The park staff agree on another thing – fishing can be good in winter.
“There’s less pressure, not as many fishermen,” said Reid of Roaring River State Park, where fish stocking continues during catch and release. “They bite just the same as they do year-round, only on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The fish don’t see a hook Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.”
At Bennett Spring State Park, stocking discontinues during catch and release, but Muschany, the superintendent, said that doesn’t mean fishing slows.
“It’s always good,” he said. “There’s generally in the neighborhood of 20,000 fish in the stream.”
Fish are stocked one more time at the end of the regular season at Montauk State Park, and Bost, the naturalist, said the trout settle down – and are hungry.
“They go into their normal mode of feeding, they don’t have disruptions,” Bost said. “The number of trout per anglers is significantly different than in the season. You’ve got 3.7 miles of fishable stream in the park, and it’s in the fisherman’s favor. You have to put in the effort, but they are fairly easy to catch.”
At Roaring River State Park, campground 1 remains open during winter and the Conservation Department sells fishing licenses and trout permits ($7) at the hatchery office. The park lodge, restaurant and store close.
Bennett Spring State Park keeps open a campground with a shower house and four duplexes, with two bedrooms and a kitchen in eight units, during catch and release. The store is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Montauk State Park keeps its motel and several cabins open throughout the winter season. The campground also is open seven days a week, but the shower houses are closed. The store and restaurant in the lodge are open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
JUST BEAUTIFUL – A snowfall paints a wintery scene at Roaring River State Park. Kerry Hays/Missouri State Parks
HUNGRY FISH – Fewer anglers means more hungry trout during winter fishing. Tom Uhlenbrock/Missouri State Parks