Monday, April 10, 2017


How's Fishing?

The First Annual Veteran's-Fish-Free Day was a great success.   Friday was a perfect day.  There were anglers connecting for the first time as well as those getting an opportunity to catch up with old friends.
Comments on fish size have been very positive, some small fish in the stream, but plenty of good sized ones to catch and release or to keep for a fish fry.  (see 'Of Interest' following 'How's Fishing')
The best fishing has been sub-surface.  Cracklebacks, for example, are working very well.   Rooster Tails, White or bumble bee, have been very popular this weekend for those with a spin rod. The bedspread as well as the little gray deere, or angry deer, has also been popular.

Of Interest
For the month of March, we sold 15,344 tags. Tag sales were down 1,013 tags or 6.1% compared to a year ago, and were only 110 tags less than the five year avg. All the trout parks saw a decline in attendance this month, however here at Bennett we had the smallest decline. Although we have had fairly good weather, I believe with school spring breaks spread out over 6 weeks and having the Easter holiday later in April has brought our monthly numbers down a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised to have a bigger than normal April.. We shall see.

Things are shaping up well for the 2017 fishing season. Fish are growing well thanks to good water quality and we have had an good stocking avg. size of 13.4” so far this year. Well above the 12.5” avg. we aim for.  We continue to have good success in the hatchery building.  We have had very low mortality and disease issues thus far thanks to improvements we made last year. Our new fish loading tower has been put into use and is proving to be a very useful tool for loading fish onto our stocking trucks.
I encourage everyone to come out to one of our hatchery tours we provide on Saturday mornings, we would be glad to show you around!

This past month we completed the following stockings: The numbers shown include any lunkers that we stocked.

Fish Stockings
Bennett Spring Trout Park -         37,930 fish
Niangua River TMA –                      906 fish
Urban Kansas City Stockings -    3,875 fish
Total Stocked     -                       42,705 fish

If you are wondering, the stocking rate for March was 2.47 fish per tag…This is more than the 2.25 fish/tag avg. we aim for. This simply means there’s few more fish in the stream, about 3,400 extra!

Fish Hauls— As shown in the stockings above, staff worked in cooperation with KC regional staff to complete the last urban stocking for this winter. We stocked the monthly commitment of 900 fish for the Niangua River TMA. These stockings normally take place on the 1st and 3rd weeks of the month. We will be stocking another 900 during April.  We took delivery of 275 “lunker” cull brood stock from SOH hatchery in Branson, along with 300 fall replacement brood stock. These will be used to stock our areas as well as diversify our brood stock genetics.

Bennett Spring Access Maintenance
Staff cleaned and prepared the area for increased use and also trimmed branches and brush damaged during wind and ice events. The privies were recently pumped and trash removed.  The parking lots were graded by regional staff.

Spring Flow--We started the month at 115 cfs (74 mgd) and gained 3” of rain throughout March ending at 170 cfs or 110 million gallons/day. The spring branch has raised about 5” over the month. We are about average for the month and the extra water is helping fish production.

Outreach--We had six scheduled hatchery tours this month for over 550 people.  Our next big event will be Veteran’s Free Fishing day on Friday, April 7, 2017 followed by representing the Hatchery at the Bennett Spring Earth Day festivities on April 22nd. Don’t forget about Kid’s Free Fishing coming up on May 6th. I would be glad to have some volunteers to help the kids untangle lines and catch fish! Let me know if you are interested in helping out!

As always, if you have any questions please stop by, give me a call or send me an email. And if you want to share the location of your secret mushroom patch, I’m all ears!


Ben Havens
Hatchery Manager
Bennett Spring Fish Hatchery
26142 Hwy 64A
Lebanon, Mo 65536
417-532-4418 x1062

What's Working?

From the fly case
Bennett Blue crackleback is still the winner this week
red crackleback
black zebra midge
mega worms - white or pink

Zone 1 & 2

green wooly worm with red tail
john deere mini jig
angry john deere or gray deere
Marabou - shell & white, gingersnap, black & yellow - expecially eighth ounce gold plated head
glo ball - pink, peach, original tri color

Zone 3

power bait  -Hatchery pellet
trout magnet, gold glitter
Power bait - rainbow or florescent orange

Water Conditions
One of the budget cuts that the government is planning is eliminating the site that measures the flow and levels of the rivers and springs.  I will continue to give reports on the water conditions, but they will be objective and the result of physical observation.
The notice on the USGS site is as follows:  NOTICE: Streamgage data collection activities MAY BE DISCONTINUED at this location on July 1, 2017, due to lack of funding.  For inquiries concerning this streamgage, contact Paul Rydlund (, 573-308-3572) or Shane Barks (, 573-308-3674).

Spring Branch
Average water, clearing daily, a bit murky or stained .

Gage house level is 2.23 feet
Daily Discharge levels:
All discharge numbers are in Cubic Feet per Second
minimum was 82 in 1936
current level is 197
25th percentile is 128
Median is 189
Mean is 233
75th percentile is 303
Max was 740 in 1929

Niangua River

Gage House reading (water level) is 2.93 feet
Discharge levels in cubic feet per second:
Minimum was 88.9 in 2016
25th percentile is 122
Today's reading is 313
Median is 248
Mean is 284
75th percentile is 367
record high max was 789 in 2008

Lunker Club
Brett Heath from Dittmer , MO
2 pounds on Tiger tail wooly in zone 1

Cassie Allen from Canton, MO
2 pounds on orange power bait in zone 3

Zach Jagow from Lee's Summit, MO
3+ pounds, catch and release, on a black & yellow gold plated jig

James Lakey from Warrensburg, MO
2-1/4 pounds on a gray zebra scud in zone 2
Darth Muncy from St. Joseph, MO
2 pounds, 10 ounces on a black & yellow marabou

Dave Stewart from Lebanon, MO
2-1/4 pounds on a shell & brown marabou in zone 2

Charlie Whisenhunt from Scheller, IL
3 pounds , catch & release, on a black & yellow marabou in zone 1

Patrick Meyer from Basehor, KS
2-1/2 pounds on orange & white glo ball in zone 1

Calendar of Events
Weed cutting April 12,13 @ 8:00 AM

Free Events from the Nature Center on Saturday, April 15th.
April 15th at 9 a.m. there will be a Spring Trail Hike. Meet at the Nature Center. This hike will go to the Spring then along the stream branch to the fish hatchery. Distance is one mile
Fish Hatchery tour begins at 10 a.m. Staff led tour will meet at the hatchery building across from the park store near the raceways.
The Bat Program will meet at the Nature Center at 2 p.m. Video, games, and activities will follow a presentation about Missouri bats.

April 22 - Earth Day Activities. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Everyone is invited - all free events. Meet above Bennett Spring near Pavilion/Shelter A
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Free Tree Seedlings. Build a Birdhouse. Leaf Rubbing Activity, Woodpecker Craft, Try a kayak on land! Water Exhibit, Stream Team Display. Soil Exhibition. Wildlife Activities. Games & Crafts.
At 2 p.m. There will be a bicycle class followed by participants joining the Park Ranger in a bicycle parade to the Nature Center.

Kids Free Fishing Day
Saturday, May 6, 2017 The annual kids free fishing day May 6th. We stock special area just for the kids :).
Time: 6:30 AM to 8:15 PM

Weed cutting May 24 & 25 @ 8:00 AM

June 10th,11th Free Fishing
Free fishing for all in state and out of state anglers state wide. .

Weed Cutting June 28 & 29 @ 8:00 AM

Weed Cutting August 9th & 10th @ 8:00 AM

Weed Cutting September 20th & 21st @ 8:00 AM

Saturday, September 30, 2017
New: Ladies Only Free Fishing Day. No tag needed, just fishing license if required.
Time: 7:30 AM to 7:15 PM

Saturday, October 14, 2017
Two day event October 14th & 15th.
The annual Holland Derby. A trout fishing derby to benefit the cancer society.
Time: 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM

Weather Forecast

Thursday: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly before 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 72.
Friday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 76.
Saturday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 76.
Sunday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 72.

Quote of the Week
Normally people learn to cast, then to cast really far, and finally to cast short and actually fish.

Normann Kotzurek

Thanks for reading!  Lucy

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