With many miles of cool, clean, well-oxygenated streams and rivers, trout fishing in Missouri is a popular attraction. Rainbow and brown trout are so highly prized by anglers all over the country that they commonly get their own special multiple page section in state regulations, such as with Missouri fishing regulations. Even within Missouri trout parks, the rules can vary greatly.
Missouri trout parks can be a great place to start trout fishing in Missouri, no matter how experienced you are. Bennett Spring State Park, Meramec Park, Roaring River, and Montauk State Park are so heavily focused on the trout fishing experience that in addition to a Missouri fishing license, an additional daily permit is required.
Depending on the how the area is managed, anglers can either focus on the frying pan, or seek a true trophy. For example, for trout fly fishing, there are many designated areas, but starting time may be strict such as at Bennet Spring, where, November 13, 2020 to February 8, 2021, you can fish 8:00a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Fridays through Mondays. However, if you want to harvest fish March1 through October 31st, if you reach a daily limit of 4, according to the Missouri Department of Wildlife, “You must stop fishing after have 4 trout in your possession.”
This is one of the more frequent regulations that I hear anglers violate. Their assumption is that they can catch-and-release with 4 trout on a stringer. However, hooking mortality is a very real possibility, which would then put the angler in violation. If some trout are wanted for the frying pan, but not done fishing for the day, always keep one less than allowed and continue to fish.
While learning additional trout fishing tips from local tackle stores when you are picking up your fishing license, keep in mind that flies, artificial lures, or soft plastic baits can be used, depending on zone, area, or in Missouri, “ribbon.” Blue ribbon means smaller streams capable of supporting rainbow trout reproduction. White ribbon streams provide great trout fishing in Missouri all year because of the water quality and continual stockings of both rainbow and brown trout. Red ribbon streams are distinguished because of the great habitat and are mainly stocked with brown trout.
Of course, the catch and release areas are the best places to catch a true whopper while trout fishing in Missouri. Rainbow and brown may even reach double digit weights. And scouting is important especially when fly fishing Missouri for the big ones so you’ll need to be stealthy and cover water with polarized glasses.