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Trout k l Ta Hatchery Staff Stocks Stream For Opening Day Page 3 Diehard Anglers Get Out For Catch-And-Release Season Page 5

March 2017


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THE LEBANON DAILY RECORD TROUT TALK MARCH 2017 PAGE 3

STOCKING THE STREAM About 40,000 trout will be released into Bennett Spring in March AARON JENNINGS AARON@LEBANONDAILYRECORD.COM

A

t 6:30 a.m. on March 1, the siren will sound at Bennett Spring State Park signifying the opening of catch-and-keep trout season for 2017. Weather permitting, Bennett Spring officials expect over 1,000 anglers in attendance from several states. According to Hatchery Manager Ben Havens, Bennett Spring employees have been working around-the-clock on numerous winter projects to make sure the park is in a superior state for the park’s big day. Preparation for Opening Day began in 2015. All the fish Bennett Spring will release for Opening Day were spawned a year and a half ago. As long as each fish is healthy and about a foot in length, they are given a release date. The hatchery will release about 40,000 fish in the month of March alone, and an additional 30,000 to 25,000 fish in April.

Trout Talk photo/Aaron Jennings

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PAGE 4 THE LEBANON DAILY RECORD TROUT TALK MARCH 2017

“There’s a constant demand for fish at Bennett Spring. It’s our job to make sure the fish are the right size, and healthy. We’ve been working to make sure everything is good for some time now, and we’re all looking forward to Opening Day here at Bennett,” Havens said. During the winter, Bennett Spring workers did more than just stock over 1,000 fish to keep catch-and-release anglers happy. Beginning in Zone 1 and working through Zone 3, workers did selective gravel moving to clear gravel that made its way to the stream during the December floods of 2015 and last year. “The record floods washed a lot of sediment and sand and gravel into the stream. This made several fishing holes in the 2016 fishing season hard to access, and didn’t provide fishers with the best options in those areas. The holes just didn’t hold fish the way they are designed to,” Ha-

• • • • •

vens said. When anglers arrive this year, Havens says there could be some differences in several fishing areas around the park. The gravel removal makes more room for the fish, but less friction means the spring bottom might be slippery to walk on. After the gravel removal, workers refurbished the handicapped fishing piers (jetties) in Zone 1 and Zone 2 near the hatchery office. The jetties also took a beating during the floods, and the design and develTrout Talk photo/Aaron Jennings opment staff brought Hatchery Manager Ben Havens feeds fingerlings in the hatchery. in heavy equipment to work on them during the early winter fishing opportunities to everyworkers will stock a few more months. one. These jetties make it easy fish than they normally would. “It’s important that we provide for children and this who are About three fish per angler. Last handicapped, but they also serve year, there were close to 1,400 another purpose. They push people on the season opener. Haand divert the flow of the water vens believes the numbers will be towards the intake structure,” close to the same this year. Havens said. “A lot of people “It’s hard to say, though. If we don’t know they have two jobs, have a beautiful day like Saturbut they do. Since we need them day, we could have 2,000 people both, you can see why we had to show up to fish. If it’s cold and work on them over the winter. If rainy, we may not even have they take any more beatings, it’s 1,000,” Havens explained. “I possible they could wash away.” think we’ll stock the stream for Although most of the “big 2,000 anglers. That means we’ll jobs” have already been comhave around 6,000 fish in the pleted, there is still much to do. stream before the whistle blows Havens says the two weeks folto mark the start of the season. lowing the conclusion of catchThat’s way more than enough.” and-release are crucial in prepaHavens also provided a teaser ration for Opening Day. for the lucky angler who will be “We have someone here every sounding the alarm at the start of hour of the day, every day of the Opening Day. Get Your Belly Full at Our Dry Goods • Gifts • Housewares year. But that two-week window The person is a local who is Newly Renovated Restaurant is a time when we have to get always willing to help out othKitchenwares • Handmade Toys While You’re Here! everything squared away for the ers, Havens said. He added that Jams, Jellies & Pickles first of March. Generally, the fish the individual is “a voice of the Delicious will have already been in the wastream who cares deeply for the Home-CookedFood! Handmade Soaps & Lotions ter for a few days before Opening park and the people in it.” Open: 11:00 am to 2:30 pm Cookbooks • Candles & More! Day,” Havens said. “This gives The whistle blower was anMonday-Saturday them a chance to relax and get a nounced at the pre-season meeting Store Hours 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday-Saturday feel for the new water.” and will be featured in the next ediDirections: West on Hwy 64, 10 Miles past Bennett Spring Park. On Opening Day, hatchery tion of Trout Talk. Turn right on Hwy T, then on YY to Store. Follow signs. ■


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PAGE 10 THE LEBANON DAILY RECORD TROUT TALK MARCH 2017

LUNKERS Lucky anglers show off their catches

Kaitlyn Mae Christensen, 6, and Jay Allen Christensen, 2, caught these trout in Zone 3.

Callee Barnes, 3, caught this lunker in Zone 3 on Aug. 28.

SEE PAGES 14 AND 15 FOR MORE LUNKER PICTURES.

Madison Rae Horton, 3, of Kaiser, caught these fish in the Niangua River.

Faith and Brian Cook, of Lebanon, caught this trout in Zone 3.


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THE LEBANON DAILY RECORD TROUT TALK MARCH 2017 PAGE 13

MDC offers guide to best fishing in the state How are they bitin’? fishing book or report has that kind of certainty. That’s a frequently asked question in the Fishing success varies with the experience of Ozarks each year. Area anglers will cast their the angler, the gear and methods used, the eyes and/or ears on any type weather and a number of other variables. CONSERVING of fishing report that provides THOUGHTS However, as long as fishing has been information about the status of around, anglers have been curious about their favorite fishing location. what exactly was swimming beneath the Most fishing reports won’t start water’s surface at their favorite fishing until later in the spring, but there location. This is where the Fishing Prosis a book available now for people pects book can be a valuable informational who want to get a head start on resource. The reports contained in the book angling information. were written by the Missouri Department The 2017 Fishing Prospects of Conservation fisheries biologists who At Selected Missouri Lakes and manage those sites. FRANCIS SKALICKY Streams book is a good read for Each lake or river report is a modification those who plan to fish Ozarks of monitoring surveys that are conducted waters this spring and summer. This 77-page annually. The information in those reports free Missouri Department of Conservation was gleaned from sampling fish populations, publication is exactly what the title says it is; creel surveys and other methods of fisheries a compilation of reports detailing the fishing research. prospects at many of the larger lakes and The Fishing Prospects book contains reports streams around the state. on 60 lakes, 37 river locations and the four Keep in mind that just because you read that trout parks. If a particular body of water is a particular species is doing well at a location not mentioned, do not assume that location doesn’t mean you’ll have a 100 percent chance is a poor place to fish. There are far too many of catching that species when you go there. No bodies of water in Missouri for Department

of Conservation biologists to do a detailed sampling of each one. If your favorite fishing spot is not listed in Fishing Prospects, don’t be discouraged, it could still be a great spot for fishing. In addition to information on lakes and streams, the book also contains a Best Bets section that lists some of the more commonly fished-for species in the state. Under each species is a list of spots where those species are commonly found. Information on the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Master Angler Program, MDC’s “MO Fishing” app, and how people can get involved in MDC’s “Discover Nature – Fishing” program can also be found in the booklet. If you wish to have a copy of the 2017 Fishing Prospects, this publication is available at most Missouri Department of Conservation offices. The information contained in the book can also be found at mdc.mo.gov. Francis Skalicky is the media specialist for the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Southwest Region. For more information about conservation issues, call 417-895-6880.

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PAGE 14 THE LEBANON DAILY RECORD TROUT TALK MARCH 2017

These anglers have something to brag about

Brooke Charbonneau, 6, of St. Joseph, caught this trout in Zone 1 using a black and yellow wolly with a spinner. Maizy Hutton, 2, of Greenup, Ill., caught this trout in Zone 3.

Hailey Collison, 8, of Florissant, caught this fish in Zone 3.

Trace LaBoube, 13, of Ellisville, caught a 3pound trout with an orange jig in Zone 2.

Jesse, 5, and Shawn, 7, of Catawissa, caught their first trout on Aug. 9.

Wayne Bishop, of New Franklin, caught this 3.75 pound trout in Zone 1 using a red and white marabou.


THE LEBANON DAILY RECORD TROUT TALK MARCH 2017 PAGE 15

A lunker picture is worth a thousand fish stories

Tucker Brown, 5, of Gardner, Kan., caught this fish in Zone 2.

Philip K. Iber, 6, of Eldon, caught this fish in Zone 2.

Ruth Winfrey, 7, and James Winfrey, 6, of Wheatland, caught these fish on Aug. 13.

Navy Voss, 9, caught this fish in Zone 3.

Samuel Boughan, 2, of Eugene, caught this fish in Zone 3.


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THE LEBANON DAILY RECORD TROUT TALK MARCH 2017 PAGE 5

CATCH AND RELEASE Diehard trout ďŹ shing fans ock to Bennett for catch-and-release season AARON JENNINGS X AARON@LEBANONDAILYRECORD.COM “I Ă€gured it would be easy to catch some this morning. A few other guys said they’ve only caught one too. Maybe we all caught the same Ă€sh? I’m sure it’s happened before. I can’t complain. There isn’t that many people here. A few, but not like it will in March,â€? Reed said. Between 9 and 10 a.m. Saturday, there was about one angler per 15 yards in the stream. As breakfast time turned into lunch, the number of anglers looked to have doubled, just as Hatchery Manager Ben Havens predicted on Friday.

W W

More than 200 people were at Bennett Spring on the last Saturday morning of February, hoping to catch one last Ă€sh, enjoying the out-ofseason warm weather, and taking a break from work. “I think I speak for everyone when I say this is way better than work,â€? said Wade Reed from California, Mo. “I caught one Ă€sh here this morning, but I haven’t been that lucky since.â€? Reed spent most of his morning around Zone 1. Like the other anglers in this area who arrived early, one Ă€sh every two hours seemed to be the limit.

Trout Talk photo/Aaron Jennings

James Burke Ă„shes at the end of February at Bennett Spring with his father Bill Burke and his mother Lori Burke.

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PAGE 6 THE LEBANON DAILY RECORD TROUT TALK MARCH 2017

Trout Talk photos/ Aaron Jennings

Top, Oklahoma natives Tom Jones and Mike Reifel take a break while they contemplate where they will fish next at Bennett Spring. Above, Tanner Reavis, 8, and his younger brother Gunner Reavis, 4, take turns throwing pebbles and casting at Bennett Spring. Right, Joe Buler, 9, attempts to catch a fish. “Catch-and-release isn’t as popular as the catch-and-keep, but there are many people who enjoy fishing during the winter months. Especially, when its warm like it will be on Saturday. We have quite a few people, for sure. Everyone always has a good time. A lot of people don’t keep their catch during catch-and-keep, so it’s not a loss for them to put the fish back in the winter,” Havens said. Havens explained that the catch-andrelease fishing months are primarily for the “true” fishing enthusiasts. The anglers who know exactly which fly to use before they make their fist cast.

“Some guys are out here all the time. It doesn’t matter the weather. As long as there is water and they have a pole, they’re out here doing what they love,” Havens said. “But we also see the people who just want a break from work during the winter. It’s mainly the die hard fans, but we see a little bit of everyone.” Havens said the hatchery doesn’t stock that many fish during catch-andrelease. “We continue to stock the stream throughout the winter, but we don’t release that many fish. One because we don’t need to since there are not as

many anglers. Those that are here usually do very well. There are not as many fish as there will be in the summer, but there are a lot (fewer) fishermen,” Havens explained. “We’ve had a successful season. I haven’t heard any complaints. I think most people are looking forward to March 1 at this point. People start getting excited around this time, but the last Saturday is always big. The warm weather is just too good to pass up.” For Oklahoma natives Tom Jones and Mike Reifel, warm weather was the only reason they made the trip to Bennett Spring. Jones said they have

been planning to fish in the park for a few months, but the weather wasn’t as warm as they wanted. “We waited until the last weekend to come down here. Mike needed a change of scenery,” Jones said. “We don’t come here that often. We like it. It’s very nice. The sunshine is always better for fishing.” Jones and Reifel agreed they weren’t sure when they would be back to Bennett Spring. Although they said they love the park, large crowds aren’t their style. “We like the peace and quiet,” Reifel explained. ■


PAGE 8 THE LEBANON DAILY RECORD TROUT TALK MARCH 2017

A walk in the park There’s a lot more to do at Bennett Spring State Park than fish for trout Each month Trout Talk will feature a different trail at Bennett Spring State Park. This month we take a look at one of the park’s most unique trails, the Natural Tunnel Trail. The trail’s signature feature is the Bennett Spring Natural Tunnel, which is 296 feet long and forms an S curve through the hill. Formed from Gasconade dolomite, the tunnel contains a large gravel creek bed. On its way to the tunnel, the trail crosses Spring Hollow and passes through many different habitats. The trail is a

combination of roads used by people living in the area from the 1840s to present and rugged wooded areas crossed by small streams. The wooded areas support abundant wildlife including deer, squirrels, chipmunks, many woodland birds and insects, including ticks. Several bluffs have interesting geologic features, tiny caves, sheer rock faces and deep overhangs with vines and other foliage. The trail passes near a small cemetery that dates from the late 1880s and holds the graves of two families who lived in the area. The length of the trail is 7.5 miles with an estimated hiking time of 5 hours and 45 minutes.

Trout Talk photo/Aaron Jennings

Taylor Pinon, Mason Lile, and Gary Lile walk the Natural Tunnel Trail. Bennett Spring State Park

Natural Tunnel Trail

Map courtesy of Missouri State Parks

7 .5 0 Mile s

Trout Talk March 2017  

Trout Fishing At Bennett Springs Outside Lebanon, MO.

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