishermans paradise and EVERY time i have went i have had a great time!!!!! and im sure in the years to come i will continue catching bigger and bigger catfish i love that place and if i could pitch a tent and live on those lakes i would NEVER leave!!!!!!the staff are ALWAYS friendly about 80% of the time i have bought live bait from there they have thrown a couple extra fish too me just to be nice. yes there pockets are filling with money but so wat these guys made a profession about doing something they love and thats reeling in those hoggies!!!! i look up to these guys and if i ever had the chance to set something up like they have i wouldnt hesitate to do it!!!

    • justin

      you are fishing in a pond stocked full of river fish so you should be able to catch a fish there the thing is the fish being stocked in these mudholes wont live long in there so he has to keep rapeing the river so you can catch a fish befor it dies this has to stop befor its to late .

  • savethecatfish

    Let's not pretend that these comments are about fishing ability. I think most people that sport fish know how to fish well enough, and the vast majority have put in the time to learn how to do it. And I think most of us could find spots to set a net — it's easy enough to find a congregation of fish, especially in the winter. These comments aren't about money, either — either group could spend as much or as little as they wanted while doing their kind of fishing. These comments are about whether it's right to net a sportfish, when we don't allow that practice for any other species of sportfish. We don't allow caged hunting for deer, because we respect the deer. We don't allow castnetting for bass. What these comments are revealing is that enough people now respect catfish as sportfish that we are not going to allow them to be netted anymore. A big catfish could always be moved to a paylake, provided it was caught legally by hook and line. But if that were the case, I don't think the population of river fish would be affected much.

  • Willie

    Thank you In-Fishermen. I'll start by stating Commercial fishermen and paylakes serve a purpose theres no doubt there.I have over 35 years experience of catfishing experience,I have been on both sides of the fence.In the last 5 years I have seen a decline in the number and size of Trophey cats in the river.Whether anyone wants to admit it or not this is" not "an endless resource it takes time and management to ensure a resource like this will be there for generations to come. If it is not managed properly not only will the river fishermen suffer ,but the paylakes will also,If the fish are no longer Trophey size fish there to catch ,they are no longer Trophey size fish there to stock.Everyone is trying to make this a … we V's them…When it should be a…We are working together.This is the only way to ensure a future for everyone to enjoy

    • Jacob Fisher

      Thats exactly how this is going to go. There will be people fighting on sides and that is probably unavoidable. Their arent enough people that want both sides to work together. The kind of people that fish in the rivers and paylakes are not the type of people to back down from what they believe in. This small battle will quickly turn into a war.

  • Jacob Fisher

    We dont allow caged hunting for deer!? Wake up. There is a place in Columbus that does just that. I cant remember the name of it but it is right off of I71. These guys have 12' fences all around the property so the deer cannot escape. Depending on the deer you shoot you can end up paying 20,000$!!!! How is that any different? How about hunting leases? Guys pay thousands of dollars every year to be able to hunt a farm. The deer are free to roam wherever they desire, just like the fish in the Ohio river. These fish can swim miles in a day. What paylake owners do is just like any hunter. The fair chase is there. Now there is a limit on what a hunter can kill every year, but how many people do you think follow that? I know several people that have killed more than 10 deer in a season and they dont get bothered. Want to know why?? Because for some people that is how they survive. Yes, there are still people out there that live off the land. What James Reed does is how he survives and provides for his family. Not only is he providing for his family but he has provided for fisherman. People drive from hundreds of miles to come fish his lakes. People like James are not depleting the Ohio river. That river holds more fish than anybody could ever imagine. It would take a whole heck of a lot more than what paylake owners do to hurt our river systems. If people cannot see that then they are just as ignorant as their typing and spelling makes them seem. James Reed is a great person and I hope that fools will not try to take away something incredible that he has to offer to people. Keep up the hard work James.

    • savethecatfish

      Ohio allows caged hunting AND paylakes? I guess in that state a little money buys every trophy. Let me guess — no singles bars, either. Only cathouses. Who needs fair chase if you're rich?

      • Jacob Fisher

        Caged hunting happens all over the country. Ever heard of high fenced deer? Its everywhere bub.

  • J.M

    HEY RIVER GUYS NO WORRIES THERE IS STILL PLENTY OF GAR LEFT FOR YOU IN THE RIVER AND WE WON'T BOTHER THEM. LEAVE THE CATS TO US THAT KNOW HOW TO CATCH FISH APPARENTLY YOU DON'T. YOU WHINE THAT YOU CAN'T CATCH ANY FISH. WELL SEEMS PPL LIKE MR. REED (REAL FISHERMAN) HAVE NO PROBLEMS. AND WE WILL EVEN LEAVE YOUR CARP, AND STRIPERS ALONE TO. SEE WE ARE GOOD SPORTS!! LIGHT BREAD OR WHEATIE BALLS!!!

    • Fud

      This post proves everything.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dwiehe Daniel MinnowJohnson Wiehe

        Yeah because this guy speaks for the rest of us Fud… (sarcasm)

  • Ted Abott

    Hey Hey Hey…How come all of a sudden you guys are the only people in the world? You should be ashamed of your charters and the way you talk to good people. You act like you paid for everything the state of Ohio does for fisherman yourselves, and that it is your business that was personally set up by you alone. Well…YOU did not build that ! I can't believe some of your made up comments. Gentlemen, I buy a fishing permit same as you do. And a commercial fisherman not only feeds people, but obliviously pay a lot more than you do and help fund the Ohio Water resources! Paylakes in the State Ohio should be funded one- one hunderedth as much as River catfishing is. You guys even liken yourselves to the fine art of Bass or Crappie fishing?
    Paylakes are a great recreational resource for many of Ohio's elderly, many are handicapped accessible too. A priceless commodity that you will one day reach once you've entered in your wisdom years. Not everyone can buy a 10,000 boat, not everyone can .navigate the rivers waters and most certainly everyone should have as much right to fish for these fish regardless as to you name calling and bad mouthing. Educate yourselves before you make a fool out of yourselves. The State of Ohio recognizes Paylakes for what they are. A Local recreational resource where locals can enjoy and evening out with their friends and families. They teach children how to fish and many church groups enjoy them as well. Fellers it is simple, stop being so greedy, You don't need them all and certainly fish have been harvested for many years out of the Ohio River and other inland lakes. Heck come on out if your not catching any fish…we'll help you out. I have extra poles and the education of what it is really about will surprise you.. I can introduce you to to gentleman who just love to fish but are unable to fish the River. Many have to travl long distances to hit a good river.Most couldn't afford your styles. I'll make you a challenge. You fish with me, see the real art of paylaking. And I'll fish with you find out what your sport is all about, and I;ll just bet we will both have a great day on the water. I am guessing not all River fisherman are haters only. But likewise on the paylake we have hot heads as well. I say we have concrete discussions, with proven facts and less hearsay. We all get upset over hearsay! And it shows a lack of caring for our fellow man as well as how ignorant nonthinking is.
    -Ted 01-31-2013

    • derrick

      you just proved that the side your taking is all about the mighty dollar.we all pay state taxes so in a way we do own a piece.

  • concerned fisherman

    The issue is way bigger than pay lakes people the human race has been exploiting the earths resources for personal gain since the beginning of time we have driven numerous species to extinction and we are pushing many more beond their limit. We all need to be more responsible so future generations can enjoy all of the things we do. I know I sound like some kind of tree hugger I dont care. There is an answer to this issue. And both sides need to work together to find it. Lets not let the one thing we all agree on ( that catfish are awesome ) turn into the next buffalo.

  • Dale Sides

    No one has said any thing about stopping all CF,s we just want some regulation and Limits ""' you cant continue to Take at this rate without depleting the resource These fish are 30 plus years old and to replace that fish it will take 30 years.W.Va.,Penn., and Ohio allow NO cf,s Ill has size and possession limits ..People Like Reed will Catch and sell the Last Cat fish and make the last dollar on it and go on to something else and still not see a problem. We want to get something done before this happens, and the deer are farm raised deer not wild deer caught and penned Like the Catfish are

  • Kingcat

    I for one fish alot of diff. paylakes, not just one, and the big catfish in them still live a few yrs. i know one that one i fish that believe me or not, i dont care, i have seen it, they do grow as well. saw the same fish with a tag in it top fin that weighed 44 lbs, then a yr later the same fish with the same tag number it weighed i do believe like 46 or something like that. I have as well fished the rivers and have caught many big cats biggest being in the river was 63 lb flathead/shovel head. i have seen many other caught as well in the same rangs. The rivers and lake are BIG bodies of water, how in the world are they gong away in numbers, each river has a flow from another river, ( Ex. ) the little miami flows in the the great miami and others as well, the great miami flows into the ohio river, how in world are all the fish being caught, THERE NOT, in no way shape or form, i was brought up by one of the best paylakers i know my stepdad and my late step uncle, and been fishing them for 30 yrs. and the river and lakes are better now then they were then, and as well as the paylakes. So at this i will cont. to fish paylake's NOT just one but asd many as i can.

  • BIGCATHUNTER

    Here is the deal.
    Some of the river guys I really think they care about this issue. And that's ok, that's what America was founded on. But I see issues with there claims as well. The reason's they want to stop commercial fishing is so the guide services on the ohio river can see more numbers of paying customors coming to them so they can be took out and put on big catfish. Now..what is wrong with that you might ask? Well nothing really, its called bussiness. The problem with this is they want to eleminate there biggest competition for big catfish by making up story's or false claims against paylakes, to force the laws to be changed to there benefit. That's the samething Wal-Mart did to any company that got in there way, they would just pound new laws and support new laws that helped kill the little man and in the end they have made out with huge profits.
    Second point. Since facebook/you tube has gotten so popular over the last 5 years they see how BIG Paylakin has really become. We have no corp sponsers, nothing really big like they do. But I tell you what we do have, we have some damn good turn outs for tournaments. And it just pisses them off to no end that someone that fishes a paylake can have the chance to A. Catch big catfish B. Win alot of money doing it. And that's the part i don't understand. Is it jealously, is it greed, or is it just plain and simply ignorant people that have access to the internet. I mean come on…The same fish that you are fighting for have been harvested for YEARS!!! and sent to fish markets and slaughtered! And sold…Commercial fishing is a big bussiness. Just like guiding is a big bussiness. If you can think of a good idea to make money and provide for your family and you are successful at it that's called the American Dream…James Reed has done that. I have known James for years. He is just a good ol country boy that has grew up hunting,fishing,trapping and just enjoying the outdoors. Not only is he a good commercial fisherman but a damn good deer hunter as well. Now lets look at paylakin for a min. A person catchs there own fish, hauls them to a pond. All the paylakes I fish are 2+ acers, and are over 12' to 14' deep. Some are 5 acers and 30' to 40' deep. All have tons of shad,bluegills,bass,crappie,chubs,goldfish and whatever else has been used for bait there. So then the commercial fisherman stocks these fish in there lake, and charge a ticket price for people to come out and fish for these fish. They also sell bait,tackle, and food and snacks. They have tournaments just like the river guys do, and we all have fun fishing. I see nothing different about what a paylake does and what a guide on the river does. The only difference is James brings the fish to us and we still have to find them and catch them. Its all about money, its a bussiness. Guiding fisherman is all about the money, its a bussiness….And just cause you put fish in a paylake don't mean they automaticaly bite everything they see. These fish are smart, just like they are smart in the rivers. Hense the reason the river guys have issues catching them. I just cant understand why all the hatred towards guys that have been successful at something they truely care about. If the river guys really wanna help the catfish, how bout stopping the use of gill nets? They don't catch just spoonbills or catfish! They catch alot of different kinds of fish, and most of which die in the nets. But I don't see any river guys making that claim. All I see is how paylakes have done this and paylakes have done that. And lets stop them so we can have better fishing in the rivers so our guides can make more money, the river tournaments will be bigger…Its all greed guys…Us paylakers just want a piece of the pie and that it…You can have the rest. We have coexisted for decades, but now cause of facebook and you tube its a issue…And I think Rob wrote a great article showing both sides. And if you disagree with it, hey that's your opion…Everyone has that right. But you should not throw rocks when you live in a glass house. And you should not hate on a man that has became successful working his a** off to get there.

    • Jacob Fisher

      You hit the nail on the head with this one. Couldnt have said it better.

    • Fud

      WRONG! The main complainers are not Guides. There is only a few guides for these large stretches of water. Its all of us fishermen and women. And anyone who can see what is happening. it isnt a greed vs greed thing. We want the fish to be where they belong and thriving not struggling to survive. I know thats where we all seem to disagree. But truth be told catfishing has grown and is one of the top sport fished fish and deserves to be treated as such and protected even if its just limiting commercial fisherman to one large catfish per day. Theres also a difference between all those other fish in the paylakes and the catfish. They are farm raised easily and the catfish are taken from public waters that people are paying fishing license to protect and fish for. And no matter what you say having a small pond filled with nothing but large hungry catfish who will die within a year and catching them is no different or better than hunting a very small high fenced ranch with nothing but trophy deer in it. Its not an accomplishment and the fact you have tournaments is funny and sad. Your successful because you stacked the odds in your favor not because you truly know or understand the species. You want a piece of the pie go to the pie dont pay to have it delivered and fed to you. You think the river is big and thats your only reasoning you think the catfish populations are great? Guess what the world is big but where did the buffalo go? With the fact that catfishing has grown in popularity and there is more paylakes which make the commercial guys TARGET large catfish more now than ever they will take until there is no more claiming the whole time there is plenty because its a source of money. Money trumps everything even common sense. Thats why many states have either banned or put a slot limit on commercial fishing, Common sense. Its truly hard to get real accurate data on them you have to put some realistic regulations in place. I dont want paylakes to go away. I just want the large catfish to be protected and limited to commercial fisherman. This wont break their bank. Now bring on the thumbs downs!

      • Jacob Fisher

        Show me scientific proof that the populations are depleting and I will agree with you. The state says deer numbers are higher than ever…yet i have not killed one since 2009. Does that have anything to do with population? No! If i spent more time in the woods and put more effort into it I wouldnt have any problems. The same goes for fishing in the rivers. BRING ON THE STUDY

    • fishinthecove

      GREATcomment, Totally agree with everything u just said….. i love to paylake and always will, if they take away the fish from paylakes i will stop fishing all together everywhere except where commercial fishing is allowed.

    • Hagar

      If paylake owners do such a good job of taking care of their catfish why are they regularly re-stocking the lakes.

  • justin browning

    look i grew up at a paylake that my familiy owned. bottom line is trophy fish especially blues wont last long in these mudholes .you guys can sit here and say you guys dont know what your talking about because you have never fished one . well not only have i fished them i lived at one for 20 years .theres nothing you or anyone eles is going to tell me about the business that i dont already know .at least james greed will admit that the mortality rate is high the sad thing is its still alot higher then he says its all about money this is why he has to stock over and over again .

  • Cody HOlt

    I am 14 years old and have been fishing pay lakes for 5 years. We are the new generation of paylakers, and have the same love for fishing that all of the river fisherman do. I fish both the river and the paylakes and like the paylakes more. Some people like to fish for bass and some people like to fish for catfish. Some people like to fish the river and some people like to fish the paylakes. When i go to the river i fish from the banks, throw out and get snagged throw out and get snagged. The river is a waste of money unless you have a boat to fish off of. For people that do not have a boat, paylakes help them to catch fish, which is the same reason river fisherman with boats fish the river. When you say that the fish getting caught alot hurts them you are wrong. If that hurts the fish then what about when you river fisherman pick them up with the yellow boga grips. That is putting alot of pressure on the fishes jam. At least when a big blue or any blue gets caught at a paylake it stays on the ground, except for when you are carying to fish to the dock in a NET, dipping the fish in the water for 30s or so about every 50ft or so. I have watched tons of videos of the river fisherman letting 20lb + blues flop around in the boat while they are reeling in another fish!!!!!!! Lets take a river tournament for example. For example the Rising Sun Catfish tournament in Indiana each year has probably an estimate of 100 teams. Lets say that there are 5 fish caught per team that is 500 fish. These fish are shoved into a 5 by 5 ft live well for what 6-1 0hours depending on the tournament! That is not different than fish being put in a Fish truck that is like 20 ft long by 8 ft wide for 3-4 hours until they get to go into the lake with plenty of water and aireation. I have gone to that tournament for 3 years in a row. The people bring the fish up in a weigh in box and then DUMP them into another box for the weight. These fish are out of the water for at least 1o mins per team weigh in. Which means when these fish get put back in the river they need to be revived. but that is not the case they put the fish on a fish slip and slide and slide them down a schute back into the water. Thes fish then float doen the river until they get their strength back. Which in my opinion cuases a good amount of stress. Oh and what a about the handicap? It is alot harder for a person in a wheel chair to get onto a boat and be able to move around to get to the rods then it would be for them to go to a pond an fish from the bank. You guys who are pon here dissing paylakes need to put yourselves in other peoples perspectives other than yours. There are tons of fish to catch in the river. There are tons of videos on KYAFIELD on youtube sampling catfish on the ohio river and other rivers in the area. These populations are very strong. There have been way more 70lb + fish caught in the past 2 years than there has been in a long time including the world record the maryland recond and many other records. If your spots on the rivers are nto producing like they have been then maybe the fish have moved to other water due to the lack a baitfish or the pressure from barges and boaters. But no when you cant catch fish the first conclusion that you come to is its all the commercial fishermans fault. Find a new spot or learn how to fish. I see just as many big bloated blues and carp floating down the river as i do up againts the bank at the paylakes. I see charter boats with channels and blues nailed to a board that they have on there websites showing what they catch. I would love to see the pictures that you have showing fish in dumpsters at his lakes. I fish there often and have never seen any fish being thrown in a dumbster. They take them to the woods and despose of them properly. When the fish flop around in the boats they loose there slime coat which is the fishes main protection layer. Same thing happens at paylakes with the fish being set on the ground or on the dock. Also its better when big fish are sent to paylakes were they can at least live a little bit more of their lifes rather then sent to the slaughter house like stated above. The fish have being harvested for years and years and the population is still growing steadly. For all of you river fisherman who think that paylakes are like shooting fish in a barrel or whatever i would love to see some of you guys at the lakes this year if it is so easy. I would love for you to come and show me just how easy it is to catch fish in the lakes.

  • Fud

    Where is my reply?

  • Jay

    This needs to be stopped!

  • Buminbeer2

    You pay lake guys really get me. Simply, what is the problem with you guys, fishing for cats that were stocked from a farm into the ponds? I know some of you will say they are not trophy size, fine. Then simply have one or more of the pay lakes designated as trophy only, no taking and they will get to be big. If you can't keep them, they stay and grow, then no point in raiding the rivers for our trophy fish, right? So, now you are supplied all the fish you need from farms, it's a win-win.
    Also, I don't really think I would brag too much out of catching fish from a bathtub, sounds as much fun as saying you caught herpes from a prostitute, kind of a given. So, back to the subject, why does the fish have to come out of public waters for you pay-lake guys? Given everything I stated above, I can't think of one good reason. P.S., I hope Kentucky passes a law against the harvesting of any trophy fish, then that ends this kind of stupidity and thinking.

    • Jacob Fisher

      You guys are still hung up on the fact that this needs to be stopped now. Paylakes have been around for 40 or 50 years. What has changed? Ill tell you what has changed. The rivers have become more populated. If its such an issue why wasnt something done 20 years ago? Because it wasnt a problem then and it isnt a problem now. Paylakes are not going to go away. I agree that if the studies show that the populations of fish in the river are declining then something needs to happen. Until then though, the uneducated fisherman will not see any change. The river fisherman can complain all they want. Maybe they should put this kind of effort into catching more fish and they probably wouldnt be saying a word.

  • Beespringer

    Paylakes can operate by buying their fish from farms. We don't need to let our rivers keep getting raped so private ponds can make money. If thIs were Bass or crappie instead of catfish than the States would make changes instantly!

  • Ryan

    I love how the paylake supporters justify and rationalize there cause with there ignorant comments. What would we expect them to say? They know the end is comming for them. Let them spout off with b/s and threats. Good luck commercial guys. Those nets must be getting expensive!

    • vic long

      don't get caught this year dnr has a sting for cfs setting cameras up on nets and trot lines protection.

  • barnold51

    It seems to me that if pay lakes were so good and the fish so well treated the Small Mouth bass and Wallye corouds would welcome them also. As we know you can't commercial fish "game" fish. The catfish hasn''t been classified as a game fish therefore they can be commercially fished. It is wrong and all states need to reclasify the catfish to game fish.

  • J.M

    BY LOOKING AT PICS ON SOME OF YOU RIVER, AND EVEN INFISHERMAN MAGAZINE AND ALL THE CONSERVATION PPL'S FACEBOOK PAGES. YOU MIGHT WANT TO LEARN HOW TO HANDLE A FISH BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT DOING IT. I GUARANTEE THE PICS I SEE ON PAGES LIKE THE OHIO VALLEY CATFISHING FEDERATIONS PAGE THAT THOSE BIG CATS DIDN'T MAKE IT BY THE WAY THEY WERE HANDLED. AND I THOUGHT I SAW WHERE THEY WERE EVEN COMPLAINING ABOUT THE SPORT OF NOODLING OMG COME ON PPL. NOODLING IS PROBALY THE OLDEST METHOD OF CATFISHING AND YOUR COMPLAINING ABOUT IT TO. I THINK YOU JUST WANT SOMETHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT AND WHINE AND CRY ABOUT. AND IT HAS TO BE THAT YOU ARE SUCH BAD FISHERMAN AND CAN'T CATCH FISH THAT YOU HAVE TO BLAME SOMETHING OR SOMEONE.

  • commonsensefish

    I have been sport fishing the Ohio River since the late 70s.  It was very rare back then to catch a blue cat weighing over 20 pounds. They were not there!  Not it is nothing to catch 35 pounders and up on a regular basis!  Check the records set from the Ohio River in the past 10 years and you will see that the river is better than ever!  River fishermen should be careful what they wish for . . . .they might just get it!
     
    I have seen countless ponds throughout the years with bluegill 3/4 to 1 1/2 pounds.  These fish are big because fishermen keep them "thinned out".  Then it never fails . . .some jealous fisherman goes to the owner and complains that "other" fishermen are taking too many or all of their fish.  The owner then stops all (or most) fishing and within 2 years the pond is over populated with tiny bluegill.  This has happenedin rivers and various bodies of water with catfish all over the United States!
     
    You guys holler against commercial fishermen like they were the devil . . . but if you were smart you would make friends with them.  They actually make your fishing better by slightly "thinning" the herd!  If you went with them you would see how most of your comments are ignorant, misinformed and uneducated!
     
    First of all gill nets can only be set close to the bank in calm "no current" water.  They cannot be set "in" or within 150 ft. of any creek or river that dumps into the Ohio River.  The fabled "winter schools" of catfish cannot be touched with gill nets.  The catfish are not close to the banks in the winter time!  Gill nets are ran every 24 hours and the mesh is a minimum 10" stretched.  That means all sport fish swim "thru" the net unharmed.  Also most commercial guys using gill nets are fishing for paddlefish or buffalo and the rest is released unharmed!  And despite the lies constantly told on TV, the internet and Indiana DNR, paddlefish are not endangered!  The Ohio River is absolutely packed full of paddlefish!
     
    Also hoop nets only work good about 3 weeks of the year.  All sportfish are released and again if you set them out in the current away from the shore . . . kiss them goodbye!
     
    90% of the river cannot be commercially fished!  90% of the cats cannot be caught with nets! 
     
    The great state of Ohio recently hired Kentucky commercial fishermen to help "thin" the population in lots of their large lakes and rivers.  The fishermen could sell their catch to local markets, the commercial guys had to come home!  Guess why?  The fish were all eyeballs and bones!  Over populated and undernourished!  Too late for them!  OVER regulating does not work!
     
    As far as large cats go, biologists say a 50 lb. cat from the Ohio River is only an average of 8 years old!  A catfish lays millions of eggs each year!  Guess what?  They reproduce!  They restock themselves!  Hard to believe I know . . . but true!
     
    How come the catfish tourney guys can keep big cats in small tanks with inadequate aerators for long periods of time and after the weigh in .  . . they die!  I have seen it with my own eyes!  Why is this tolerated?
     
    I was at the catfish meeting in Frankfort with Ron Brooks, commercial fishermen and sport fishermen.  The sport fishermen admitted that they were catching more and bigger cats than ever!  They do not see a problem with the fish now but are "concerned" about the "future" of these "big" cats! (Continue to next post….)

  • Commonsensefish

    Commercial fishing has been going on since time began!  It is mentioned in the Bible!  George Washington was a commercial fisherman!  And funny . . . .but everytime the catfisherman doesn't catch well he always has the commercial guy to blame!  You know . . . it is "them damn nets" or "them commercial juys have ruined the river!
     
    I fish paylakes also and sometimes (even though the lakes are fully stocked) the fish just do not bite!  Whom do they have to blame?  Come on guys. . . .it's fishing!  They don't "bite" all the time!  The Ohio River is huge and changing and you have to be in the "right" place at the "right" time with the "right" bait!  Who said fishing was easy?  Fishing ain't easy!
     
    It would be great if every tournament "everbody" caught 50 pounders!  Stop of hinder commercial fishing and you will only catch more small fish!
     
    You guys compare rivercats to Bison.  Come on!  How ridiculous! Buffalo were sitting ducks and whether your commercial or sport fishing . . . . catfish are hard to catch!
     
    Attempts in the late 70s, early 80s to stop trapping failed.  However due to these efforts (by the Humane Society and others) fur prices dropped, trappers quit and now we are overun with coyotes, coons and other overpopulated sickly animals!
     
    Ever notice how "every" animal or fish shown on National Geographic is endangered?  They say it is so . . so it must be true!  You guys know these big cats are not endangered!  You want them all to yourselves!  Talk about GREED! Or is it jealousy?
     
    There are no facts or statistics that justify regulating the cats on the Ohio River at the present time!  Only rumors and misinformed people spreading incorrect information!  As stated before . . . .Be careful, you might just "get" what you "wish" for!

    Commonsensefish

  • Jeremy

    Do we really need to have the government regulate something else. Most every hunting show on TV has someone taking a trophy deer at a place where they are specifaccly raised to trophy size with the intention of being shot. Then they get on there and go on about what great hunters they are. At one point you could sit at a computer and actually guide someone into taking your trophy for you online. It seems to me that the time and money towards legislation could be much better spent making sure innocent people are not being killed or that more jobs are created or find a way that we can avoid paying 4 dollars a gallon for gas. Seems to me that there are to many self righteous people on both sides. Now I will offer a simply solution which is the right of every red blooded american. If you want to fish paylakes then fish them and if you don't then don't. Quit trying to impose your personal views and opinions on the rights of each individual. Let folks make there own decisions.

  • Ted Abbott

    THE OHIO RIVER BATTLE for Catfish Species -Feb 2013-

    Let’s stop the battle, the words, and the hard feelings towards one another. Instead let us seek to find solutions and resolutions. Since the beginning of America we have been a people that have used supply and demand and created employment and support opportunities. (Positive)

    The River decision that the Department of Natural Resources(DNR) is investigating has come to the attention of many anglers across the nation. Assuredly very close attention will be paid to the fairness and opportunities that the DNR will be deciding on.

    The Department of Natural Resources was established to define and manage our waters, and wildlife and natural resources across the lands and waters of our nation for our benefit. To date they have done a very fine job. But there is always room for creative opportunities.

    A division has occurred between anglers about the OHIO River and it has created bad hearts and bad circumstances for both sides of the issue. Neither side wants to see Fish extinct from the OHIO. This also needs to be addressed as a part of the resolution, or any decisions to regulate, or rule the Ohio River Waterways.

    One side calls for Regulations (Ohio River Cat fishermen) the other side (Commercial Fishermen) calls for equality and for no Regulated (non-necessary) limited permitting of species of rough forage catfish. Limits have already been in place.
    No one wants to see Catfish species vanish.

    Apparently the Topic was brought to the attention of the DNR by a House Bill 403 proposed without proper data records and study. A house bill proposed without documented study?
    Although a 1 year study is currently being preformed by the DNR at this time. This information has not been released for any scrutiny or cross study. Many Anglers feel that the varying degrees of water, flow, temps, floods, and many other easily acknowledged factors should be studied before a decision is made, and that a simple 1 year study is simply not an acceptable study period pending the varying factors of a river. Many feel that quite a bit more time is needed (a 5 Year Study recommended) to obtain data for an acceptable and reliable study in order to make a good decision on any House Bill or proposal by the DNR to place any further limitation and regulation on the commercial fisherman of the Ohio River. During the study opportunities will present themselves for further development.
    Catfish have become an important specie to many local restaurants and to the growing recreational resources we call Pay lakes, and the commercial fishing industry. Pay lakes supply recreational facilities for our aging population and our young children, and to many professional anglers. Yes they are a bit different than the River fisherman. But all buy into the market place on a trickle down basis to supplies all over. Anglers and commercial fisherman both pay for right to preserve and catch fish. And both should have the same rights to fish as anyone else.
    The regulations purposed would hurt these people, degrade their enjoyment, and hurt employment to a growing industry, and to a great recreational facility. The future regulations would just be passed down to even the river fisherman if the solution to demand is not met and kept up with growing demands.
    Once again I feel compelled to mention that this AMERICA. We meet demands here and the need to regulate decreases.
    Why do we talk regulation and closing of good opportunities… when we should be talking how to meet the demand with increased production and good management?
    Let me ask you this….If Ford or Chevy built a truck and the demand increased…would they limit families to one truck or one county to 2 trucks…..Certainly not. They would increase production to meet demand. And so would you!

    I ask that any House Bill proposed be Tabled for proper Study time and that other alternatives are studied. Proper study, so that we can look into the situation, first, to see if there is a problem and second, to set forth a plan that limits no one but meets the demands of a growing fishing Industry,( an American Industry).

    We have managed Bass, Crappie, Walleye, Striped bass, and many other species with knowledge, some regulation, and funding to great success. It maybe time we do the same with for the catfish species. Build more Hatchery Farms, open closed ones, and build for our futures.

    Sincerely;
    Ted M Abbott.

    • Victor R. Long

      I appreciate your rely I’m one of the aging fishermen that like to fish for the big cats still . So much that i fell at Markland Dam on rip- rap last year and busted a couple of ribs . While fishing for skip-jack and moon-eyes . I just don’t move around on those big rocks like i did in my younger days. But I’m still able to do a little bank fish on my own. It’s easier for me drive to a paylake and enjoy a day of my retirement !

  • pppatrick
  • disqus_FUB7oQOeU7

    Let this be the final word on this matter, at least for anyone with an ounce of common sense: the following comment was made on the Facebook page of Catfisherman’s Paradise yesterday — the very pay lake this article covers. No doubt it will be removed soon.

    .what was goin on last weekend at the lake is why paylakers get a bad name …my buddy sat out there an watched prolly 400 fish get snagged intentionally an people were tellin my buddy hey bro they aint bitin u got to snag em …what really pissed him off was the guy at the damn baitshop had a cartfull of guys goin from lake to lake an prolly snagged over 100 by themrelves…this isnt an indictment of anyone more of a shame on u ….when they push thru this new bill that will ruin paylakes u have yourselves to thank…this kind of shit just adds fuel to the fire of people whod love to see paylakes shut down…just my 2 cents and im only bitchin because i love paylaking an the dice and im the first to defend paradise or james so when i see shit like that i feel obligated to say somethin about it..

  • Victor R. Long

    say they do pass size limit of one fish over 34 inches and what ever else . can the tournament river fishermen live with it . possession means to harvest right . even the bass , crappie ,and walleye fishermen follows any size and numbers regulation . mostly are under or slot sizes for those species . but is there any difference in obeying an over regulation in a tournament for catfish ?

    • nadosky@yahoo.com

      Our Tournaments in ohio waters obey the 35 inch limit. We do not have any problems with that. we allow 2 blues over 35″, 2 Flats over 35″, 2 Channel over 28″ to be allowed to be weighed since teams are 2-3 ppl. There is no issue with this at all.

      • Victor R. Long

        i don’t think you understand what i am talking about the hb 403 which covers kentucky waters which is most of the ohio river legally . it will be one fish over 34inches ( flat or blue ) per person per day . i am sure ohio law will follow along with kentucky hb 403 . since kentucky controls most of the water. you will be limit to the one or will you go to the party boat concept to be able to weigh a bag without limitations .

        • Vince

          The way the limit will work is per person not per boat. It will be like the Ohio and TN slot limits. It will limit each person to one of each species over the limit. Therefore a team of 2 in a boat can still bring 2 blues over 2 flats over and 2 chanells over. In My trail you are only allowed 5 fish per boat so wont be an issue for Tournaments

          • Victor R. Long

            sorry , but are we assuming the regulations are going to be the same as oh and tn . isn’t the final decision on regulations not for 90 days after the bill has been approved ?

            wouldn’t weigh-in combination of all blues and flats be better than having throw a channel in . that is if you can bring them to the scales over 34inches. unless your talking about state record size channel.

            and finally it was you that said a 3 man team. that’s what i was commenting about party boat concept . it was always two man team when i fish the river. third man should never be a factor for weigh in with limits. just unfair to the two man teams.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.wheatley.188 Aaron Wheatley

    Paylakers, Please justify this practice. Straight from some of your pals at Catfishermen Paradise.
    Mexico Ron i wasnt gonna say shit but its burnt my ass for a few days now …what was goin on last weekend at the lake is why paylakers get a bad name …my buddy sat out there an watched prolly 400 fish get snagged intentionally an people were tellin my buddy hey bro they aint bitin u got to snag em …what really pissed him off was the guy at the damn baitshop had a cartfull of guys goin from lake to lake an prolly snagged over 100 by themrelves…this isnt an indictment of anyone more of a shame on u ….when they push thru this new bill that will ruin paylakes u have yourselves to thank…this kind of shit just adds fuel to the fire of people whod love to see paylakes shut down…just my 2 cents and im only bitchin because i love paylaking an the dice and im the first to defend paradise or james so when i see shit like that i feel obligated to say somethin about it…js

    Anthony Reed Yes it was they was snagging 3 or 4 fish at a time at every lake.

    Chris Grebe If people werent putting fish on the bank they wouldnt come out at all . Just come out, pay to support the stocking of big fish in the weeks to come and leave it at that buddy . This has been going on for 10 years and not just at Paradise … You newer guys just blow it up, i watched it happen all winter at Cozy 10 years ago . The fuel to the fire comes into play when you post it online for everyone to read . If what happened at the P stayed at the P there would be no problems

    Emmett Lee Nott III Actually it (snaggin) is beneficial to the lakes themselves because dead and dying fish are being removed from the lakes. The decomposition of matter in water raises ammonia levels and robs the water of dissolved oxygen increasing stress levels on the fish. The people fishing the paylakes aren’t the problem. The river fishermen are concerned with commercial fishermen, paylake owners, and the guys making websites/instructional dvds promoting paylakes. Their argument is that the removal of so many large catfish will be detrimental to the rivers ecosystems and that the ponds they are being stocked into ponds that aren’t capable of handling the amount or size of fish being stocked. Never did i read how they were complaining about how paylakers snag fish. If you have an issue with James opening his lake in February then address him face to face or at least send him a private message don’t call him out on a Facebook comment under a bogus name.

    Mexico Ron i didnt call james out learn to read dickhead and how is draggin a 50 pound fish out by guthookin em beneficial …if it was beneficial why does it say no snagging fish …i defend james and that lake all the time go back and reread my post i wasnt singlin anyone out and i said that ..try readin slower next time

    Emmett Lee Nott III I merely stated how it can be beneficial for the surviving fish. My apologies for making a scientific and logical argument as to how its not as devastating the the fish as some people seem to think it is. Getting caught is getting caught no matter where you hook the fish it still has a hole and produces insanely high adrenaline levels putting the fish through an unhealthy amount of stress no matter the season or how its hooked. I agree with the fact that snaggin is not sporting but then again how sporting is it to fish in an undersized overstocked pond? Furthermore i don’t recall anyone swearing at you or doing any name calling being treated with the same kind of respect that has been shown to you would be appreciated

    Shane Alcorn last year there was huge trebble hooks bn thrown,out n lake just for snagging n they no who they r i dont think it fair to other fisherman cause they have done stressed the fishout n now wont feed for even longer shovelheads dont bite n cold early season n every pic on fb is thst of shovelheads

    Emmett Lee Nott III If i recall correctly someone made the comment “there born in there” when somebody else asked what’s up with all the small fish they were catching at paradise. Im pretty sure that somebody was you shane. I will find out for sure later on tonight and if it wasn’t i will apologize. Im not claiming they spawn in there nor am i claiming that every fish i caught Sunday was hooked in the mouth. I use bait my bobber gets smoked last i checked that’s foul hook. Im not dragging bottom with trebles. I was fishing for blues i can’t help that James’ lakes are so full of fish that even if you miss your hookset there’s a damn good chance you’re going to hit a fish anyhow

    Mexico Ron ima say one thing … they were tellhn my buddy how to snag em it wasnt accidental if i wanted to call anyone out id post the video of it …that wasnt my intention … i respect the hell out of james and the whole reed family …when i hear about that kind of shit i feel inclined to let him know if hes ok with it then so be it and maybe i should have just told him but i know some of the sorry asses are readin this and i wanted to call bullshit

    Chris Grebe Shits crazy man. Its every year too … I can snag em with the best and i can catch em with the best i just won’t pay money not to bank em. i been fishing paylakes since i could walk, this is nothing new fellas just don’t see why you guys can’t just understand the game and how its always been played. He will stock soon just wait till then to come out if you hate the snagging so much. Too much drama out there, y’all don’t buy or catch these fish for the lakes. Y’all should just worry about yourselves, not the next guy and how he hits his fish.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.wheatley.188 Aaron Wheatley

    Paylakers, Please justify this practice. Straight from some of your pals at Catfishermen Paradise.
    Mexico Ron i wasnt gonna say shit but its burnt my ass for a few days now …what was goin on last weekend at the lake is why paylakers get a bad name …my buddy sat out there an watched prolly 400 fish get snagged intentionally an people were tellin my buddy hey bro they aint bitin u got to snag em …what really pissed him off was the guy at the damn baitshop had a cartfull of guys goin from lake to lake an prolly snagged over 100 by themrelves…this isnt an indictment of anyone more of a shame on u ….when they push thru this new bill that will ruin paylakes u have yourselves to thank…this kind of shit just adds fuel to the fire of people whod love to see paylakes shut down…just my 2 cents and im only bitchin because i love paylaking an the dice and im the first to defend paradise or james so when i see shit like that i feel obligated to say somethin about it…js

    Anthony Reed Yes it was they was snagging 3 or 4 fish at a time at every lake.

    Chris Grebe If people werent putting fish on the bank they wouldnt come out at all . Just come out, pay to support the stocking of big fish in the weeks to come and leave it at that buddy . This has been going on for 10 years and not just at Paradise … You newer guys just blow it up, i watched it happen all winter at Cozy 10 years ago . The fuel to the fire comes into play when you post it online for everyone to read . If what happened at the P stayed at the P there would be no problems

    Emmett Lee Nott III Actually it (snaggin) is beneficial to the lakes themselves because dead and dying fish are being removed from the lakes. The decomposition of matter in water raises ammonia levels and robs the water of dissolved oxygen increasing stress levels on the fish. The people fishing the paylakes aren’t the problem. The river fishermen are concerned with commercial fishermen, paylake owners, and the guys making websites/instructional dvds promoting paylakes. Their argument is that the removal of so many large catfish will be detrimental to the rivers ecosystems and that the ponds they are being stocked into ponds that aren’t capable of handling the amount or size of fish being stocked. Never did i read how they were complaining about how paylakers snag fish. If you have an issue with James opening his lake in February then address him face to face or at least send him a private message don’t call him out on a Facebook comment under a bogus name.

    Mexico Ron i didnt call james out learn to read dickhead and how is draggin a 50 pound fish out by guthookin em beneficial …if it was beneficial why does it say no snagging fish …i defend james and that lake all the time go back and reread my post i wasnt singlin anyone out and i said that ..try readin slower next time

    Emmett Lee Nott III I merely stated how it can be beneficial for the surviving fish. My apologies for making a scientific and logical argument as to how its not as devastating the the fish as some people seem to think it is. Getting caught is getting caught no matter where you hook the fish it still has a hole and produces insanely high adrenaline levels putting the fish through an unhealthy amount of stress no matter the season or how its hooked. I agree with the fact that snaggin is not sporting but then again how sporting is it to fish in an undersized overstocked pond? Furthermore i don’t recall anyone swearing at you or doing any name calling being treated with the same kind of respect that has been shown to you would be appreciated

    Shane Alcorn last year there was huge trebble hooks bn thrown,out n lake just for snagging n they no who they r i dont think it fair to other fisherman cause they have done stressed the fishout n now wont feed for even longer shovelheads dont bite n cold early season n every pic on fb is thst of shovelheads

    Emmett Lee Nott III If i recall correctly someone made the comment “there born in there” when somebody else asked what’s up with all the small fish they were catching at paradise. Im pretty sure that somebody was you shane. I will find out for sure later on tonight and if it wasn’t i will apologize. Im not claiming they spawn in there nor am i claiming that every fish i caught Sunday was hooked in the mouth. I use bait my bobber gets smoked last i checked that’s foul hook. Im not dragging bottom with trebles. I was fishing for blues i can’t help that James’ lakes are so full of fish that even if you miss your hookset there’s a damn good chance you’re going to hit a fish anyhow

    Mexico Ron ima say one thing … they were tellhn my buddy how to snag em it wasnt accidental if i wanted to call anyone out id post the video of it …that wasnt my intention … i respect the hell out of james and the whole reed family …when i hear about that kind of shit i feel inclined to let him know if hes ok with it then so be it and maybe i should have just told him but i know some of the sorry asses are readin this and i wanted to call bullshit

    Chris Grebe Shits crazy man. Its every year too … I can snag em with the best and i can catch em with the best i just won’t pay money not to bank em. i been fishing paylakes since i could walk, this is nothing new fellas just don’t see why you guys can’t just understand the game and how its always been played. He will stock soon just wait till then to come out if you hate the snagging so much. Too much drama out there, y’all don’t buy or catch these fish for the lakes. Y’all should just worry about yourselves, not the next guy and how he hits his fish.

    • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.wheatley.188 Aaron Wheatley

      CRICKETS, This info is from their Facebook Page written by Paylakers. One of the hind TRUTHS about theses Paylakes. Very, Very sad and totally against the Catfihermens Creed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.wheatley.188 Aaron Wheatley

      CRICKETS, This info is from their Facebook Page written by Paylakers. One of the hidden TRUTHS about theses Paylakes. Very, Very sad and totally against the Catfishermens Creed

  • http://www.facebook.com/dustin.keller.102 Dustin Keller

    I am not gonna say a whole lot on this issue but I will say that this new bill is BOGUS! I am an avid fisherman that loves to catch those big cats just like the rest of you and I was raised up on both, the pay-lake and the river also,Hell the great almighty Ohio River is practically in my backyard,I could throw a rock and hit it. You all are bashing the pay-lakes and the commercial fisherman saying that pay-lakes are so wrong and the fish just die, and calling com.fisherman greedy & so on & so on. And why all this negativity? Oh yeah its cuz they are destroying the population of the big cats in the river? This is so false and there is no study to prove else where, Them trophy cats are being caught every year all up and down that dang river and it seems like every year more and more bigger fish are caught! If y’all aint catching fish in that river, well your obvisouly doing something wrong. Me I personally prefer to fish the pay-lakes just because i cant afford to buy a boat and fish the river where the trophy fish are so I think its great that the pay-lakes give guys like me a chance at a trophy cat!

    • Vince

      You could afford a Boat in just a month or 2 if you didnt spend your cash at a Paylake

  • jeremiah anderson

    just have to say pays lakes are shitty places where good fish go to die. if you look at pics 2 through 4 the fish are not healthy! the only healthy looking fish is the first pic of the channel which doesnt surprise me do to the fact that channels can successfuly live in small bodies of water. flatheads and blues do not naturally live in these conditions. i have too many more points to make that will fall on def ears so ill leave it at that. it is unnatural!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.jamiro Gloria De Castro Jamiro

    nice to read.. i want to share this thing also http://gonefishinclub.hubpages.com/hub/How-To-Catch-Big-Catfish another way to catch a big catfish

  • John Doe

    It’s real easy to solve the entire debate of pay lakes. Make it a state law that all pay lakes must be stocked with catfish from private commercial catfish ponds. Don’t let commercial fisherman reap the ohio river taking all the big boys out. The river guys will be happy and the pay lakes will continue to operate. If the pay lakes want some big catfish in their ponds, then let the pay lake owners waste THEIR TIME growing the big catfish in their ponds by having a catch and release only lake with the bigger fish in it. Seems pretty logical to me. Problems solved both ways. Money and greed always get into the way though.

  • dayl8tdollarsaved

    Attention fisherman who raise their own bait fish. I currently have 100′s of 55 gallon barrels, 5 and 10 gallon buckets, and massive IBC containers. All food grade, perfect for fish, and ready for purchase. 15 dollars a piece for cleaned barrels, 10 for dirty barrels (again food grade, mainly tea) and a mere dollar a bucket. If interested in these products for purchase, I am located in Hamilton Ohio and you can contact me at dayl8tdollarsaved@yahoo.com (if interested in large quantities I am willing to haggle)

  • RandyK

    Paylake fishing is a joke. Pack as many big fish into a tiny little mud hole just so some inept anglers can stroke their ego by catching one, and act as if its some real accomplishment. lol. Half starved fish in ridiculously unnatural setting. Practice should be outlawed. Then when you add in fish being raped from our rivers to accomadate this nonsense, then it should be only common sense it needs to stop. Some just need to learn how to fish.

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