If you have never fished for trout, Missouri might not be the first place that comes to mind when someone mentions the sport. Many people visualize a mountain stream with someone fly fishing in the morning mist. Well, Missouri may not have the mountain streams, but the rest is a spot-on description. Stocking trout is one of the oldest conservation efforts in Missouri. The trout program began in 1878 when the Missouri Fish Commission purchased eggs from the United States Fish Commission. Once the eggs hatched, the fry were stocked in our streams. A variety of species were stocked in many different waters until 1937 when the Missouri Department of Conservation was established. At that time, trout stocking was restricted to cold streams in three state parks and five other trout management areas open to public fishing.
Missouri’s current trout program consists of four trout parks, nine Blue Ribbon trout management areas, three Red Ribbon trout management areas, nine White Ribbon trout management areas, Lake Taneycomo, and 28 Winter Trout Fishing Areas. For more information on all Missouri trout fishing locations go to mdc.mo.gov/ node/5603. The trout program has inspired a tradition for many anglers that accounts for about 15 percent of all angling statewide. That is pretty remarkable considering that only 1 percent of the entire stream habitat in the state is suitable for trout. To keep the trout program thriving, the Department of Conservation operates five trout hatcheries: Shepherd of the Hills, Bennett Spring, Mon-tauk, Roaring River, and Maramec Spring, which produce 1.4 to 1.5 million catchable size trout annually for stocking in these waters.
A Good Place to Start
Trout parks are a great place for be-ginners to be introduced to trout fishing. Families have fished the trout parks for several generations (up to five) with certain individuals who have been angling at a particular park for more than 50 years. The four trout parks are managed with the intent of improving angling success. Bennett Spring, Montauk, and Roaring River are state parks that are operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Maramec Spring is operated by The James Foundation, a not-for-profit, private organization. The Missouri Department of Conservation has teamed up with the Department of Natural Resources and The James Foundation to manage the fisheries within the trout parks. These pleas-ant settings offer even the novice angler a good chance to catch a trout with minimal…Continue reading….
Written by Wes Swee and Tom Whelan, photographs by David Stonner