March 1 marks the annual opening of catch-and-keep trout fishing in Missouri at the state’s four trout parks: Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, and Maramec Spring Park near St. James. The catch-and-keep season at the trout parks runs through Oct. 31.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) operates trout hatcheries at all four parks and stocks rainbow trout daily throughout the season.
“The pandemic created many challenges for all of us over the past year and, even with one hatchery closed due to extensive renovations, our hatchery staff continued to work hard producing fish at the other hatcheries for anglers to enjoy across the state,” said MDC Fisheries Section Chief Bruce Drecktrah. “Thanks to the teamwork of our hatchery staff and the coordination of our hatchery system in Missouri, we are looking to another great season in 2021.”
Drecktrah added that hatchery staff will again use data on trout tags sold in past years to anticipate the number of anglers expected on opening day. Staff will then stock about 20,000 trout across the four trout parks for anglers on opening day.
Trout anglers need a fishing permit and a daily trout tag to fish in Missouri's trout parks. Learn more at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/huntfish/seasons/trout-parks.
MDC encourages trout anglers to buy their fishing permits ahead of time from numerous vendors around the state, online at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits, or through the MDC free mobile app — MO Fishing — available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.
Daily trout tags can only be purchased at each of the four trout parks. MDC encourages trout anglers to have the correct amount of cash for daily tags if possible.
The cost of a daily trout tag to fish at three of Missouri’s four trout parks -- Bennett Spring State Park, Montauk State Park, and Roaring River State Park – is $4 for adults and $3 for those 15 years of age and younger. The daily limit is four trout.
MDC is continuing a pilot program at Maramec Spring Park where the daily limit has been raised from four to five trout and the cost of a daily trout tag for adults is $5 and $3 for anglers 15 years of age and younger.
Montauk State Park store hours for daily tags will be Feb. 27 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Feb. 28 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The store will open at 4:30 a.m. on March 1.
Bennett Spring State Park and Roaring River State Park store hours for daily tags will be Feb. 27 from 1 to 9 p.m. and Feb. 28 starting at 9 a.m. through March 1.
Maramec Spring Park store hours for daily tags will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. beginning Feb. 19 to Feb. 26. Normal hours of 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. will begin on Feb. 27.
MDC reminds anglers and others visiting the trout parks to abide by all posted signs regarding wearing masks and social distancing requirements.
MDC notes that extensive hatchery renovations at Roaring River have recently been completed. The modernization of the facility will provide increased trout production, healthier fish, and the reopening of the raceways where trout are raised before release. Due to Roaring River Hatchery being out of production, current trout inventory levels will require adjustments to normal stocking rates, but there will be plenty of fish for anglers to have another great season in 2021. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/newsroom/renovation-completed-mdcs-roaring-river-hatchery.
MDC also notes that Roaring River has changed some fishing zones and advises trout anglers to check at the park for new information. Changes include changing the lower end of Zone 3 and moving Zone 3 about 545 feet up into Zone Two.
Online viewing of opening day activities at Roaring River State Park and Bennett Spring State Park will be available online at mostateparks.com/TroutOpening2021. The trout cams are located near the most popular fishing spots and follow all the fishing action.
Missouri also offers excellent trout fishing throughout the state on rivers and streams that support naturally reproducing trout. For more information on trout fishing in Missouri, visit MDC online at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/where-fish/trout-areas.
Reminder to trout anglers: To prevent the spread of the invasive alga called didymo or "rock snot," the use of shoes, boots or waders with porous soles of felt, matted or woven fibrous material is prohibited at all trout parks, trout streams, Lake Taneycomo, and buffer areas. Get more information at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/protect-missouri-fishing/dont-spread-didymo.