Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February 10, 2016

How's Fishing?

The big question on everyone's mind, is how the winter's epic flood has affected the fishing at Bennett Spring.   I have good news for you.  The fishing has been amazing! From zone two on into the Niangua River there have been lots of good sized fish to catch.   Weather conditions (I do know that predicting two weeks out is a chancy thing at best) look optimal and the fish are begging to be caught. If we don't have a tornado or an ice storm it will definitely be the best opening day in five years!

        I am writing this on the last day of the Catch and Release Season.  I spoke recently with Ben Havens, the new hatchery manager.  We talked about the concerns of lost fish and low inventories for the coming year.
Currently there are plenty of fish waiting to be released into the stream for opening day and there will be a good supply of fish for the balance of the year.   Most of these fish will be close to 12 inches in length.
At this point, the fish needed to stock the stream are there for almost the entire coming season. The only real issue is the hours and hours of labor needed to get the hatchery back into shape.  Fish are being graded, only a couple of pools still need to be done and some pools are being re-graded to improve the quality of fish.
   Mr Havens did say that because of the stress from the flood there may be a number of fish who don't make it, or there may be other issues that come up as time goes on, but they plan to address these as they arise.

There were a lot of fingerlings and eggs that were washed out of the hatchery.  Mr. Havens stated that before the flood they had four hundred and fifty thousand eggs or trout that had just hatched that were lost.  To replace them, they were able to get seven hundred thousand eggs, almost doubling what was in the hatchery previously.  These were secured from Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery or from out-of-state hatcheries and will be ready for the 2017 season. It takes about fourteen to fifteen months for a fish to grow to stocker size, so these fish will be released in 2017.

          There have been anglers who have said that zone two is crazy with fish, but zone one has barely any.  I asked Mr. Havens about this and he said he had heard the same thing.  He went up there to look for himself and agreed with it.  Even though there was only two more weeks of catch and release, he had eight hundred fish dropped into zone one.  This guy gets it.
The entire hatchery staff has put in so many long, cold hours preparing for this opening day.  They are to be commended for their efforts!

The 2016 Trout Pre-Season Meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 16 at 6:30 pm in the Bennett Room, located at 11798 on Highway 64.  (Formerly Gaston's Tackle)
Issues discussed will include the 2016 trout fishing season, park improvements and fishing on the Niangua. This meeting is open to anyone interested in Bennett Spring State Park.  You will also have a chance to meet the new hatchery manager, Ben Havens.  If you have any questions or would like to speak with him about concerns you may have about the future of the park, his phone is 417-532-4418.  His e-mail is

Water Conditions will be updated before opening

Fishing Times

March        6:30 a.m./7:30 a.m   6 p.m./7 p.m.
April         7 a.m.                       7:30 p.m.
May           6:30 a.m.             8:15 p.m.
June/July        6:30 a.m.                   8:30 p.m.
August        7 a.m.                   8 p.m.
September 7:30 a.m.                   7:15 p.m.
October        7:30 a.m.                   6:30 p.m.

Quote of the Week

I think I fish, in part, because it's an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution. It's a nice position. No one considers you to be dangerous, but very little is expected of you.
Author:  John Gierach
Published:  Even Brook Trout Get the Blues

Thanks for reading,  

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