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Trout k l Ta Summer school at the spring Page 3

July 2019

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Experiencing the great outdoors Summer school class teaches students fishing skills at Bennett Spring State Park CHRIS RODEN


Trout Talk photo/Chris Roden

Dan Slais practices the fine art of knot untying as he helps a student in the Explorer class get back to fishing.

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It is hard to guess which the 25 kids enrolled in the Bennett Spring State Park Explorer Camp are more eager to earn – the black and gold Explorer patch or the summer school credit from Lebanon schools. Patricia Chambers, interpretive resource specialist for the park and the Explorer Camp’s lead instructor, explained the reason for combining the program with a summer school opportunity. “One of the reasons why we came together as a collaboration between the school district and us is we want to see kids outdoors. We want to see them learning these skills, these life skills, and carrying on these traditions, and even though I’m not the best fisherman and I don’t have all the answers, we’re still getting the kids out there, and they’re getting to try it,” Chambers

said. On the morning of Wednesday, June 5, the kids and their instructors could be found fishing in the park, some for the first time, having spent Monday and Tuesday being instructed on fishing and other nature topics. LHS teacher Laura Latall is the teacher in charge of organizing and supervising the summer school class. A long-time English teacher, she makes sure it includes some journaling time so kids can reflect on and save what they learn in the class as they make some memories in the outdoors. “We have all levels of experience out here. We have people who went fishing the night before camp started and know a lot about a lot of different animals in the presentations. But then we have others that are completely new to fishing in general and to a lot of outdoorsy things. We’re having a good time,” Latall said. CONTINUED on page 5




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She and Chambers are not going it alone. “We’ve got a ton of amazing Bennett Spring Park volunteers, and I’ve got one A+ volunteer here today,” Latall said. The opportunities for learning are not limited to trout fishing and are wide-ranging from yoga to snake awareness to kayaking, geocaching, hiking, archery, Celtic music and more. “This afternoon they are learning dart throwing and atlatl throwing,” Latall said. Besides a school credit, a patch emblazoned with a gold star in a gold circle with a black background is in their future – if they attend for two weeks and complete a rite of passage, the 7.5 mile hike to the Natural Tunnel. “At the end of these two weeks, the kids will earn the Explorer patch through the Missouri State Park system. What they’re doing is multiple nature programs. They’re learning to identify the different fish, the different animals, and they’re doing a lot of different things,” Chambers said. She feels one aspect of the class is very important to keep a tradition from dying – fly tying. “That’s an art that’s being lost. I even have trouble getting fly fishermen to help teach that. It’s a skill that’s being lost,” Chambers said. Consequently, the kids in grades five through nine spent their first two days of the camp featured instruction in fishing, including the parts of a fishing rod and fly tying.

At the end of it, the students will not leave the class empty handed. Besides some new skills and knowledge, they will take their poles as well thanks to a generous donor. The fun the kids had did not mean the camp was a completely stress-free environment. When one boy’s line lodged in a tree, Latall said, “We call that catching a tree pounder. They’ve learned a lot, and they’ve learned fishing can be very frustrating,” Latall said. While there were two first-timers in the class, Rhett Rhoades, 12, was a fishing veteran. He has a pond he fishes in and had been to Bennett Spring State Park a few times before the camp. He said he had helped the other kids when they got their lines caught. He had some luck that morning, good and bad. “I’ve caught two, but they’ve all gone off at the bank,” Rhoades said. He hoped to catch more so he could take advantage of the Dutch oven opportunity after a fish cleaning demonstration scheduled for Friday. Lindsey Prince, 13, who had fished just twice before the class began, had not caught any fish Wednesday morning. However, this had not stopped her enjoyment of the class, especially the fishing. “I really like it a lot. I am learning a whole bunch,” she said. Ikerd Mizer, 10, did not describe himself as an expert angler. After two days of trout fishing instruction and some non-fishing presentations, he was excited to begin Wednesday with actual fishing on the stream. CONTINUED on page 6


Come As You Are and Worship With Us!

CONTINUED from page 3

Trout Talk photo/Chris Roden

Detangling fishing lines is an often used skill for Patricia Chambers, the park’s interpretive resource specialist.


Catholic Mass!

Fisherman’s Chapel at 6 p.m. on Saturdays Memorial Day Thru Labor Day

“And he saith unto them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Mathew 4:19

Wednesday Bible Study 7:00pm Sunday School 9:30am Sunday Morning Worship 10:30am Sunday Evening Worship 6:00pm

Bennett Spring Church of God 26322 Hwy 64A • Lebanon

(inside Bennett Spring State Park Adjacent to Dining Lodge)


PAGE 6 THE LACLEDE COUNTY RECORD TROUT TALK JULY 2019 “So far, my favorite has been probably learning the safety of fishing. That was very interesting thing. And different techniques,” Mizer said. Mizer was asked about the odds of his catching the biggest fish out of the 25 students enrolled in the class. “One out of 25,” he responded. McKenzie Gormley, 15, was one of the oldest anglers in the class and admitted she had already caught her limit of tree limbs and rocks. Just the same, she was enjoying fishing that morning. She was more excited about the upcoming kayaking in the lake than the yoga session. She said that wrestling was her physical activity since she was on the team that brought back a state championship to Lebanon. So far, she had been more successful as a wrestler than as an angler. She did, however, appreciate the elective credit she was earning. “I’d rather be outdoors than inside in the classroom,” Gormley said. Dan Slais, an interpretive ranger and geologist for the park, said the kids were doing well learning how to fish and agreed they were inventing some knots he did not recognize. “Some of the casting goes awry too, but overall, we seem to be doing pretty good,” Slais said. He liked taking the kids up to the park store for pictures of their first fish. “That’s a proud moment for them because that’s the first trout they caught,” Slais said. A fillet man, he was looking forward to teaching kids how to clean the fish. Danny Goldsmith, a Wright County native and retired shop teacher at Blue Springs, spent part of Tuesday

Trout Talk photo/Chris Roden

During the school year, Ikerd Mizer would have to skip school to enjoy a weekday morning of fishing at Bennett Spring State Park. However, thanks to summer school and the Explorer Camp, he gets to trout fish and attend summer school at the same time. volunteering to teach kids how to tie flies and had plans to take the kids fly fishing on Thursday. He commented on what the instructors and other volunteers know about the focus of the combination Explorer Camp and summer school class. “Kids are always fun. They’re the best part of teaching,” Goldsmith said. And the kids are having fun learning about nature and trout fishing in the Explorer Camp.


Father’s Day at the park Introducing the spring to a new generation I have been going to Bennett Springs State Park for as long as I can remember. In fact, my first job as a 16-year-old was working concessions and admissions at the Bennett Springs Pool, so I have a lot of knowledge about the park and all the wonderful things you can do out there. On Sunday, June 16, my family and I went down to the hatchery to celebrate Father’s Day. It wasn’t just an ordinary trip down to the hatchery. This was one of those times that will stick with me forever because it was my nephew Emmett’s first time getting to feed the fish there.

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Emmett really enjoyed the part of getting to put a quarter into the food dispensary and getting to watch it come out all at once. The fish he most enjoyed feeding were the little baby fish because he wants to see them grow up and get bigger. He spent so much time just admiring the fish, and loved showing off his arm to see how far he could throw the food. The park has done such a great job of taking care of the hatchery and making sure the trout are in good hands. All in all, it was fun to get to experience this with my dad, mom, sister, brother-in-law, and my nephew. The hatchery and the park have provided countless memories for me over the years, whether it be from the pool, hiking trails, fishing or all the other amazing things you can do there, and I can’t wait to grow up and get to take my family out to the park. Alex Boyer is a writer/photographer for Trout Talk. He is also the sports editor of the Laclede County Record.

Alex Boyer holds his nephew Emmett while the young tyke feeds the trout at Bennett Spring Hatchery.

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Take a look at Bennett Spring State Park’s rules and regulations FISHING REGULATIONS The spring branch is stocked daily during the regular fishing season, which is March 1 through Oct. 31. Daily permits are required to fish on the spring branch and zones are set aside for different kinds of lures. Permits are available at the park store. For more information, call (417) 532-4307. ZONE 1: From the hatchery dam upstream to the end of the area. Only flies are permitted. ZONE 2: From the hatchery dam to the whistle bridge. Only flies and artificial lures are permitted. ZONE 3: From the whistle bridge to the Niangua River. Only soft plastic bait (unscented), natural and scented bait are permitted. All flies and artificial lures are prohibited, even if natural bait or scent has been added. Zone areas are marked in the park and maps are also available in the Park Store. Trout Fishing Hours April: 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. May: 6:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. June and July: 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

August: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. September: 7:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. October: 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PARK HOURS Park Grounds: Sunrise to one hour past sunset, daily DINING LODGE HOURS 7 a.m. to one hour after the whistle during trout season NATURE CENTER HOURS Feb. 25 through Oct. 31 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday Nov. 1 through Feb. 24 - Closed PARK OFFICE HOURS SUMMER HOURS (On-Season) Feb. 25 through Oct. 31 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday Closed on state holidays STORE HOURS One hour before fishing officially starts through one hour after the regular fishing day ends according to the regular schedule daily during trout fishing season at the park



A walk in the park There’s a lot more to do at Bennett Spring State Park than fish for trout Bennett Spring State Park has six excellent walking trails. The Oak Hickory Trail is an easy one to find and enjoy. The .3 mile trail begins behind the Nature Center. It has a gentle grade that is often used by Nature Center volunteers to teach visiting groups about the plants and trees along the trail as well as basic safety and how to read trail signs. Signs point out the plant life found along the trail, and Missouri wildlife like deer, squirrels, chipmunks and birds frequent the trail as much as insects, spiders and many ticks. According to the Mo. State Parks website, the west side of the trail dates back to the 1840s, so visitors will walk with history as well as nature. There’s an amphitheater in the center of the trail with wooden benches. Visitors also encounter wooden steps to help them up and down the slight grade. It’s a 20-minute walk with nature.

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Trout Talk July 2019  

Trout Fishing At Bennett Springs Outside Lebanon, MO.

Trout Talk July 2019  

Trout Fishing At Bennett Springs Outside Lebanon, MO.