Yes, because of which catfish are taken and when. Specifically, because it targets the mature catfish when they are guarding their nests.
The problem with this technique is that noodling targets large, mature blue and flathead catfish while they are spawning. During their spawning times, these catfish hunker down in dens, crevices, and holes and aggressively protect their nests. It’s at this time noodlers stick their hands near the nests creating a reaction strike from the fish. At this point, they are grabbed by the fisherman and removed.
Missouri’s biological concerns are that handfishers, who go for the biggest fish they can wrestle from riverbanks or hollow logs, will take too many sexually mature fish from their underwater nests.
After the second season, though, the MDC pulled the plug on the experiment, due to concerns that noodling could harm catfish populations.
“When noodling occurs is at a point in time when the females are laying eggs in cavities and then the males are coming behind them and protecting those nests,” said MDC Regional Fisheries Supervisor Christopher Kennedy. “So anytime we interrupt that process that nest has a very high percentage rate of failing and it could have dramatic impacts on your populations.”
How the Catfish Noodling Craze Washed Over America
So it does have more impact on the fish populations, and I suspect that its one of those things that got onto TV and then turned into something of a craze.