Trout Season Opening Day
There’s little question where you’ll find Steve Riney at 6:30 a.m. on March 1. He’ll be in the same place he always is on that day — standing hip deep and elbow to elbow with other anglers waiting for the siren to signal the start of catch-and-keep trout season at Bennett Spring State Park west of Lebanon.
This year marks the 30th consecutive year for the Missouri Rural Electric Cooperative employee to make the trek from his northeast Missouri hometown of Palmyra to Bennett to enjoy the camaraderie of Opening Day. The tradition is as much about spending time with family and friends as it is catching fish, although in 2009, Steve landed the 3-pound, 10-ounce rainbow trout he proudly displays on this month’s cover. He caught the fish on a homemade fly he tied using white down from a snow goose. While the trout was certainly a lunker, it wasn’t the largest Steve has pulled from Bennett’s waters. He once caught a rainbow that tipped the scales at 6-pounds, 4-ounces.
Partnering with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the James Foundation, the Missouri Department of Conservation manages hatcheries and stocks trout at Bennett, Montauk State Park near Salem, Roaring River State Park near Cassville and Maramec Spring Park near St. James. The regular season at these parks begins March 1 and runs through Oct. 31.
Anglers are required to possess both a state fishing permit (residents 65 and older and younger than 16 are exempt) and a daily trout tag purchased at the park. Regulations vary in the four parks. Daily creel limit is four trout with an overall possession limit of eight trout.
To learn more about Missouri’s trout parks and trout fishing in general, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/7248.