Information on Winter Trout Fishing in Missouri  
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 Winter Trout Fishing in Missouri

 Fly Fishing Tips - Colorado Fishing Report

Information on Winter Trout Fishing in Missouri
Zeiner's has the 2007 Women in Waders Calendar

Here's some information for those of you wanting to find someplace to do some winter trout fishing in Missouri. These places to fish for trout in the winter are courtesy of the State of Missouri.

CENTRAL REGION:

McKay Park Lake, Jefferson City - Beat the winter blues and land a lunker rainbow from McKay Park Lake. The park is located in Jefferson City, Missouri. To get there, go 0.4 miles northwest of Highway 54 on Southwest Boulevard, then turn right on Sunrise Lane and go 0.1 miles, and then turn left on Sunset Lake Road and go 0.1 miles to the lake. McKay Park Lake is six acres. The park also offers a fitness trail, playground, basketball court, and small picnic pavilions.

Cosmo Bethel Park Lake, Columbia - Columbians don't have to travel a long distance to enjoy Missouri's fine trout fishing. Cosmo Bethel Park is located 0.4 miles east of Providence Road on Nifong Boulevard, then left (south) on Bethel Drive, and then 0.2 miles to the park. The six-acre lake is just past the large picnic pavilions south of the parking lot.

Kiwanis Lake, Plunkett Park, Mexico - This beautiful park lake was stocked with trout for the first time last winter. Get some sunshine and keep your casting skills sharp by angling for a beautiful rainbow trout. From the intersection of Monroe and Wade, go 0.5 miles north on Wade to Hendricks, turn left, and then go 0.2 miles to the park. Kiwanis Lake is three acres.

SOUTHEAST REGION:

Rotary Lake, Jackson - This 3.2 acre lake is located in the city park of Jackson in Cape Girardeau County. First stocked with trout in 2003, it has grown in popularity with the local anglers each year. Winter trout fishing is an excellent way for families suffering from "cabin fever" to get out and enjoy an exciting family outing that will beat those winter blues.

ST. LOUIS AREA WINTER TROUT PROGRAM:

Since 1989, the Missouri Department of Conservation has stocked rainbow trout as part of the Urban Fishing Program in St. Louis City, later expanding to Ballwin, Ferguson, Kirkwood, Jennings, Overland, and the August A. Busch Conservation Area.

This year, MDC will stock over 38,000 brown and rainbow trout in twelve St. Louis City and County lakes and five lakes on the August A. Busch Conservation Area. These fish will average 10-12" (with some over 18") and were raised at MDC hatcheries.

Trout stocking begins in November and runs through February. Many lakes receive two stockings per month, while catch and release lakes get stocked less. Stocking dates are not announced ahead of time, but are quickly reported to the Fish Stocking Hot Line: (636)300-9651.

Anglers practicing catch and release at trout harvest lakes should consider using artificial lures or flies. Studies have shown that trout caught and released on natural or prepared baits are 5 times more likely to die after release than those caught with artificial lures or flies. In addition, anglers must stop fishing for the day after having four trout in their possession. When fewer released trout survive, fishing quality for all will suffer.

For more information about the St. Louis Winter Trout Program, please call the St. Louis Region Office (636/300-1953) and ask for the St. Louis Winter Trout Program brochure.

KANSAS CITY REGION:

Rainbow and Brown trout (3/4-pound average) will be stocked four times during winter months (November thru March) at several Kansas City Area lakes. Three lakes at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area will be stocked with trout. Coot and Plover lakes and Honker Pond (Only children under the age of 16 can fish in Honker Pond) will all be stocked with trout this year. Coot Lake will no longer be catch and release for the first part of the season so trout can be harvested immediately after stocking. Both Coot and Plover lakes are ADA accessible and provide excellent trout fishing from the fishing jetties and floating dock. Alex George Lake (Jackson County) and Chaumiere Lake (Clay County) will be stocked with trout again. Rainbow and Brown trout can be caught on live and artificial baits. Rainbow trout are often caught on prepared dough baits, worms, minnows, small jigs, spinners, and flies. Brown trout are frequently caught on worms, minnows, jigs, and spinners. Maps showing the locations of stocked lakes are available at the Kansas City Regional Office (816/655-6250).

Liberty Park Pond:

Urban winter trout fishing has been so successful in other cities that the program has been expanded to include Sedalia in 2006. Under a cooperative agreement, the Missouri Department of Conservation and Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department are stocking rainbow trout into Liberty Park Pond to create an urban winter trout fishery. Rainbow trout averaging 3/4-pound average, with some large fish up to 6-pounds will be stocked in 2006.

For more information on the Sedalia Winter Trout Program contact the Sedalia Office (660/530-5500).

SOUTHWEST REGION:

Winter trout fishing opportunities abound in southwest Missouri, and colder weather should not deter anglers looking for the chance to hook into a quality rainbow or brown trout. Mild winters over the last several years have provided numerous days when a light sweater will suffice, but even the coldest days will find a few anglers on the water. So dress warm, pack a thermos full of your favorite hot beverage and get after those winter trout!

STREAMS:

A number of spring-fed streams are stocked less frequently than the trout parks and offer much less crowded fishing and a more natural trout fishing experience. Because these streams are fed by springs that maintain fairly consistent water temperatures year-round, anglers can find trout actively feeding throughout the winter, and even the occasional insect hatch. Fishing in these waters is often better on a warm winter day than it is during the peak of summer's warmer temperatures. In Southwest Region these White Ribbon Trout Areas include Capps Creek, the Niangua River and Roaring River below Roaring River State Park. In addition, trout are now stocked regularly in Hickory Creek in Neosho. On Hickory Creek from November 1 through the last day of February all trout must be released unharmed immediately and only flies and artificial lures may be used from the Highway 86 Bridge to its confluence with Shoal Creek.

Even more special, at least to some anglers, are the Blue Ribbon Trout Areas. These are high quality trout streams that are stocked with either brown or rainbow trout. Some, like Crane Creek in Southwest Region, are not stocked at all but contain wild, naturally-reproducing rainbow trout that can provide good winter fishing action.

Lake Taneycomo is one of the premier tailwater trout fisheries in the United States and winter fishing can be very good. Rainbow trout are stocked in the lower portions of the lake throughout the winter season. Upper portions of the lake above Fall Creek support an excellent population of rainbow trout, with many fish over 16 inches and the occasional fish exceeding 20 inches. With brown trout added to the mix, lunker-sized fish can be found throughout the lake.

Table Rock Dam to Fall Creek:

Here, anglers are required to immediately release all rainbow trout between 12" and 20". Only artificial lures and flies may be used in the upper 3 miles from Table Rock Dam to the mouth of Fall Creek. Soft plastic and natural and scented baits are prohibited in this area. No trout are stocked within this reach; however, densities remain high due to low harvest and fish immigration. Fly fishing has become the most popular form of angling in this area, but small crankbaits on light to medium spinning outfits also produce some nice catches. Scuds, sow bugs and soft hackles are popular fly patterns. The current state record brown trout comes from Lake Taneycomo and was caught in October 2005, weighing 27 pounds, 10 ounces.

Below Fall Creek:

Due to increased harvest and shorter retention time, the size structure within this area reflects a put-and-take fishery. There is no length limit for rainbow trout in this area, and natural and scented baits may be used in addition to artificial lures and flies.

Remember, all anglers fishing in Lake Taneycomo upstream from the Highway 65 Bridge near Branson are required to have a trout permit. The daily limit of trout is four (4) with a possession limit of eight (8). Of these, only one (1) fish in the daily limit and two (2) fish in the possession limit may be brown trout, and the minimum length limit for brown trout throughout the lake.

WINTER FISHING AT THE TROUT PARKS:

Maramec Spring Park, Bennett Spring State Park, Montauk State Park, and Roaring River State Park will provide catch-and-release fishing from November 10, 2006 through February 12, 2007. Maramec Spring Park (owned by The James Foundation) will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The three state parks will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. A fishing permit and a trout permit are required. Only flies may be used. A fly is defined as an artificial lure constructed on a single-point hook, using any material except soft plastic bait and natural and scented bait that is tied, glued or otherwise permanently attached.

An exciting change is happening at the state parks this year. Up until the winter of 2005-'06, all the trout parks were open only Friday through Sunday during the winter catch-and-release season. However, in the winter of 2005-'06, Maramec Spring Park was opened seven days per week. For the 2006-'07 season the usual three-day season will increase to four days (i.e., Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) at Bennett Spring State Park, Montauk State Park, and Roaring River State Park. Increasing the number of days trout anglers interested in winter catch-and-release angling may enjoy the sport. The hatcheries at each of the four trout parks will periodically release trout to maintain trout densities at the levels necessary for good quality winter fishing.

Anglers are encouraged to obtain park-specific regulation pamphlets upon arrival at each trout park. The stream zones where angling is permitted will be noted in the pamphlets and will also be indicated by area signs. Not all facilities will have the services available during the winter season that are available during the regular season, so anglers contemplating a trip should plan accordingly.

For anglers unfamiliar with winter fishing at the trout parks the following tips may make your trip more of a success. Anglers with fly rods are advised to use a 6X or 7X leader or a tippet of 2 or 3 pounds. Fly selection can be made by matching naturally occurring food items in the stream, visiting with fellow anglers, checking at local tackle shops, or reading a some of the variety of fishing reports available on the internet. Unless there is a dry fly hatch in progress, nymphs are a good bet. Hook sizes of 14 or smaller are usually productive. Presentation of the fly is at least as important as fly selection. Many times trout get zoned into feeding at a certain level-surface, bottom, or mid-depth. Try to observe what the trout are doing and drift a fly to them at their level.

Anglers with spinning tackle frequently enjoy success with small marabou jigs in a variety of colors. The smallest jig that can be cast is best (usually 1/16 or 1/32 ounce). Another spinning tackle technique is to use a casting bubble (a clear plastic bobber that can be filled with a little water to add weight for casting). A casting bubble makes it possible to fish with flies that are otherwise too light to cast.

Information regarding winter catch-and-release trout fishing at the individual trout parks can be obtained at the following numbers:

Bennett Spring Fish Hatchery, 417-532-4418

Maramec Spring Fish Hatchery, 573-265-7801

Montauk Fish Hatchery, 573-548-2585

Roaring River Fish Hatchery, 417-847-2430.

MONTAUK STATE PARK:

Saturday and Sunday, October 7th and 8th is the 42nd Annual Rose Holland Trout Derby. Everyone is invited to attend this event. While you are encouraged to fish while there, it is certainly not required. There are many activities and attractions to entertain non-anglers.

If you have an interest in winter trout fishing and none of these waters are in your locality we ask that you be patient. There are more lakes already planned for the future and as the program increases in popularity even more will be added to our list of available fisheries. If you have an interest in the winter trout areas and would like to learn more about trout fishing in Missouri you may contact your local fisheries biologist or Contact Randy Noyes by phone (573) 522 4115 x 3593, by E-mail Randy.Noyes@mdc.mo.gov or write to: Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City MO 65109

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