Monday, April 16, 2018

Trout Fishing Report
Brought to you by
Weaver's Tackle Store

April 17, 2018

How's Fishing?

There have been some sweet fish caught lately. The best story I have for the day is about a really cool 10 year old boy that has fished a lot, but never for trout. He threw his line in at Bennett and came away with a five pound brown for his first fish at Bennett. He was over the moon with excitement and his family was so proud of him. What fun!

Our Hatchery manager, Ben Havens, sent the following email.
It reads as follows:
Sorry for the delay in getting this out… busy times around the hatchery!

The 2018 Trout season is off and running. Now if we could just get this weather to cooperate!

Here is an recap of last year-
2017 was another memory making year for the hatchery. The season began as normal. We hosted the new Governor Eric Greitens and he helped local fishermen Gary Madole sound the siren to ring in the new season. The first two months went by the book until the end of April. We received a 4” rain event starting on the 21st, with a 1.5’ spring rise. On the 25th we received 1” of rain, and a 6” spring rise. Beginning on the 29th, we received over 7” of rain and had a spring rise of almost 5 feet. The lower ends of the raceways were flooded with 8” of water and the middle pools had 2” of water over them. Due to the tremendous efforts of the hatchery staff no fish were lost during the flooding events. Cleanup efforts went well and we moved on with the season.

Attendance trended downward due to the highly unpredictable weather and very poor water clarity we had throughout the month of May. We received over 10 inches of rain for the month of May. Once the rains cleared we also had our busiest day of the year with 1,455 tags sold on the Sunday of Memorial day weekend. Things began to pick up and the rest of the fishing season went by rather quietly. We ended the season 135,226 tags. Down about 3.2% from 2016, but still better than 6 of the last 8 years.

Due to the rains, we held our rescheduled Kids Free Fishing Day on June 10. We had over 600 participants. New to the hatchery and park this year were a Veteran’s Free Fishing day and a Girls Free Fishing day. These events held in April and September help breakup the monotony of hatchery work and also serve and promote our park to visitors. We had over 250 veterans participate and 453 girls. Not bad for our first year! For fun, we hosted Haunted Hatchery Tours for the public on Halloween weekend. We had over 350 people tour the haunted hatchery in 2 hours in collaboration with other park activities going on that night.

The addition of a new UV sterilizer and other updates are working great in the hatchery building. We completed four spawns and collected 1.2 million eggs. From that we moved over 410,000 fingerlings outside in 2017. Our spawning success rate continues to improve and is the best we’ve seen since the new building and improvements went into production. We ended the year with 929,000 fish on inventory.

MARCH 2018
Fish Production

The outside fish production drastically improved this month as we saw great growth among all lots of fish. The extra spring flow helps to reduce stress on the fish and they respond with better growth. The first 2018 stockings are going well and winter urban fish stockings are completed for now. We have concluded our spawning efforts but are beginning to raise surplus spring eggs from Sheperd of the Hills Hatchery. We moved several more fingerling groups of fish outside from the building this month. Things are looking better and the water is clearing up every day. As of April 1st we have 945,000 trout on inventory.

Fish Stockings

We completed the following stockings this month. Avg. size of fish stocked is 12.59”

KC Urban Fishing 4,375 fish

Niangua River TMA – 1,050 fish

Bennett Trout Park-- 35,875 fish

Total Stocked - 41,300 fish

Spring Flows

We started the month at 406 cfs or 262 million gallons/day flow. We ended the month at 307 cfs or 198 million gallons/day. Average for this time of year is 171 MGD. We received between 5-6” of precipitation this past month. The stream started and ended the month murky and dirty from all the extra spring flows.


April 21 -Veterans Fishing Day

May 5 -Kids Fishing Day

June 9 & 10 -Free Fishing Weekend

September 29 -Ladies Free Fishing Day

October 13 & 14 -Holland Derby

May 23 & 24 -Weed cutting

June 27 & 28 -Weed Cutting

August 8 & 9 -Weed Cutting

Sept 19 & 20 -Weed Cutting

Currently things are looking real good and the fishing is great! The water is regaining its clarity and looking better each day.

Let me know if you have questions-

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

Whats Working?

From the fly case
Bennett blue crackleback
green crackleback
red san juan worm
mega worm, white, red, or pink
mop- worm, orange
RGN - olive
gray scud

Zone 1 & 2
floss jig - white
white chenille jig
john deere, gray deere
Marabou - gingersnap, tequila sunrise. ginger
glo ball - egg colored, easter egg
rooster tail - glitter brown , yellow and black
Chartreuse rooster tail
bumble bee mini jig

Zone 3

power bait, orange, salmon peach
worms - plastic in pumpkin seed color or pink
night crawlers
trout magnet - glitter brown or gold

Water Conditions

Bennett Spring
April 16, 2018
Gage house level is 2.15
Daily Discharge levels:
All discharge numbers are in Cubic Feet per Second
minimum was 82 in 1981
25th percentile is 145
Current level is 161
Median is 231
Mean is 285
75th percentile is 360
Max was 1490 in 1941

Niangua River conditions
April 16, 2018
Gage House reading (water level) is 2.21 feet.
Discharge levels in cubic feet per second:
Minimum was 100 in 2014
25th percentile is 176
Median is 409
Today's reading is 262
75th percentile is 1070
Mean is 581
record high max was 1770 in 1993

Lunker Club

Ashleigh Smith from Centralia, MO
2-1/4 pounds on orange powerbait in zone 3

Jim Lucas from O'Fallon, MO
3-1/4 pounds on a white jig in zone 1

Jim Lucas from O'Fallon, MO
4.6 pounds on a ginger jig in zone 2

Joshua Smith from Centralia, MO
2-1/2 pounds on pink trout worm in the river

David Appleby from Lebanon, MO
2-1/4 pounds on a chartreuse rooster tail in zone 2

Mark Porrett from Waynesville, MO
3 pounds on white mini jig in zone 1

Tyler Davis from Columbia, MO
2 pounds on a bumble bee mini jig in zone 2

Brylie Hitchcock from St. Louis, MO
5 pounds on a white chenille jig in zone 2

Fishing Times

April 7:00 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 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
September 7:30 a.m. - 7:15 p.m.
October 7:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Calendar of Events

April 21 is Veterans Fishing Day
Veterans Free Fishing. All current or retired veterans with proof of service fish for free. On the day of the event, get your free daily tag at the park store.

April 21 - 10 a.m. Fish Hatchery Tour
Missouri Department of Conservation staff will give a guided tour of the fish hatchery on the first and third Saturdays during the on season of March through October. Meet at the newest hatchery building to find out what it takes to raise all those fish. The hatchery tour duration is approximately 45 minutes.

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bat/Cave Awareness at Nature Center. Presentation at 2 p.m. by the Master Naturalist Group of Springfield.
Bennett Spring comes from an underwater cave, but there are many other caves within the park that wildlife call home. Missouri is known as the Cave State. Come learn more about bats and caves at the nature center. A special presentation from the Missouri Master Naturalist Springfield Plateau Chapter will begin at 2 p.m. and last approximately one hour.

April 22 - 1 p.m. Ranger Ride
Join a law enforcement ranger to learn the ABCs of bike riding. Participants will ride together across the historic CCC bridge around Bennett Spring to Shelter A and back. Participants are to meet at the fish hatchery fish feeding station across from the park store. The riding terrain is flat with some grassy off-road riding and one hill. Bring your bicycle, helmet and water.

Saturday, April 28 Snake Awareness
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Stop by to View and learn more about Missouri snakes by attending a live snake presentation by the Missouri Master Naturalist Springfield Plateau Chapter and Teen Jr. Leaders. A presentation will take place at 2 p.m. in the nature center in which participants will have an opportunity to touch live snakes.

May 5 - Kids Fishing Day

May 23 & 24 - Weed cutting

June 9 & 10 - Free Fishing Weekend

June 27 & 28 Weed Cutting

August 8 & 9 Weed Cutting

Sept 19 & 20 Weed Cutting

September 29 Ladies Fishing Day

October 13 & 14 Holland Derby

Quote of the Day

Who cares about finding a unified theory of the universe? What we need is a unified theory of fly-fishing.


Graig Spole

Thanks for reading,

Monday, April 2, 2018

How's Fishing?

The fishing has been tough for the last few days but today it seems everything changed. The fishing has been really great! It may be the sporadic cold weather that's moving in or they may just have gotten hungry, but either way, it's good for the angler.
There are very few people fishing right now, the weather is a bit on the damp and cold side. If you love to have the stream to yourself, this is your chance. The folks that are here fishing are very happy with the amount and size of fish they are catching.

What's working?
From the fly case

mega worm, white or pink
mop- worm, orange
RGN - olive
copper hot shot, olive or brown
zebra midge, black or olive
possum hair roach
weighted woolies

Zone 1 & 2
mini marabou, pink
john deere
Marabou - black, gingersnap, tequila sunrise, black, ginger or black & yellow.
rooster tail, tiger or black
grizzly wooly worm

Zone 3
Yellow X-scent powerbait
Salmon Peach X-Scent Powerbait

Water Condtitions
Bennett Spring
April 2, 2018
Gage house level is 2.63
Daily Discharge levels:
All discharge numbers are in Cubic Feet per Second
minimum was 80 in 1936
25th percentile is 139
Median is 190
Mean is 265
75th percentile is 289
Current level is 364
Max was 1450 in 1983

Niangua River conditions
March 29, 2018
Gage House reading (water level) is 3.30 feet.
Discharge levels in cubic feet per second:
Minimum was 113 in 2014
25th percentile is 172
Median is 350
Today's reading is 391
75th percentile is 485
Mean is 537
record high max was 2860 in 2015

Lunker Club

Keith Kesler from Herman, MO
2-1/8 pounds on a black marabou in zone 1

Joe Hutson from Troy, MO
2 pounds on a black & yellow marabou in zone 1

Jordan Webster from Lebanon, MO
3-1/8 pounds on a pink mini marabou in zone 2

Fishing Times
April 7:00 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 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
September 7:30 a.m. - 7:15 p.m.
October 7:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Calendar of Events

April 10, 2018

Bennett Spring State Park is going to have a large amount of high school students (100) coming for a spring “work day” on Tuesday, April 10th. We need help and welcome everyone to participate as we need help facilitating/leading youth in different projects. To build relationships, character and pride of ownership within our community, an annual spring and fall work day are coordinated. The bondable moments create positive memories for all those involved. The event lasts from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a break for lunch. (on your own-most have a picnic) Below are some projects listed for that day:

Missouri State Parks: Shovel and wheel barrel gravel onto the Savanna Trail, Nature Center wild garden clean-up, Remove flood and falling limbs from park grass, pick up trash and Garlic Mustard or other invasive species removal. We are in need of a lot of wheel barrels and shovels. If any of you can loan them for the day, please let me know. Last year we had 5-6 students per wheel barrel and it worked great.

Missouri Dept. of Conservation Projects: Spread Gravel, Rake Flood Debris and Limbs from Hatchery Areas, those with wagers will scrub the fish hatchery pools and mulch flower gardens. (MDC provides their own facilitators)
I still need volunteers to: Walk with some youth along the trail to look for invasive species (I have ID Cards) and pick up trash:

1. Bridge Trail and Oak Hickory Trail-around 1 mile
2. Natural Tunnel Trail-7.5 mile loop
3. Spring Trail-approx. 1 mile loop around spring
Put up canopy, table for first aid and drinking water station up by the Savanna Trail Head.
Stay inside at Nature Center to give guidance for late arrivals, those looking for a bathroom and guide youth in vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping and mopping inside floors.
Stand near gravel to assist those shoveling.
Walk or stage themselves along the difficult wheel barrel route on the Savanna Trail to assist when needed and give encouragement. Example: Deep rutted areas & steep hill.
Assist youth as they smooth/rake gravel in specific erosion spot on the Savanna Trail

If you are interested, please let me know! J If you know other members of the community that would like to help, please let them know to contact me.


Patricia Chambers
Interpretive Resource Specialist
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Division of Missouri State Parks
Bennett Spring State Park
26250 Hwy 64A
Lebanon, MO 65536
417-532-3925 or 417-532-7006

April 11 & 12 Weed cutting

April 21 Veterans Fishing Day

May 5 Kids Fishing Day

May 23 & 24 Weed cutting

June 9 & 10 Free Fishing Weekend

June 27 & 28 Weed Cutting

August 8 & 9 Weed Cutting

Sept 19 & 20 Weed Cutting

September 29 Ladies Fishing Day

October 13 & 14 Holland Derby

Quote of the Week

Sometimes, concentrating on some deeply undercut bank, if you were lucky you could catch a glimpse of something dark and larger than anything your imagination could conjure.

Author: Nick Lyons
Published: Mornings

Thanks for reading.