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  • 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

  • Phil Lilley
    Montauk State Park, some claim, is by far the best trout fishing destination in the Midwest.  In the summer season, the park is alive with families enjoying all aspects of the facilities.  The park has a great campground along the river, cabins for nightly rental, a park store with dining and a variety of free programs by the parks service on nature and the park itself.  Montauk Mill, which was built over 116 years ago, is a place of interest.  Free tours are given daily on the on season March 1st to October 31st, and by request during the winter months.
    The area around Montauk has good opportunists for day trips to explore the Ozark hills. Bo's Hollow which is located about two miles from the park on Ashley Creek road transports the visitors back in time to the early days of the model T's and an reconstructed Ozark village. Great Bar-B-Q is also served in the village.
    Montauk Park has over 1.5 miles of nature trails for the families to enjoy and see a wide variety of wildlife. Other day trips are trips to the towns of Licking and Salem both only 20 minets from Montauk. Both towns offer a variety of Ozark foods and antiquate shops.
    Montauk Camping sites can be reserved online at The Missouri Department Of Natural Resource site. Other camping is avalabe at Eagles nest, Trade Winds, Happy Pappy's all located close to the park. Tackle and fly shops is limited to The Lodge and Reed's Cabins both have the items you will need to get you fishing.

    Trout Fishing
    Rainbow and brown trout can be caught in and just outside the park on the Current River, which starts at Montauk Spring. The catch-and-release fishing area, has had fish habitat work done in the past few years, adding wood, rock structures, and under cut banks to the river. This area above the hatchery and the CCC rock bridge has trophy brown and rainbow trout waiting to test your skills.
    Springs in the northern end of Montauk State Park combine with tiny Pigeon Creek to form the headwaters of the famed Current River. The upper park has been designated a catch-and- release area for trophy trout restricted to flies and lures only.  There are no hook restrictions, but no soft plastics or scented baits are allowed.

    The Blue Ribbon Trophy area of the Current River starts at the lower park boundary (marked with a cable).  This area extend from Montauk to Ceder Grove, and is one of the most pristine of Missouri trout streams. This area is best accessed from Montauk and several areas are a short drive from Montauk.
    The natural food base here is scuds (freshwater shrimp), sculpins, other small minnows, crawfish, midges, and various other flies, but they do not propagate in large numbers.
    The official trout season opens March 1 and runs through Oct. 31. Catch-and-release fishing is available on weekends during the winter. A fishing license and daily trout tag are required.
    Montauk Fish Hatchery raises about 300,000 to 400,000 rainbows and stocks about 200,000 trout in the park annually.

    Park History
    Early residents came to the area from New York and named their first post office after Montauk in Suffolk County, Long Island. Because of its proximity to the springs and its abundant supply of water power, the village of Montauk proved to be an excellent spot for milling. A total of four mills served the community at various times. The last, a gristmill built in 1896, still stands in the park. The mill contains most of its original machinery and is open seasonally for tours.
    Things To Do in the Area
    Trout Fishing Fly & Tackle Shop Hiking Trails (Pine Ridge and Montauk Trails) Camping Housekeeping Cabins Canoeing & Kayaking Gristmill Tour You don't have to be an angler, however, to enjoy all that Montauk State Park and the surrounding region have to offer. The Current River is known as one of the finest canoeing rivers in the Midwest. Although canoes are not allowed within the state park boundaries, the northernmost canoe access to the Current River, Tan Vat, is located just below the park's southeast border. Both the Current River and the nearby Jack's Fork River have been designated as National Scenic Riverways by the National Park Service, which helps preserve them in their natural, free-flowing state. Additional information about area canoe rental agencies can be obtained from the park office or lodge.
    Interpretive programs are presented by the park naturalists throughout spring, summer and fall.
    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. River Levels

    Current River at Montauk State Park
    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 any 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 & Fly 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.
    Park fishermen are required to have a Missouri Fishing Permit and a Daily Trout Tag.  These can be purchased at the Reed's Tackle Shop.
    COST- $3.00 Daily Tag For Adults
    $2.00 Daily Tag For Children 15 Under
    Buy Missouri Fishing Licenses Online!
    Winter Catch-and-Release Season
    2015-16 Catch and Release Season starts November 13, 2015 and ends February 8, 2016.
    Winter catch-and-release season is from the second Friday in November to the Second Monday in February. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday only.
    Fishing is only permitted upstream from the old low water bridge located just below the ADA fishing pier in the campground.
    All anglers must possess a Trout Permit during the winter catch and release season.
    Only flies are permitted during the winter catch and release season (see Lure & Fly Definitions).
    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
    The White River below Bull Shoals Dam is the granddaddy of rivers here in the Ozarks. The dam has eight turbines, twice as many as any other dam on the system.  When all eight are online, the White River becomes a fast, wild, cold river, demanding respect of all those who venture out on it.  But when there’s no generation, the same care is required because of the many gravel bars and shallow riffles that dot up the river up and down.  Some areas, like Wildcats Shoals, are almost impassible.  This is a major reason why there are so many fishing guides on the White River.
    The White was made famous back in the early 1900’s by its long, guided float trips for bass.  The building of the second dam on the river, Bull Shoals Dam in 1963, created one of the best trout fisheries in the country.  The river is 101 miles from Bull Shoals Dam to Lock and Dam #3 below Guion, Arkansas, and all of it is trout water.
    Picture by Cotter Trout Dock in Cotter, Ar Overnight camping trips are still offered on the White.  An outfitter sends a large commissary boat with a crew ahead of anglers to set up camp, build the fire and prepare dinner to be ready just as the anglers arrive from a day full of catching big rainbows and browns.

    Calvin Johnston, of  Olathe, Kansas, holds the White River brown trout record.  Johnston hooked the 38.7-pound "hog" that measured 37.5 inches on Feb. 27, 2015 while fishing at Rainbow Drive Resort in Cotter.
    There aren’t many places in the country that an angler has a chance for a “grand slam” which is bringing to net a rainbow, a brown, cutthroat and a brook trout all in the same day on the same water.  Here on the White River, you can do that!!

    Abundant food and ideal water temperatures enable the system's tailwater trout to grow one half to one inch per month, year round.
 Unlike other tailwaters in the system, the White sees lots of insect hatches like midges, mayflies, caddis and stones, but freshwater shrimp or “scuds” are the trout’s main diet.  There’s also sculpin, crawfish and other forage fish in the river.
    Special fishing regulations divide the river into sections where trout are assured a chance to grow to trophy size.  Catch-and-release areas, size limits, bait and hook restrictions are all in place in to make the White River one of the best trout fisheries in the country, growing big browns, big rainbows, large cutthroat and brookies for anglers all to enjoy.
    Water Release
    When water is released from Bull Shoals Dam, anglers downstream and out of earshot of the warning horn have to be mindful that water level and flow can increase quickly, even dangerously.  Extreme caution must be practiced at all times, especially when wading or using an anchor from a boat.

    Estimating when recently released water will arrive at the point where you will be fishing is also crucial to ensure you're outing is a safe one.
    The following is an estimated time, assuming an eight-hour shut down overnight and a generation of 3-5-8 units in sequence within three to four hours of first generation:
    Gaston's - five miles/45 minutes
    White Hole - eight miles/90 minutes
    Wildcat Shoals - 11 miles/3 hours
    Cotter - 18 miles/ 4.5 hours
    Rim Shoals - 24 miles/ 6 hours
    Ranchette - 29 miles/ 7 hours
    Buffalo City - 31 miles/9 hours
    Shipps Ferry - 10 hours
    Norfork - 49 miles/14 hours
    Calico - 62 miles/24 hours
    Sylamore - 79 miles/35 hours
    Water release, past releases and river levels can be obtained by calling 870-431-5311 (recording).
    Southwest Power Administration's site for Scheduled Water Release

    SPA Generation Schedule
    Bull Shoals Lake Top Flood Pool: 695.0
    White River Top Power Pool: 654.0
    (BSGA4) Bottom Power Pool: 628.5
    Real time generation 870-431-5311

    USACE Realtime Levels
    USACE Oxygen Profile Levels, Bull Shoals (seasonal)




    River Levels Links
    White River near Norfork, AR
    White River at Calico Rock, AR
    White River at Allison, AR
    White River at Batesville, AR
    Fishing Regulations

    Bull Shoals Lake Tailwater
    A fishing license and a trout permit are required to retain trout from any state waters or to fish in the White River from Bull Shoals Dam to the Highway 58 bridge at Guion. Licenses or permits are not required for children under 16. There is a daily limit of five trout. Only two brook trout, 14 inches or longer may be retained. Only one brown trout, 24 inches or longer may be retained. Only two cutthroat trout, 16 inches or longer may be retained.
    Trout Stamp
    Bull Shoals Tailwater: From 100 yards below Bulls Shoals Dam to Highway 58 Bridge at Guion: A trout permit is required.
    Rod and Reel Only
    Anglers may use no more than one fishing rod or pole and must attend it at all times. No other devices shall be used to catch fish.
    Bull Shoals Catch-and-Release Areas
    In the following areas, all trout must be released immediately. All hooking points must be barbless (natural or scented baits are not allowed). Chumming is not allowed.
    Bull Shoals Catch-and-Release Area: From 100 yards below Bull Shoals Dam to the upstream boundary of Bull Shoals White River State Park, as indicated by signs: Catch-and-release Feb. 1-Oct. 31. Closed to fishing Nov. 1-Jan. 31 downstream to the wing dike at the Bull Shoals White River State Park Trout Dock;
    Bull Shoals Seasonal Brown Trout Catch-and-Release Area: From the wing dike at the Bull Shoals White River State Park trout dock to the downstream boundary of the park: Seasonal catch-and-release area for brown trout Nov. 1-Jan. 31. Brown trout must be released immediately. No fishing from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.
    Monkey Island Catch-and-Release Area: From the upstream end of Monkey Island to Moccasin Creek, as indicated by signs.
    Rim Shoals Catch-and-Release Area (near Cotter): From sign immediately above mouth of Jenkins Creek to the first electric power line downstream, as indicated by signs;
    Big Spring (In Cotter, at the AGFC access to the White River)
    From its source to the confluence with the White River, unless otherwise specified. Only anglers under age 16, accompanied by an adult, and anglers with a valid disability license and trout permit may fish Big Spring. Catch-and-release area. Trout must be released immediately. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used (natural or scented baits are not allowed). Chumming is not allowed. Anglers may use no more than one fishing rod or pole, and must attend it at all times. No other devices may be used to catch fish. Fishing is allowed from sunrise to sunset.
    No fishing in the “swimming hole” at the upstream end of Big Spring.
    No motorized boats are allowed in Big Spring.
    Fishing Derbies
    Fishing derbies must be permitted in writing by the AGFC District 2 fisheries biologist, and can include fishing with natural or scented baits and harvest of trout.
    Disable Anglers
    Adult disabled anglers must carry proof that they are permanently and totally disabled and possess a valid AGFC sport fishing, lifetime fishing or combination hunting and fishing license plus a valid trout permit.
    Fishing License-
    Resident - $10.50 annual (from the time of purchase)
    Border Permit - $10
    Resident 3-day - $6.50
    Non-resident - $40 annual (from the time of purchase)
    Non-resident 3-day - $11.00
    Non-resident 7-day - $17.00
    Non-resident - $22.00
    Buy your Arkansas Fishing License Online Here
    State Record River Fish
    The White River system holds several state records, and rightly so. They only bolster the fact that the White River is one of the best fisheries in the state, as well in the country.
    Brown Trout - Rip Collins's 40 lbs, 4 oz., caught on the Little Red River on May 2, 1992
    (Held the world record for over 15 years)
    Cutthroat Trout - Scott Rudolph's nine-pound, nine -ounce, caught on the White River on October 6, 1985
    Rainbow Trout - Jim Miller's 19-pound, one-ounce, caught on the White River on March 14, 1981
    Striped Bass - Jeff Fletcher's 64-pound,  eight-ounce, caught on the White River on April 28, 2000
    Chain Pickerel - Ave Vogel's seven-pound, 10-ounce, caught on the Little Red River on January 6, 1979
    Alligator Gar - John Stortz's 240-pounder, caught on the White River on July 28, 2004

  • Phil Lilley

    Stockton Lake

    By Phil Lilley, in Stockton Lake,

    Stockton Lake has quietly become one of the best fisheries in Missouri, offering some of the finest crappie and walleye fishing, as well as white bass and black bass.  One little known fact is that Stockton holds the current smallmouth bass state record set in 1984 of seven pounds, two ounces, caught by Kevin S. Clingan of Springfield.
     
    Since Stockton was formed in 1969 by the damming of the Sac River near the city of Stockton,  it is younger than most lakes in the state.  Its shores are undeveloped, for the most part, and underwater structures are still in place for fish habitat.  This has been key to Stockton's ability to grow lots of crappie to legal size.  When most lakes stop yielding crappie in the summer and fall months, anglers are still catching them on Stockton, day and night.
    The one thing striking about this Missouri lake is the lack of development along its shores.  There are a few pockets of activity including private and public docks, campgrounds and public accesses but there are no condominiums, no resorts, no timeshare developments, hardly any homes within view of the water.  This is truly amazing in this age of water recreation.
    The lake is relatively shallow which scares off big cabin cruisers you'd see on bigger lakes in Missouri.  You really need to keep an eye on the depth finder because open water doesn't mean deep water on Stockton.

    SPA Generation Schedule
    Elevation, feet above mean sea level
    Top flood control pool: 892 feet
    Top multi-purpose pool: 867 feet
    Surface area, acres
    Top flood control: 38,300 ac.
    Top multi-purpose: 24,900 ac.
    Drainage area (square miles): 1,160
    Shoreline miles: 298
    Stockton Lake Map (Corp)

    MDC Fish Habitat Map

     
    Lake Levels - http://www.nwk.usace.army.mil/Locations/DistrictLakes/StocktonLake/DailyLakeInformation.aspx
    Bush Piles - http://mdc.mo.gov/sites/default/files/resources/2010/05/6202_4066.pdf

    Lake Map - http://www.stocktonlake.com/pages/map
    http://www.nwk.usace.army.mil/Portals/29/docs/lakesites/stockton/2011BrochureST9-7.pdf
    http://www.ozarkanglers.com/stockton/maps/
    https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/where-fish/fish-attractor-gpx-files

    Campsites
    Cedar Ridge Crabtree Cove Hawker Point Masters Mutton Creek Group Camp Orleans Trail North and South Ruark Bluff East and West
    Marinas
    Orleans Trail Marina Stockton State Park Marina Mutton Creek Marina  Buy Missouri Fishing Licenses Online!
    Fishing Regulations
    Bass, black (largemouth), smallmouth and spotted bass (kentuckies)- 15-inch length limit, 6 daily, 12 possession.
    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 - 10-inch length limit, 15 daily, 30 possession.
    Bluegill - no limit
    Catfish - no length limit, 10 daily (only 5 can be flatheads in a daily limit), 20 possession.
    Walleye - 15 inch minimum length, 4 daily, 8 possession.
    Spoonbill - 2 daily between March 15 and April 30. Length - 34 inches between the eye to the fork of the tail minimum.
    Non-Game fish - Snagging, snaring and grabbing are allowed from 3/15 - 4/30 only.
    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.
    Costs  -
    Resident - $12 annual (March 1 thru last day of February)
    Non-Resident - $42 annual (March 1 thru last day of February)
    Daily Permit - $7 (midnight to midnight)
    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.

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