The whistle blows for many of Missouri’s trout fishermen starting tomorrow. It signals that spring is around the corner, and that is as welcome as the flowers in May. It also signals that the walleye and white bass will be upriver soon.
The trout parks were closed for a couple of weeks before tomorrows March 1 trout “opener”. I bet they figured they needed to stock a few more trout than they anticipated. They are estimating 8,000 or more anglers to be on hand at the Missouri Trout Parks.
The good part is all that insanity will have most of Missouri’s trout freaks shoulder to shoulder in one area. I can’t begin to tell you how happy it makes me feel to roll through Roaring River and to see the lunacy, and then to leave it all behind as I head down to Beaver Creek to the quiet spaces left by all those folks trout fishing. Hey, I love to fish for trout . I will even wet a line in the busiest hole on the river if I have someone twist my arm. I might even like it. When I go to the parks, I expect a bit of chit chat, but some of it can be a bit disturbing. The parks are enjoyable and entertaining during opening day. You don’t see them like that most of the year and for some vendors it basically makes their month. I understand why some people love opening day. There are some huge trout in there and it’s an Ozarks tradition that is many years in the making. I would imagine by the time this article is read by most of you there will be some nutjob standing in the river staking out his spot.
I hope you all have a great time this year at the parks, when the whistle blows leave old Beaver Creek for me. I’ll bet Kyle will be headed down to the Current, that is if… I were a gambling man. Good luck old boys!
Three of Missouri’s trout parks–Bennett Spring, Montauk, and Roaring River–are owned by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Maramec Spring Park is owned by the James Foundation. The Conservation Department operates trout hatcheries at all four. For more information about trout-park fishing, call:
• Bennett Spring - 417-532-4418.
• Maramec - 573-265-7801.
• Montauk - 573-548-2585.
• Roaring River - 417-847-2430.
Anglers need a daily trout tag to fish in Missouri’s trout parks. Missouri residents 16 through 64 need a fishing permit in addition to the daily tag. Nonresidents 16 and older also need a fishing permit.
One new feature at all four parks this year is the availability of wader-wash stations. These are baths with a 5-percent salt solution for boots and fishing gear. They are designed to kill the aquatic invasive species, Didymosphenia geminata. commonly known as Didymo. It’s less appetizing nickname, “rock snot,” captures its slimy experience and general undesirability.
Didymo is an invasive alga that forms dense mats on stream bottoms. It can become so thick that it disrupts natural food chains, making fishing impossible. Its arrival in trout streams around the globe probably is the result of its ability to cling to the porous surface of felt-soled fishing waders. Didymo is known to infest streams in 19 states. The infested stream nearest to Missouri is in northern Arkansas.
“We strongly encourage anglers to make use of the wader-wash stations to clean not only waders, but any fishing equipment that has been used in other states,” said MDC Hatchery Systems Manager James Civiello. “Anglers can unknowingly spread the microscopic alga on fishing gear, waders, and especially in any porous materials on wader soles.”
Civiello said anglers can help prevent the spread of rock snot by cleaning fishing gear and waders and drying them in the sun for 48 hours when moving between waters. They also can help by replacing felt-soled waders with rubber-soled ones.
Trout parks are only one option for Show-Me State anglers. For more about the state’s extensive system of trout streams and winter trout fishing, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/7248.
MDC also maintains rainbow and brown trout populations in 120 miles of 17 streams designated as blue-, red- or white-ribbon trout waters. Lake Taneycomo has world-class trophy trout fishing, and MDC stocks trout in selected lakes and ponds in several communities around the state during the winter months. You can find details about all these trout-fishing opportunities in the Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations, which is available wherever fishing permits are sold or at http://bit.ly/g8carJ. Information about winter trout fishing in urban areas is available at http://bit.ly/gSLEyx.
A Trout Permit ($7 for adults, $3.50 for anglers under age 16) is required to possess trout on waters outside trout parks. A fishing permit also is required, unless the angler is exempt.