The end of trout season in Missouri means the start of winter catch-and-release trout fishing, which is underway at many trout-fishing spots. Anglers can also catch and keep trout at some of the state’s urban-area lakes, which have been stocked for winter fishing.
Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries staff members recently stocked more than 70,000 rainbow trout in more than 30 urban-area lakes around the state for winter trout fishing. Many of these areas allow anglers to harvest trout as soon as they are stocked, while others are catch-and-release until Feb. 1.
Locations and other information for winter trout fishing online at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/species/trout/trout-where-fish/winter-trout-fishing-areas.
As with all hunting and fishing areas, it pays to do your research before heading out. Limits and tackle restrictions vary by lake and season. Anglers are advised to check for special area regulations before fishing. At locations where harvesting is allowed, the daily limit allowed is four trout with no length limit. All Missouri residents over age 15 and under age 65 must have a fishing permit. All non-residents over age 15 must have a fishing permit. To keep trout, all anglers of all ages must have a Missouri trout permit.
Trout parks, areas
Catch-and-release fishing is allowed at most of the state’s trout parks and areas. The closest area to Fort Leonard Wood is the Stone Mill Spring Branch.
Stone Mill Spring is a Missouri White Ribbon Trout Area, which means it is a coldwater stream capable of supporting trout populations year-round. It also has special restrictions on porous-soled waders, which are prohibited.
Now through Feb. 28, the Stone Mill Spring Branch is catch-and-release only. Anglers may only use artificial lures and flies.
Anglers at Stone Mill Spring will need a state fishing license but are not required to hold an Outdoor Recreation Permit or FLW Sportsman’s Permit and do not have to check in or out using the iSportsman system. (Visit ftleonardwood.isportsman.net for fishing rules and regulations at other fishing holes on post.)
Missouri’s four trout parks include Maramec Spring Park near St. James, and Bennett Spring State Park, near Lebanon — which are the closest trout parks to Fort Leonard Wood — along with Montauk State Park near Salem, Missouri, and Roaring River State Park, near Cassville, Missouri.
Catch-and-release fishing at all four trout parks begins Friday and continues through Feb. 11. Meramec Spring is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, while the other three parks are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays through Mondays.
Anglers will need a fishing permit unless exempt, and a trout permit. Only flies may be used during the catch-and-release season.
(Editor’s note: Information provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri State Parks and the Fort Leonard Wood iSportsman site.)