Unlike in neighboring Missouri, the Oklahoma paddlefish season runs year-round. “That makes for a lot of paddlefishing time,” says Grove resident Rusty Pritchard. “I guide for paddlefish from December first until the middle of May.”
Pritchard was not born into a fishing family. However, a fishing neighbor, Ernie Bennett, introduced him to the sport at age 10. It changed his life forever.
Pritchard took paddlefishing to a new level two decades ago when he began guiding on Grand Lake and the Neosho River, which, he says, offer incomparable opportunities. His bragging board provides some serious confirmation. Pritchard’s clients boated more than 1,500 spoonbills in 2014 and more than 1,000 in 2015.