Light attendance expected at trout park winter season opener
Winter trout fishing and deer season start on the same weekend.
JEFFERSON CITY-Trout-fishing fanatics are likely to have an even more serene experience than usual when the winter fishing season opens at Missouri's four trout parks.
Solitude is one of the big draws of the winter fishing season. Cold weather and the requirement to release all trout unharmed dramatically reduce the number of people visiting Bennett Spring, Montauk and Roaring River state parks and Maramec Spring Park during the off season. This year the effect is likely to be even more pronounced because the winter-season opener falls on the same weekend as Missouri's firearms deer season opener.
"Missouri has more than 470,000 firearms deer hunters," said James Civiello, cold-water hatchery supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation. "A significant number of those folks also like trout fishing, so I think attendance will be down that first weekend."
The expectation of lower attendance will not affect how many fish the Conservation Department releases at trout parks. Winter stocking rates are lower than during the peak fishing months, because harvesting fish is not permitted. Fish that are stocked during the winter season include large fish not needed for brood stock at Conservation Department trout hatcheries. These "lunkers" lend an element of excitement to the winter season.
This year's winter no-creel season begins Nov. 14 and runs through Feb. 9. Winter fishing opportunities at state-owned trout parks have expanded in recent years and now include no-creel fishing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Fridays through Mondays. The season starts the second Friday in November and continues through the second Monday in February. This schedule applies at the three state parks administered by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The James Foundation's Maramec Spring Park opens its gates to anglers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily throughout the winter season.
Anglers can get detailed regulation pamphlets at each trout park. The pamphlets explain where fishing is allowed. Some facilities that are open during the regular fishing season may be closed during the catch-and-release season.
The only permits required for catch-and-release fishing at trout parks are a fishing permit (resident $12, nonresident $40, daily $7) and a statewide trout permit (resident or nonresident $7). The trout permit is valid throughout the winter season. These two permits also allow anglers to catch and keep trout all year in many public trout streams outside the parks.
Information about Missouri's diverse trout fishing opportunities is found in "Missouri Trout Fishing," which is available from MDC, Missouri Trout Fishing, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, or by e-mailing email@example.com.
Source: Missouri Department of Conservation
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