Trout Season kicks off March 1; brings economic boost to areas

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-049 For Immediate Release: Feb. 25, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, --- The siren at 6:30 a.m. March 1 that signals the official beginning of trout season in Missouri state parks also marks the beginning of an economic boost for the communities in the surrounding area.

Trout fishing season officially begins March 1 at Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, and Montauk State Park near Salem. Fishermen are dusting off their fishing gear and officials in the three state parks are preparing the parks for their arrival. Local communities are gearing up for the influx of fishermen who are anticipated to arrive for the season, which runs through Oct. 31.

With opening day falling on a Sunday this year, Missouri Department of Natural Resources officials expect good crowds for trout opening. It is anticipated that approximately 8,400 trout tags will be sold at the three state parks and most people who buy a tag are accompanied by additional family members. Trout tags can be purchased at the state park concession stores.

All lodging units (approximately 163) at all three state parks have been reserved in advance. Most of the reservable campsites (more than 330) at the state parks have been reserved in advance and all of the first-come, first-served sites are expected to be full this weekend. The restaurants are expected to be busy this weekend as well.

In the communities closest to the state parks, Cassville, Lebanon and Salem, business owners are also preparing for the fishermen. Although the trout fishing occurs in the park, all of the communities around benefit from the trout fishing season with busy hotels, motels, restaurants and retail stores. In Cassville, 150 out of the total of 180 motel rooms are already reserved for the weekend.

Although trout fishing will be the main activity at the three parks on opening day, the parks also offer other opportunities, including hiking and learning about the parks through exhibits in the interpretive and nature centers. All three parks feature campgrounds, as well as dining and lodging facilities.

Visitors for opening day can expect to see improvements at all three of the state parks.  Visitors to Roaring River State Park may notice new carpet in the downstairs of the Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center. A major repair project on the dam wall around the spring pool at the hatchery was completed.  The same kind of materials and methods used by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s to build the wall were used to repair the wall. All of the wood and aluminum handrails were replaced with architectural iron. Visitors will also notice signs of progress on a new park store, which will be located at the intersection of highways 112 and F.  

At Bennett Spring State Park, there have been improvements made in many cabins and painting in some showerhouses.  The "Suzy hole" fishing access from Shelter B now has a fishing platform with steps down to it, which was a combined project of the Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

At Montauk State Park, repairs were completed on several rental cabins, motel rooms and showerhouses. Gravel and sand were removed from select locations in the Current River and the Bluff Spring Branch to improve depth of fishing holes. 

Trout season in Missouri is a cooperative effort of the Department of Natural Resources, which manages state parks, and the Department of Conservation, which operates the hatcheries and stocks the streams with trout.

For more information on state parks and historic sites, contact the Missouri Department of Natural Resources toll free at 800-334-6946 (voice) or 800-379-2419 (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf), or visit the website at