“Got one,” Gary said.

But the fish didn’t budge.

“I think it’s snagged,” he remarked.

“Funny there should not be a snag out here,” Marlyn mused. “I think it is a fish.”

Another twenty seconds went by and the current was making it hard to judge.

Suddenly the rod tip bucked. It was a fish.

And a good one. When Marlyn grabbed the rostrum and slid the fish over the side, I thought we might have a keeper.

“That fish may measure over 45,” I remarked.

But the tape proved me wrong. It was an inch short. Back over the side it went.

Over the next half hour we landed two more, both almost twins to the big one and all just short of the top end of the slot.

A few more passes and we had our keeper. It was 33 inches and a prime example of a young paddlefish, well marked and fat. It would yield two nice fillets of clear, white meat.

For more information on Marlyn’s guiding service, check out his web page at www.wiebelhausguiding.com.

Paddlefish are great eating, which is another reason for their popularity among snaggers. They have no bones. Just under the skin, however, is a thick layer of red meat and that has to be carved away from the fillet. When all of the red meat is cut away the fish offers up a flavor reminiscent of fillet of sole, a saltwater delicacy.

South Dakota also offers snagging permits, although the season is in the spring. Iowa joined the paddlefish action two years ago. Check the regulations for application periods.

Range of the paddlefish has declined over the past 100 years. Interestingly, the largest paddlefish on record was speared in Lake Okoboji in 1916. It was 85 inches long and weighed an estimated 198 pounds. There also exists a photo of three paddlefish from Okoboji, each over six feet long with the largest weighing 185 pounds.

Paddlefish disappeared from the lakes shortly after.

But their numbers appear to be growing in the Missouri River due primarily to good fisheries management on the part of our three-state region. That’s good news for a fish whose ancestors long ago swam in the company of dinosaurs.

 More outdoors information is available at http://siouxcityjournal.com/sports/recreation/outdoors