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  • Mike Worley

    White Bass Primer

    By Mike Worley, in Bull Shoals,

    Bull Shoals Reservoir is one-of-a-kind. It's character doesn't resemble many other man-made lakes in the country. It's banks are, for the most part, void of docks or buildings. It seems as if it's lost in time when the Ozark Indians used to use the once White River for their source of life.
    What about the fishing?! As many lakes in the midwest, white bass are a sought after trophy, for their meat and for their fight. I remember years ago in Oklahoma, to name one state, white were considered a trash fish and not fit to eat. No limits on this abundant fish didn't seem to deter the population on most lakes and rivers. There seemed to be an endless number schooling up and down the flats, devouring and schools of shad in their way. Times have changed, as they do, and the white bass, or called sand bass in some other parts of the country, have become coveted as crappie and walleye (well- almost). Most anglers come out of the woodwork on warm, sunny days in March and April to line the banks and fill the channels with their boats to do what? Chase whites.
    When do the whites start their march? All depends on the weather. In January, we start to see white bass show up when fishing for winter crappie off mud flat banks or fishing for walleye off the flat channel in deeper water. On into February, more start to show from K-Dock up to Beaver Creek in the main channels and you can usually depend on finding them close to the bottom. How do you locate them? Find them through countless days of drifting and trolling in this 4 to 6 miles stretch... or... read my reports and I'll tel you where I've either caught them or heard of other catching them. I don't know about you but I can't afford to spend countless anything but working here at the resort! Once found, they won't move too far too fast-- especially if they are close to say Beaver Creek where they will run up to spawn.
    How to catch pre spawn whites- as I said, they will be close to the bottom of the lake. **Bull Shoals is designed to be the holding basin for the White River Chain of lakes-- it can hold lots of water. About 15 years ago, they put 40 feet of water over the normal pool-- that's allot of water!! Then normal thin lake went sprawling all over the place and it was difficult to find anything in so much water.** You need a good depth finder, not necessarily to find the whites but to see what kind of depth you're in. Finding the fish is good too. Lures and techniques- your preference from here. I like jigs. I use 1/18th and even 1/4th oz jigs, depending on the depth and wind conditions. I use marabou mostly when vertical jigging. White, blue, chartreuse, gray, yellow, purple.... I switch around until I find a color to their liking. Some people like to jerk spoons. I've never got the hang of that but I know it works. One thing to remember when working either a jig or spoon up and down-- look for it to stop before it hits bottom. You won't feel the proverbial tap like when retrieving a lure- they usually take the lure on the drop. Drifting minnows on the bottom is good. Either with the wind or current. Careful not to use too much weight so as to get hung on the bottom a lot. Trolling deep diving crank baits is also good- blue/silver hot-n-tots, shad raps and heavy rooster tails. If the lake level is low enough, use 1/8th oz lead heads and swimming minnows and work them slowly across the bottom. We use several colored minnows including motor oil, blue, purple, chartreuse and smoke. Powersite will start holding white bass early in the season. Either fishing from a boat or the banks, working crank baits or swimming minnows is current or not can be productive. You really never know what you'll catch up there too- whites, crappie, black bass, rainbow or brown trout, drum, carp, catfish, walleye- even striper now. That's why they call it the "Pot Hole".
    Night fishing for pre spawn whites is very popular and productive closer to the spawn. I've headed out in my boat from River Run on many a night, while others are heading in. I head down to the "Willows" and anchor in current along the mud bank in about 18 feet of water. I throw a purple swimming minnow (1/16th oz lead head in medium current and 1/8th in heavy current) towards the bank almost at a 90 degree angle and let the lure drop close to the bottom before retrieving it. When the lure makes the swing at the back of the boat, I usually get the strike. This is when we catch a lot of the "sows" or female whites- big whites!! Conditions do have to be just right for this to happen but in most years- we do get water generation at night and we do catch whites this way. Other ways to catch whites at night- off the banks- the same willow bank, the mouth of Swan Creek, up close to Powersite Dam and the mouth of Beaver Creek. Use slow-moving lures like jigs, grubs or swimming minnows and work them close to the bottom. Darker colored lures usually work best.
    Spawning whites- when does it really happen? Water conditions in the creeks need to be: warm- 60 degrees or higher; running water preferred; water color- I believe anything but extremely muddy. In the spring, weather fronts and rains play havoc on fishing. "The whites and running- now their not- it's too muddy- water is too high- too low- too clear- too cold- new moon- old moon." If you're like me, you spend half your time chasing "stories" about what happened yesterday and coming up empty. In early to mid April, our white bass are usually in peak spawn and most of the time, you'll find white spawning on up into May. Whites will certainly stay in the creeks into June sometimes feeding on minnows.
    Early mornings and late evenings in low light times, whites generally make a run up in our creeks and are easy pickings. Night time too. Whites will moving up in creeks and then hold in deep pools before continuing on their trek. People wading using minnows in holes below riffles usually do real well. Use 4 lb line with a small split shot and #8 hook. Toss the line in the current and let it settle in the pool. If the pool isn't real deep, blue rebels are a hot lure to use. Jerk it erratically, triggering the strike. This technique works on post spawn whites too in the main lake and in creeks. Working swimming minnows through these pools also is good. Use different colors- depending on water color- till you find a color they will hit. Fly fishing is a blast for whites in the creeks now. Fly fishing is the best technique for fishing the fast riffles and pockets along these riffles. Use small jigs, streamers and even nymphs like stones and hellgrammites. Whites usually like flashy flies.
    Whites bass hang around the same areas for weeks after spawning, usually out closer to the mouths of the creeks and in the main lake. After spawning, they are vivacious feeders and very aggressive. Jerk baits like the blue rebel and sluggos are a blast to use. We fish up in Swan Creek with small sluggos into the month of June and in clear water, you can see the white swarming the lure as you twitch it in. Main lake- rattle traps is one of the best lures to locate and catch whites.
    Bottom line- white bass is a great sport fish to fish for and even to eat. I hope this helps you have a successful fishing trip this spring.

  • Phil Lilley
    Bull Shoals has produced millions and millions of white bass over the years and is considered one of the top Midwest white bass fishery.  It's nothing to go out about any time of year and catch a limit, either trolling or jerking spoons, throwing topwater baits or working a jig or swimming minnow.  True, some years are better than others, but Bull is consistently outproducing most Ozark lakes.
    First- Bull Shoals. It's not too hard figuring out white bass on Bull Shoals. In Missouri, there are 2 major waterways white bass run up for spawning- Swan and Beaver Creeks. There are other areas whites run on the main lake and other creeks- Mincy being another creek but Swan and Beaver is where you'll find the largest numbers of fish.
    Conditions to watch- rainfall and water temperatures. Water temp and water flows trigger white bass more than anything, it seems. Sunlight and length of days of course is another but when the time comes, they're looking for that right feeling- 55 degree water. They like dingy water- it gives them more cover and a feeling of being hidden. From what? You and I probably.
    I've found the best times to find whites up in the creeks consistently is a day or two after a good rain. Creeks come up and get real dirty/trashy. Fish are moving- and feeding. See the night crawlers all over the sidewalks and roads after a rain? You can imagine a ton of worms washing into the ditches, down to the draws and into the creeks. The fish are having a field day. After the rainwater recedes and the creeks settle down a bit, it's time to move in and fish. You're still looking for "colored" water but not "chocolate milk".
    Did you know--sunlight warms colored water much faster than clear water. Why? Because the pigment in the water catches and absorbs heat, warming the water.
    Gosh- in both creeks, there's so many conditions to consider. Beaver usually comes on first, before Swan Creek. Whites will move in and out of the creek from the lake early, driving us mad. But early mornings, evenings and late at night are the best times to look. Later they start staying in the creek, staying schooled together, staging, waiting for the right conditions to move upstream to spawn.
    As Bull Shoals rises with spring rains, it's always a challenge to keep up with where the lake meets the creek. It makes a difference- this line divides moving water from still water. It also dictates where you can run a boat- and not to run a boat. When the lake gets real high, it dictates where you can- and cannot launch your boat.
    OK- once you've found the ideal conditions, it's time to catch fish.
    In the creeks, I'm a firm believer most fish like a little current- not a lot of current- a little. Use current to your advantage. Swing a jig, a spinner, a crank bait, a minnow through an eddy or over a drop-off to holding fish. I've seen boats anchor in key spots above holes or eddies as well as people wading where their baits flow down to whites.
    In still water, it's good to fish close to the bottom. Slow moving soft plastic baits- swimming minnows and grubs, jigs or spoons. I like jigs myself but that's just me. Colors- that's so hard to say. Depends on light, water color and the fish's mood. (I throw the mood thing in just so you won't take my guessing to serious.) Good colors I like- jigs: White, pink, chartreuse, gray, gray with a little red, black at night. Soft plastics: purple, smoke, motor oil, blue flake clear, chartreuse and glitter/clear. At night: Black or purple twin tailed grub worked s-l-o-w on the bottom is a killer when nothing else is working.
    When the water is clear, try a small Sluggo or 2.5 inch blue floating Rebel Minnow and jerk the heck out of it, pausing for the strike. If you're using a Sluggo, light line is a must. I use 4 lb line- but I use 4 lb with almost every application I've mentioned in this article. Worked the Sluggo in a place where you can see the bait. Most times you will not feel the strike- you have to see it to set the hook. The Rebel you will feel the strike.
    Helpful hints:
    Line size is important, as I have mentioned. A good smooth reel and sensitive lets you feel and slightest bump on slow
    days and nights. And I think the most important thing to keep in mind on slow days or nights-
    work the bait close to the bottom and s-l-o-w. I've seen more frustrated anglers,
    in and out of by boat, jeer at me because I'm catching and they're not...
    why? They aren't letting the bait go to the bottom or they're reeling to fast.
    If you're jig-head is dragging the bottom- put on a lighter jig-head and reel
    s-l-o-w. It'll work if they're there. Change colors/sizes often. Change retrieves often. Boat Launches on Bull Shoals-
    River Run at highway 76 and 160 outside of Forsyth- Corp. Shadow Rock Park off 160 near 76 junction- public. Beaver Creek Park off 160 on V south of Kissee Mills- Corp. Beaver Creek at highway 160, small camp ground- public. K-Dock at the end of K highway off 76 between Branson and Forsyth- Corp. Bait Shops-
    Tri-Lakes Bait- on 160 in Forsyth  417-546-3928
    Beaver Creek Marina 417-546-5121

  • Phil Lilley
    Bull Shoals has long been a lake known for its great fishing, including a species that you don’t find in many lakes in Missouri — the walleye pike.
    It’s commonly considered a northern sport fish, sought for its feisty fight and sweet tasting meat. When most of us think of walleye, we think of Canada or Minnesota. I’ve never been to Canada, but I have ventured to Minnesota and Leach Lake where I caught -- and ate -- my first walleye.
    Many midwestern states have incorporated walleye into their fishery plans. In Kansas, Lake Perry leads the way in popular walleye lakes. Missouri’s bragging rights go to lakes like Stockton. In Arkansas, the Norfork and Greers Ferry are hard to beat. And then there’s Bull Shoals, stuck right in the middle, with a walleye population second to none.
    What makes Bull Shoals prime waters for our red-eyed fish? Maybe it’s the long, winding shape and its mix of cliffs, mud banks and gravel bottom. Whatever it is, our walleye do very well in the border lake of Missouri and Arkansas.
    Very few walleye do not naturally reproduce in Bull Shoals. State hatcheries in Missouri and Arkansas keep walleye populations managed by taking mature males and females from the headwaters during spawning times, milking eggs and sperm and returning the brood stock back to the headwaters unharmed. The eggs are hatched and young are reared in the respective hatcheries and then released back into Bull Shoals and other lakes in their programs.
    Two Mondays ago, I had the privilege and pleasure to work with hatchery workers from West Plains, Missouri, in taking walleye just for this purpose. Anthony A. J. Pratt, fisheries biologist and manager for the fishery on Bull Shoals, Missouri, invited me to take part. A.J. has been very helpful in my fishing reports as well as in providing other great information for OzarkAnglers.
    We arrived at the meeting place at 6 p.m., the boat ramp at River Run Corps Park, just upstream of the Missouri Highway 76 bridge outside Forsyth, Missouri. Two tank trucks and two pickups, each tailoring 20-foot jon boats full of gear pulled up. The fun was to begin.
    They unloaded the equipment first, homemade racks to hold walleye for tagging, netted holding tanks, lights, tools and waders. The mission was not only to transport walleye back to the hatcheries but was also to tag walleyes for study. This was something new, added so that fishery biologists can better manage their stockings.
    I had been on one other electroshock boat — 15 years ago with Gordon Proctor, then Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery manager from MDC. We electroshocked trout on upper Lake Taneycomo. That proved to be an interesting experience being able to see what’s really down there, so to speak. I was excited about this trip.
    An electroshock boat is just what the name states -- a boat that shocks fish. Electrodes are hung out over and into the water by a long pole that extends some 12 feet in front of the boat.
    At the back of the boat is the other side of this trap, creating a field of electricity that stuns everything that swims close to it. The electroshock is not meant to harm any fish, but only to cause it to be knocked out for a few minutes, enough time to scoop them up into long-handled nets and place them in a live well inside the boat.
    As we pulled away from the ramp, I introduced myself to Shannon, my fellow net man, and Chuck, the skipper of this voyage. I could tell that Chuck was a veteran and even knew the channel from the ramp to Powersite Dam, our destination. The lake was low and gravel bars were lurking. Generation from Powersite and additional water spilling over the dam helped water levels a bit, but it still was tricky finding our way in the dark. Shannon was from Doniphan, Missouri. This was his first trip in an electroshock boat, but he seemed confident.
    We had almost arrived at the spot Chuck had in mind when I felt a jolt from the motor as if we had hit something. Although this was my first time on the lake this winter, I had heard from Buster Loving that it was tough boating to the dam because of the lake’s level. I motioned to Chuck, but he didn’t slow a bit. He later explained that the clutch dog (a gear in the lower unit of the motor) was giving out and had caused the sound.
    We stopped on the right bank ascending about ¼ mile from the dam. This is where we were to start. The other boat traveled all the way to the rock pile below the spillway. Shannon and I grabbed our nets and stepped up to the front deck. The decks were surrounded by tape-covered rails about waist high — perfect to lean against while dipping fish. The tape kept my belly from sliding from side to side. Shannon stood on a rubber mat which was a trip switch. If he stepped off the mat, the generators would automatically shut off. Chuck also had an emergency switch in case of an accident. I was at their mercy.
    The water was greenish color but was a little murky. There was steady current but not really fast. I would have considered it perfect current for throwing a jig, but that was furthest idea from my mind … yeah, right. As the spotlights came on and Chuck fired up the generator, my adrenalin started to kick in. Is it sadistic to get excited about seeing some of God’s creatures get zapped? No conviction here. I wasn’t there to see them get zapped but was there to spot them, net them and admire them.
    The first few fish we saw were white and yellow suckers. Both Shannon and I dove our nets deep for the light-colored figures just out of range for visual verification, bringing them up for inspection. Then I remembered what I was told before leaving the ramp — walleye are easy to identify because their gills flare wide open and stay open as long as they are stunned. That’s when we both saw our first walleyes. Their bellies were whiter than other fish.
    We saw gizzard shad, buffalo, rainbow and brown trout and carp as well as suckers and walleye. Surprisingly, we saw very few black bass, crappie or white bass until later in the night.
    In our first run, we covered most of the right bank down to where the gravel bar starts on the same side. I’d estimated our take was 35 walleye with four weighing more than 10 pounds. We had few less than 15 inches. Most were over 18 inches. We headed back down to the ramp. The other jon boat had come and gone and had reported a good haul, also — in my book anyhow. But the sentiment was not shared. A.J. said they had hoped for more numbers but reasoned that it might still be too early.
    We headed out again back up to the same area and ran the same bank again, but this time we switched sides halfway down and then back to the west bank. We boated further downstream also, moving into the mouth of Swan Creek. The water there was gin clear, but all we saw were more “trash fish” and no walleye. We had picked up about the same number of walleye on this trip, but it took us longer and we had to cover more water to get them.
    On the third trip we headed across the lake to just opposite the ramp. Immediately we saw a difference in fish. Above Swan Creek we had seen very few small fish — minnows, bass, blue gill — only walleye or the fish mentioned previously. The water was now lit up with small fish, what seemed to be small shad, bass, crappie, blue gill and other fish. Then we saw a school of crappie as we passed a brush pile. Bigger black bass bellied up, one more than four pounds. Shannon netted it and slung it into the tank, following it with a white bass. Why did it suddenly change? I don’t have the answer. Someone has suggested the water issuing from Swan Creek and moving downstream along that bank might have been slightly warmer and, therefore, drew all these fish.
    We picked up a few more walleye and called it quits. It was close to 10 p.m., and we weren’t collecting enough walleye to make it worth our while.
    Back at the ramp, A.J. and others, including Bill Anderson, fisheries biologist out of Springfield, were culling walleye for either transport or for tagging and return to the lake. Their projected target was to collect 50 males and 30 females. Making six night trips, they made their quota for brood stock and tagged more than 1000 walleye.
    Nuts and Bolts
    It is uncertain how well walleye successfully spawn in Bull Shoals. An ongoing study by the MDC hopes to determine the success of natural spawning. Walleye fry from this spawn will be soaked in a bath of dye, oxitectracyclein, that will turn the inner ear, called the otolith, of the fry pink. These fingerlings will be stocked in late May or the first of June along with other fingerlings from this year’s spawn. During the bass sample, which is taken in April, 100 yearling walleye will be kept and checked for this dye. This will determine whether or not these are natural or hatchery fish.
    The MDC raises about 660,000 walleye annually. More than 2.6 million eggs will be milked out of the 30 sow walleye taken out of Bull Shoals, taken to Chesapeake Hatchery in south central Missouri for hatching and grown to fry status (up to 2 inches). Then they will be taken to Mammoth Springs Federal Hatchery to be raised to fingerling size (2-4 inches).
    Bull Shoals receives 440,000 walleye fingerlings, and the North Fork gets 220,000, stocked in late May or early June.
    Arkansas stocks walleye in both North Fork and Bull Shoals, but it’s uncertain how many are actually stocked because they reportedly aren’t counted. They are reared in earthen ponds near the lakes and released when the ponds are drained into the lakes.
    After a year in the lake, walleye will measure six to eight inches long. Slow growth, you say? However, it only takes another two years to reach “keeping size” – 18 inches.
    The state record walleye was caught on Bull Shoals, just below Powersite Dam, on March 26, 1988, by Gerry Partlow. It weighed 21 pounds, 1 ounce.

  • Bill Babler
    Usually starting around Turkey time, Table Rocks Bass start thinking about a holiday feast.  If you are a chunker and winder, there is a place for you and if you are one of those guys that is all about electronics the holiday table also has your place set.
    When the Rock reaches that magic temp of around 60 degree these fish are triggered to put on some pounds.  At this time crayfish and also both of our shad species are in more than abundance and are extremely active.
    Chunk Rock wind swept banks are excellent places to toss your WarEagle  SB or your RK Crawler.  Most any speed retrieve at this time will catch some interest. 
    This past week, the cedar tree bite was on using Zara Spooks, Whooper Ploppers or SB's.  Yes the topwater bite is still going.  There were also lots of reports of fish chasing up Long Creek and in the mouth of the James.
    Main lake gravel roll-offs and long gravel flats where they meet the main river channel especially up the White River. the James River and Long Creek hold fish that can be either caught using electronics and vertical fishing or dragging big Football jigs.  Start in 20' and move out to 60+
    If you are a vertical fisherman like most of the guides and longtime locals, now is the time to catch big limits of White Bass on the jigging spoon.  These fish are also caroling with LM and very nice K's.  One of the local guides yesterday had over 70 fish with 35 keeper LM and K's to the boat, spoon feeding them.  During the tournament last weekend some of the guys were having a very hard time keeping 3 pound Whites off their junk while trying to catch bass on the spoon.
    A lot of times this will really test your skill with the electric pencil.  Instead of looking for hooks or fish, look for an extremely wide line on the bottom, sometimes really nothing more than what would appear to be a wide marker line.  When fishing the spoon drop it into the line and just start winding it up slowly.  At times the entire bottom with rise with the spoon.  "If you catch one, its on with worming and lines streaking everywhere."
    Another method that is a real fish finder on these large gravel flats is the 3/4-7/8 or 1 oz. Football Jig.  Start in that 20 ft. range and slowly drag it out to where the flat dumps into the channel.  Make circles along the edge of the flat and drag it thru any ditches or guts on the flat.  If you catch one, mark it and I'll bet my Bippy that he will have friends that you can get to  check out that jigging spoon.
    Very soon the shad will start moving back into the big creek channels and either suspending or hunkering on the bottom.  I usually start coming into the creeks, looking at 70 ft. and start slowing moving in.  Again some times you see fish but most often it is just an abnormal bottom hump or signature heavy line.  If you are lucky enough to see fish working these shad balls you are in the money.
    The deep vertical and the deep dragging bite will continue well up into the day and is not quite as time sensitive as the crank and wind bite.  Folks like Bo are already on the deep bite and if you all enjoyed his video last year, the same deal is getting underway.  Spend some time with your head looking at your on board TV screen in some of the locations I have mentioned here and it will for sure get your Holiday season off to a resounding fish catching start.
    Good Luck

  • Phil Lilley
    I have been asked a few questions recently about fishing Lake Taneycomo. After rereading all of my replies, I thought I would compile them and post them here for everyone.
    This information is just some of the things that have been productive for me over the years. They are not the only way to fish and not set in stone, but they are productive for me.
    Question.....
    "Do you fish big articulated streamers like Dungeons and such on Taneycomo? Do you catch more larger fish or are medium sized fish caught more often? What size tippet do you use?"
    I have fished T&A Rainbows on Taney during the fall brown run with success on both rainbows and browns. I don't normally fish the big articulated streamers though. I do most of my streamer fishing at night and mainly do sight fishing during the day. During the day after sight fishing all my favorite spots, I will play with some small streamers, wet flies, and even do some midging. During the day I will use 6x if I can get away with it, but most of the time, 7x. If I'm throwing the small streamers, like that minnow fly, I will bump it up to 4 or 5x tippet. It seems like on a fast strip, you can get away with bigger tippet. More of working on a reaction strike than a feeding strike.
    Sight fishing in the slower water, they have too much time to study it and you hardly ever get away with anything bigger than 6x. Night fishing, I mainly throw the streamers size 6 and smaller. 10's are probably may favorite, most productive sizes. The simple pine squirrel sculpins with a cone head work fine but pine squirrel does not come in white, so I use mink for that. I normally use 2x or 3x tippet at night.
    Leonards PMS, and Hybernators along with Mohair leeches are all great streamer patterns to use at night also. One thing to remember about night fishing......If you don't get a hit or a fish in 10 casts, you need to change it up. Change color, change fly, change stripping action. There are too many fish out there not to get a bite in 10 casts. I normally start with a black streamer on a dark night and a white one on a bright moon lit night. The first thing I change, usually within 3 cast is my strip. Either a dead drift, to a slow strip with a pause between strips to short very fast strips. If nothing with in 10 casts trying all those stripping methods, I change color.
    Colors I carry in the different streamers I use are White, Grey, Olive, Black, Red, and Purple. Once I run through all those colors in a certain pattern, I then change patterns and start running through the colors again. Sometimes you can get lucky on a good night and put to hand over 100 fish. Most of the time Ill catch 15-30 in a night. I do not always just catch big fish. Most of them are average fish, but after fishing down there for several years, I have got spots that tend to produce bigger fish every now and then, so as you can imagine, I hit those spots every time I go.
    Question.....
    "What are your most productive daytime patterns besides your minnow fly?"
    During the day, my most productive fly is the white chamois worm, midges, and sow bugs. As far as streamers other than the minnow fly...the pine squirrel cone head sculpins and white mink sculpins in a size 10. I normally will catch more fish on the worm, midges and sow bugs though. You might want to tie up some micro eggs because some of the bows are trying to spawn....match the hatch...
    Some crackle backs and some soft hackles can produce just as well as the streamers during the day also. Like I said, I only throw the streamers during the day when I get bored with the other stuff
    Question.....
    "Where do you buy your chamois? Are the midges just generic zebra-type midges?"
    You can get the chamois on eBay. It has to be white sheep skin that is very thin for doll clothes. My 4 favorite midges are zebra, rusty, prim rose and Pearl, and solid black.
    Question.....
    "What are the best flies to use if there is higher generation and the best way to rig them?"
    On high generation, if fishing the bank, I use White Chamois, Sow Bugs, Micro Eggs, San Juan Worms, and Midges. Favorite to least in that order. There are a lot of places you can still make your way down the bank with up to 3 units on. I use lots of weight to get it down fast. Sometimes up to 4 number 4 split shot. I place the split shot about 12 inches above the flies. Now on the midges, of course you would not use any weight. I only use the midges when I can see lots of fish rising in the seems and eddies close to the bank and then will put one on about 12 to 18 inches under the smallest indicator I can get. Most of the fish will hold close to the bank during generation so you don't need to cast out very far. Work the close seams and eddies within 10 feet of the bank. If I can see my flies on the short drifts, I will not us an indicator. If I can not, then I will put the indicator on.
    I love fishing down below outlet #2 with 2 units on. The water is perfect for fishing that bank under 2 units of generation. Just below outlet #2 is a tree that hangs out over the water with 2 units running. From that tree down, within 6 feet of the bank, usually holds lots of fish. There is a nice eddie just below the tree and then some giant boulders that create great fish holding eddies also. You can also drive over the dam and get access to the south side. The back side of the Island is a great place to fish during generation also.
    Note:  Duane Doty guides on Taneycomo and other creeks and rivers in S.W. Missouri.  He works at Lilleys' Landing Resort & Marina.

  • Phil Lilley
    Many issues to talk about, as well as fishing, in the fall. Dissolved oxygen, water temperature, restricted flows...... confusing details to understand when fishing tailwaters. Wish we didn't have to consider them when JUST fishing, but they do affect the way trout move, hold, feed-- and don't feed-- and that affects our fishing strategy.
    I know this is old hat to some of you, but I'd like to go over the basics. Lakes change at different seasons of the year. As spring and summer pass, surface water warms and separations or layers form. Because water density changes when it differs in temperature, these layers become very defined as summer wears on. If you look at the Lake Profile - http://www.swl.usace.army.mil/wcds/rdo2.html you will see a profile, kinda of a photograph, of the water at the dam at Table Rock. See where the temp drops, as well as the DO level, as it gets deeper. And the big drop near the top - this is called the thermocline and where, generally, a large number of fish will hold. As the water warms on the surface, the thermocline drops lower in the lake. We get our water at 130 feet deep and is marked by an asterisk to the side. As you see, the water temperature is colder at that level than the surface but the DO is very low and gets lower as you drop down. As colder weathers rolls in-- November and December-- surface temperatures drop, literally. Cold water is heavier than hot water and thus drops and "turns" the lake over at some point in the game. It's like a tilting table: when the load on top gets heavier than the load on the bottom, it tilts and turns over, leaving the heavier on the bottom. This happens generally from around Thanksgiving into December. Until then, we're stuck with low DO levels entering into LT.
    Dissolved Oxygen
    Water contains oxygen, H2O - O stands for Oxygen. Oxygen is measure by parts per million. On a scales of 0 to 12, 12 is about the highest you'll find in lake water- usually in the top layers where sunlight, wind and rain adds oxygen. In any lake or pond during the seasons, the layers form layers. Each layer has different density and oxygen levels, depending on the season and temperature of the water at the different levels. The layers start forming in late spring when the top levels start to warm. As summer rolls on, temps in the upper layers really rise and becomes lighter then the layers below. Because of the lack of sunlight, oxygen levels drop as you get lower in the lake or pond and later in the fall, DO amounts at the bottom are nile. As it gets closer to winter and the air temps drop and winds pick up, the surface temperatures drop also. Cold water is heavier than warm water thus this cooler water sinks to the bottom. This starts the the turning effect. When alot of water on top become cooler than the bottom- heat rises- the two levels mix and thus- good DO throughout the depths. The the cycle starts all over again.
    As far as the different levels- 0 - 12...... where 0 is real bad (no oxygen- things die) and 12 is usually the surface reading on a lake during alot of wind- may be even 13. The State of Missouri has said that anything under 6 parts is considered pollution. If a business or private individual discharges water with a lower reading than 6- they could get in trouble. But since a dam and the water it releases is not considered "point source" discharge, these rules do not apply and cannot be enforced. The Corp's low point is 4 parts- they try and not go below 4 when they release water from Table Rock. Fisheries for MDC has said that 6 parts is a good bottom indicator-- where fish and other water creatures can live, feed and reproduce. They also say anything below 3 parts can and will cause death in most trout, but this depends on water temperature also. Stress is the key. If a rainbow is already in stress because the water temp is above- say- 60 degrees and then he's hit with low DO- say 3 or even 4 parts, he could die. And the bigger the trout is, the more stress all these factors affect it.
    What does low DO do to our trout? It slows them down a bit. How do you know when DO levels are too low and threaten the life and health of trout? A high number is 12 parts per million (ppm). A low number is 0 ppm. Generally, fisheries biologist say 3 ppm is the bottom on the scale, and with high water temperatures, could cause death if prolonged. Six ppm is what the State of Missouri Clean Water Act says is the standard for "safe" water. But the Corps, as a federal agency, doesn't have to adhere to state regulations and has set its mark at 4 ppm. Are we happy about this? No. We've appealed for change but to no avail-- yet.
    The Corps does put restrictions on flow at Table Rock. These flow restrictions differ as the fall months progress and the water quality drops. This just means that even in peak times, levels will not exceed the ability to add enough DO to the effluent to keep levels above 4 ppm.
    There are three ways dissolved oxygen is added to the near-nil levels in September and October. The hatchery outlets are rich in DO. That's why you will see large numbers of trout with their noses in the effluent. The Corps has modified the turbines and added vents at the top of the chambers to allow air to mix with the water, creating a sloshing effect as it enters the lake. This is hard on the turbine blades, causing the surface of the blades to weaken. Corps officials like to reminds us about this -- that they are sacrificing for the good of the trout. When all of the above fails to add adequate DO to the tailwater, the Corps injects liquid oxygen directly into the turbines. Monitors keep track of DO levels as they enter the lake.
    One thing you have to realize-- when the federal government build dams, bureaucrats have to promise that the dams won't hurt the fishery in either the lake above or the tailwater below. When they build dams that are high and the water coming out is too cold for warm water species, they have to provide coldwater species for that fishery, such as the Neosho Federal Trout Hatchery producing 200,000 rainbows per year. Water quality standards also have to be maintained at a level the fish can survive and thrive. The definition of thrive is in question here. The Corps' definition is to "just get by." Sportsmen and fishing-related businessmen think thriving means the fish "move and grow respectively, with adequate food supply to reproduce." But the food supply is low, and there is no reproduction. That must change, and I believe it will in time.

  • Phil Lilley
    November 1, 2015  First video, my latest, clearly shows scuds swimming from the bank to the dock under and through vegetation, holding to the dock flotation and sitting on a pump.
    Note the clear orange coloration of some of the scuds.  And the propulsion of the one swimming.
    Cream Midge.  Small Snails.
    October 24, 2015
    June 9, 2015
    Bugs in the gravel.
     

  • Phil Lilley

    Crane Creek

    By Phil Lilley, in Crane Creek,

    Crane Creek is one of the most unique streams in the Midwest. In the late 1800's, railcar brought a strain of rainbow trout called the McCloud from the west coast to be raised and stocked in  spring fed creeks and rivers in Arkansas and Missouri, including Crane Creek. In 1967, the Missouri Department of Conservation stocked rainbows in Crane, and trout have not been stocked there since.  The rainbows found in Crane Creek today could be a kin to the famous McCloud strain but it is not a pure strain.  But the trout are wild, born and raised in Crane.

    Crane Creek is one of seven streams the Conservation Department has designated as wild trout management areas which also  include Barren Fork, Blue Springs Creek, Mill Creek, Spring Creek and portions of the North Fork and Eleven Point rivers. The wild trout are treasured in a state that does not have naturally producing trout,  serving as a genetic pool backup in case hatchery fish become diseased.
    Crane Creek rainbows have a reputation for being shy, one reason for their endurance. They tend to seek shelter with any strange movement, making them a challenge to sneek up on. Some say they aren't too picky about what fly they  take, but getting close enough to cast to them is the trick.

    Crane Creek is located in and around the town of Crane, Missouri, southwest of Springfield and southeast of Joplin. There is plenty of public fishing in town as well as in areas owned and managed by the MDC.  The Department has placed special regulations on fishing some areas of the creek, such as catch-and-release only or flies and lures only. See our Crane Creek map for more details.
    If you get the privledge to fish this little gem, please be careful with our wild rainbows. Try not to handle them. Use barbless hooks or bend the barbs down on the hooks you have. And return those caught to the water as quickly as possible.



    Click on Map for a PDF Formated Map download you can print and use.
    Fishing Regulations
    Crane Creek only has a Blue Ribbon Trout Area
    8.0 miles Stone and Lawrence Counties Upstream from Quail Spur Road crossing on Stone County Rd 13-195 At least 18-inches Daily Limit - 1 Artificial lures and flies only
    Trout Lure Definitions
    Fly is an artificial lure constructed on a single point hook, using any material except soft plastic bait and natural and scented baits as defined below, that is tied, glued or otherwise permanently attached.
    Artificial Lure is a lure constructed of any material excluding soft plastic bait and natural and scented bait as defined below.
    Soft Plastic Bait - synthetic eggs, synthetic worms, synthetic grubs and soft plastic lures.
    Natural and Scented Baits - a natural fish food such as bait fish, crayfish, frogs permitted as bait, grubs, insects, larvae, worms, salmon eggs, cheese, corn and other food substances not containing any ingredient to stupefy, injure or kill fish. This does not include flies or artificial lures. It does include dough bait, putty or paste-type bait, any substance designed to attract fish by taste or smell and any fly, lure or bait containing or used with such substances.

    Fishing Licenses -
    Residents - those fishing of the ages of 16 and older and 65 are required to have on their person a valid Missouri fishing license. Those 65 and older do not need a fishing license.
    Proof of residency - Valid Missouri Drivers License.
    Non-residents - those fishing of the ages of 16 and older are required to have on their person a valid Missouri fishing license.
    For Missouri & Arkansas residents only - a special border permit can be purchased to allow fishing in both Missouri and Arkansas without purchasing an out-of-state license.
    A Missouri TROUT STAMP is required for ANYONE who fishes the trophy or Blue Ribbon area on the Current River, regardless if the angler is keeping or releasing their catch. (New March 1, 2005)
    Costs -
    Resident - $12 annual
    Non-resident - $42
    Daily - $7
    Trout Stamp - $7
    Buy Missouri Fishing Licenses Online!
    Missouri Wildlife Code
    Report Violations - Poachers
    In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Operation Game Theft works to stop the illegal taking of fish and wildlife that includes trophy animals and rare and endangered species.

  • Phil Lilley

    Current River

    By Phil Lilley, in Current River,

    It's not often you can actually point to the origin of a major river, but you can on the Current River.  You can point at bubbling, flowing water coming from Montauk Spring in Montauk State Park in Southeast Missouri.  The flow from the spring and Pigeon Creek moves through the park, and leaving the park, it enters the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
    The Current River is approximately 184 miles long.  It dumps into the Black River near Pocahontas, Arkansas.  Of those 184 miles, 105 miles are in the federally protected Riverways.  It runs through Mark Twain State Forest until it reaches Highway 160 near Doniphan, Missouri.
    There are natural springs that dot the Ozarks countryside along the river including Welch Spring, the largest.  The river is nearly doubled in size just 14 miles down from Montauk Park.  Other notable springs are Round, Pulltite and Cave Spring.
    Montauk state hatchery raises about 300,000 to 400,000 rainbows and stocks about 200,000 trout in the park annually.  But the rainbows don't necessarily stay in the park,  migrating down river to make up a majority of the game fish in the first 20 miles of the river.  Trout are also stocked at Welch Spring.
    -- Intro by Al Agnew
    River Levels

    Current River Level at Montauk

    Current River Level above Akers, MO

    Current River Level at Van Buren, MO

    Current River Level at Doniphan, MO
    Fishing Regulations
    Trout:  Blue Ribbon Trout Area:
    From the lower boundary at Montauk State Park to Cedargrove Bridge 9.0 miles Daily Trout Limit - ONE - At least 18 inches in length Artificial lures and flies only No Red Ribbon Area on the Current River
    White Ribbon Trout Area:
    From the Cedargrove Bridge downstream 7.7 miles Daily Trout Limit - FOUR - rainbows and/or brown trout but browns have to be 15-inches or longer to keep. No bait restrictions See Montauk State Park for fishing regulations in the park.
    Warmwater Fish - **Bass, black (largemouth), smallmouth and spotted bass (kentuckies)- 12-inches length limit, 6 daily, 12 possession.
    **Statewide season on bass in rivers and streams is open from the 4th Saturday of May till the last day in February annually.
    White bass, striper, hybrid bass- 15 total daily (only 4- 18 inches or longer can be kept in a daily limit), 30 possession.
    Rock bass (goggleye) - no length limit, 15 daily, 30 possession.
    Crappie, white or black - no length limit, 30 daily, 60 possession.
    Bluegill - no limit
    Catfish - no length limit, 10 daily (only 5 can be flatheads in a daily limit), 20 possession.
    Walleye - 18 inch minimum length, 4 daily, 8 possession.
    From Cedar Grove to Arkansas state line - daily limit on hogsuckers is 5.
    Fishing Licenses -
    Residents - those fishing of the ages of 16 and older and 65 are required to have on their person a valid Missouri fishing license. Those 65 and older do not need a fishing license.
    Proof of residency - Valid Missouri Drivers License.
    Non-residents - those fishing of the ages of 16 and older are required to have on their person a valid Missouri fishing license. 
    A Missouri TROUT STAMP is required for ANYONE who fishes the trophy or Blue Ribbon area on the Current River, regardless if the angler is keeping or releasing their catch. (New March 1, 2005)
    Costs -
    Resident - $12 annual
    Non-resident - $42
    Daily - $7
    Trout Stamp - $7
    Buy Missouri Fishing Licenses Online!
    Report Violations - Poachers
    In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Operation Game Theft works to stop the illegal taking of fish and wildlife that includes trophy animals and rare and endangered species.
    Missouri Wildlife Code
    Horsepower Limits
    Two Rivers upstream to Round Springs (Lower Access - 40 hp
    Above Round Spring Lower Access (Except above Akers from May 1 - September 15 10 HP Maximum) - 25 hp
    Two Rivers upstream to Alley Spring Campground Access  - 40 hp
    Above Alley Spring Campground Access (Except above Bay Creek from March 1 to Saturday before Memorial Day - 10 HP) - 25 hp
    Two Rivers downstream to Big Spring John boat landing - 40 hp
    Big Spring Johnboat Landing downstream to park boundary - no limit
    Top Five Flies

    Sam Potter shares his experience and knowledge of fly fishing on the Current River in this article on OzarkAnglers.  From streamers to dries, the Current is an excellent place to fly fish for trout as well as warmwater species such as smallmouth bass and goggleye.

  • Phil Lilley
    Bennett Spring Trout Park is one of four state-run trout parks in Missouri, and by far, draws the largest crowd of anglers. Located 12 miles north of Lebanon, MO, Bennett Spring has the most flow of all the trout parks.
    The spring was discovered and used by early settlers for grist and flour mills in the mid-19th century.  Its output of more than 100,000 gallons of water per day ranks fourth largest in Missouri's springs,  and it feeds a well-stocked rainbow trout stream enjoyed by thousands of anglers each year.

    Each night rainbows are stocked, the number correlating with the number of tags sold each day.  For every angler who purchased a daily tag, 2.5 rainbows are stocked each night.  That gives the new fish about 10 hours to find a hiding place before the ceremonial bell rings signaling the dawn of another fishing day.
    Amenities:
    Nature Center Lodging with swimming pools Camping Hiking and bike trails Great fly and tackle shops Beautiful, peaceful surroundings The natural food base  in the stream is scuds (freshwater shrimp), sculpins, other small minnows, a few crawfish, midges and various other flies, but they don't thrive in big numbers.
    In most of the park, visibility is not a problem.  You can see the trout -- and they can see you!  That water clarity can correlate to a slow fishing (or catching) day, but not necessarily.  Freshly stocked trout are not the brightest fish in the water, especially early in the day.  You can target a trout, cast your fly, jig or spinner in front of it then thrill to watch it take your offering.  There's nothing like seeing a rainbow trout sip a dry fly off the surface of the water and then landing it!!
    Park Map
    Click Image for a pdf format download.  You can print from this file.

    Fishing Hours in Missouri Trout Parks
    Open Close Month CST DST CST DST March 6:30 a.m. 7:30 a.m. 6:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. April   7:00 a.m.   7:30 p.m. May   6:30 a.m.   8:15 p.m. June   6:30 a.m.   8:30 p.m. July   7:00 a.m.   8:00 p.m. August   7:30 a.m.   7:15 p.m. September   7:30 a.m.   6:30 p.m. Catch & Release Winter Season
    Winter catch-and-release season is from the second Friday in November to the second Monday in February, open only Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday each week. All anglers must possess a trout permit during the winter catch-and-release season. The area open for winter fishing is from the hatchery to the bridge below the old dam in the lower campground. Only flies are permitted during winter catch-and-release season.  A fly is defined as an artificial lure constructed on a single point hook, using any material except soft plastic and natural and scented bait that is tied, glued or otherwise permanently attached. Fishing hours are from 8 a.m.until 4 p.m. Fishing Regulations
    Trout fishing is permitted in accordance with the Wildlife Code and posted restrictions daily from March 1st to October 31st, and during the winter catch and release season.  Throughout the year all anglers shall have a state fishing permit except those 15 years and younger or Missouri residents 65 years and older.  Any resident of Missouri 65 years and older shall carry a valid Missouri motor vehicle operator's license, notarized affidavit, or similar official document proving his/her eligibility based on residence and age.
    Each anglers hall sign and display a daily trout tag purchased on the area.  The statewide daily limits if 4 trout, regardless of number of daily tags purchased or waters fished.  No person shall continue to fish for any species in these trout waters after harvesting a daily limit of 4 trout anywhere in Missouri.
    Each anglers shall keep their trout separate at all times and identified with the angler's name and address.
    Daily Limit - 4 trout, possession limit is 8 trout.  All brown trout less than 15 inches must be released unharmed immediately after capture.  There is no minimum length limit on rainbow trout.
    Only a single pole or rod may be used.  Gigging, snaring, snagging and the taking of live bait are NOT permitted.
    No person shall continue to fish for nay species in these trout waters after having four trout in possession.
    Wading is permitted by anglers only.
    Swimming and use of water craft is prohibited.
    Trout Lure Definitions
    Fly - an artificial lure constructed on a single point hook, using any material except soft plastic bait and natural and scented baits as defined below, that is tied, glued or otherwise permanently attached.
    Artificial Lure - a lure constructed of any material excluding soft plastic bait and natural and scented bait as defined below.
    Soft Plastic Bait - synthetic eggs, synthetic worms, synthetic grubs and soft plastic lures.
    Natural and Scented Baits - a natural fish food such as bait fish, crayfish, frogs permitted as bait, grubs, insects, larvae, worms, salmon eggs, cheese, corn and other food substances not containing any ingredient to stupefy, injure or kill fish. This does not include flies or artificial lures. It does include dough bait, putty or paste-type bait, any substance designed to attract fish by taste or smell and any fly, lure or bait containing or used with such substances.
    The use of game fish or parts thereof for bait or chumming is NOT permitted.
    Fishing Zones
    Zone One -- From the Hatchery Dam upstream to the end of the area.  Only flies are permitted.
    Zone Two -- From the Hatchery Dam to the Whistle Bridge.  Only flies and artificial lures are permitted.
    Zone Three -- From the Whistle Bridge to the Niangua River.  Only soft plastic bait (unscented) and natural and scented baits are permitted.  All flies and artificial lures are prohibited, even if natural bait or scent has been added.
    CATCH AND KEEP SEASON (MARCH 1- OCT. 31)
    Park fishermen are required to have a Missouri Fishing Permit and a Daily Trout Tag.  These can be purchased at the Weavers Tackle Store.
    COST- $3.00 Daily Tag For Adults
    $2.00 Daily Tag For Children 15 Under
    Buy Missouri Fishing Licenses Online!
    Missouri Wildlife Code
    Report Violations - Poachers
    In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Operation Game Theft works to stop the illegal taking of fish and wildlife that includes trophy animals and rare and endangered species.
    Current Water Levels

  • Phil Lilley
    Maramec Spring Park is home to one of four trout parks in the state of Missouri. Maramec is unique as a privately owned park operated by the James Foundation while its fishery is administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
    Maramec Spring Hatchery produces about 100,000 trout a year that are all stocked in Maramec Spring Park. Trout are received as three-inch fingerlings from Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery at Branson, MO. The trout are fed three times a day, growing three-fourths to an inch each month. The fish are reared in a raceway fed by the water from Maramec Spring. The fish are stocked at a rate of 2.25 fish per daily tag sold and are at least 12 inches in length. An additional 40,000 trout are hauled in from Montauk Hatchery each year to be stocked in the park.
    Maramec Spring Hatchery is one of five trout hatcheries operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation. These hatcheries stock close to 1.9 million trout in Missouri waters each year. Over a million of those rainbows were stocked in the trout parks.
    Maramec Spring Hatchery also manages Indian Trail Hatchery, a warmwater facility that raises farm pond fish, located near Salem.
    River Levels

    Meramec River at Steelville 

    Meramec River at Cook Station
    Fishing Hours in Missouri Trout Parks
    Open Close Month CST DST CST DST March 6:30 a.m. 7:30 a.m. 6:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. April   7:00 a.m.   7:30 p.m. May   6:30 a.m.   8:15 p.m. June   6:30 a.m.   8:30 p.m. July   7:00 a.m.   8:00 p.m. August   7:30 a.m.   7:15 p.m. September   7:30 a.m.   6:30 p.m. Catch & Release Winter Season
    Winter catch-and-release season is from the second Friday in November to the second Monday in February, open only Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday each week. All anglers must possess a trout permit during the winter catch-and-release season. The area open for winter fishing is from the hatchery to the bridge below the old dam in the lower campground. Only flies are permitted during winter catch and release season.  A fly is defined as an artificial lure constructed on a single point hook, using any material except soft plastic and natural and scented bait that is tied, glued or otherwise permanently attached. Fishing hours are from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
    Trout fishing is permitted in accordance with the Missouri Wildlife Code and posted restrictions daily from March 1st to October 31st, and during the winter catch and release season.  Throughout the year all anglers shall have a state fishing permit except those 15 years and younger or Missouri residents 65 years and older.  Any resident of Missouri 65 years and older shall carry a valid Missouri motor vehicle operator's license, notarized affidavit, or similar official document proving his/her eligibility based on residence and age.
    Each anglers hall sign and display a daily trout tag purchased on the area.  The statewide daily limits if 4 trout, regardless of number of daily tags purchased or waters fished.  No person shall continue to fish for any species in these trout waters after harvesting a daily limit of 4 trout anywhere in Missouri.
    Each anglers shall keep their trout separate at all times and identified with the angler's name and address.
    Daily Limit - 4 trout, possession limit is 8 trout.  All brown trout less than 15 inches must be released unharmed immediately after capture.  There is no minimum length limit on rainbow trout.
    Only a single pole or rod may be used.  Gigging, snaring, snagging and the taking of live bait are NOT permitted.
    No person shall continue to fish for nay species in these trout waters after having four trout in possession.
    Wading is permitted by anglers only.
    Swimming and use of water craft is prohibited.
    The use of game fish or parts thereof for bait or chumming is NOT permitted.
    Trout Lure Definitions
    Fly-  an artificial lure constructed on a single point hook, using any material except soft plastic bait and natural and scented baits as defined below, that is tied, glued or otherwise permanently attached.
    Artificial Lure - a lure constructed of any material excluding soft plastic bait and natural and scented bait as defined below.
    Soft Plastic Bait - synthetic eggs, synthetic worms, synthetic grubs and soft plastic lures.
    Natural and Scented Baits - a natural fish food such as bait fish, crayfish, frogs permitted as bait, grubs, insects, larvae, worms, salmon eggs, cheese, corn and other food substances not containing any ingredient to stupefy, injure or kill fish. This does not include flies or artificial lures. It does include dough bait, putty or paste-type bait, any substance designed to attract fish by taste or smell and any fly, lure or bait containing or used with such substances.
    Each angler shall sign and display a daily trout tag purchased on the area.  The statewide daily limits if 4 trout, regardless of number of daily tags purchased or waters fished.  No person shall continue to fish for any species in these trout waters after harvesting a daily limit of 4 trout anywhere in Missouri.
    Each angler shall keep their trout separate at all times and identified with the angler's name and address.
    The Missouri Department of Conservation stocks trout into approximately .6 miles of the Spring Branch each day.  Park fishermen are required to have a Missouri Fishing Permit and a Daily Trout Tag.  These can be purchased at the Parks Company Store.
    COST- $3.00 Daily Tag For Adults
    $2.00 Daily Tag For Children 15 Under
    Buy Missouri Fishing Licenses Online!
    Missouri Wildlife Code
    Report Violations - Poachers
    In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Operation Game Theft works to stop the illegal taking of fish and wildlife that includes trophy animals and rare and endangered species.
    Fees
    The cost to enter Maramec Spring Park is $5 per car and $25 per bus. School buses may enter without charge.
    During "OLD IRON WORKS DAYS" the cost is $15 per car and $25 per bus.
    A season parking pass may be purchased for $35. This pass allows you to enter the park throughout the year without being charged a daily fee.
    During Kid's Fishing Day, those vehicles containing a child  age 15 or younger may enter Maramec Spring Park free.
    Maramec Spring
    Maramec has been designated a Registered Natural Landmark under the provisions of the Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1935. This spring possesses exceptional value in illustrating the natural history of the United States.
    Maramec Spring is the centerpiece of the park. The spring's water gushes from beneath a huge bluff. It is estimated that the spring produces an average of 100 million gallons of water each day making it the fifth largest spring in Missouri.  Since the spring is fed by rainwater stored deep within the earth, the spring flow is only mildly affected by drought. Heavy rain, over extended periods, can cause the flow to increase significantly.
    The daily temperature of the spring water is 56 degrees fahrenheit. As a result, the water never freezes. It appears to be warm in the winter and cold in the summer. The water quality of Maramec Spring is good. Cool, clean water has made it possible for trout to thrive in Maramec Spring.
    Be certain to visit the Maramec Museum to learn more about the spring.
    Referring Sites:
    Maramec Spring Park

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