Beau February 27th, 2008
In late winter I start dreaming of warm weather and cool summer streams. I think of places like this… isn’t it beautiful?
If you look very carefully you can see the dark shapes in the water. Those are Rainbow trout. I took this picture during the summer at Maramec Spring Park here in Missouri. It’s operated by a private foundation and serves as one of five statewide trout hatcheries. From the Missouri Department of Conservation’s site:
“Maramec Spring Hatchery produces about 100,000 trout a year and all are stocked in Maramec Spring Park. Trout are received as 3 inch fingerlings from Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery. The trout are fed three times a day and will grow 3/4 to 1 inch a month. The fish are reared in a raceway fed by the water from Maramec Spring. “
Trout were not native to Missouri as best as anyone can tell, but in the 1800’s were stocked in various streams. Since then Rainbow and Brown trout have done very well and produce natural populations throughout the springfed streams of the Ozarks. Today trout continue to be stocked in many Ozark streams, and the fishing in summer can be fantastic.
The trout park at Maramec Spring receives an incredible number of visitors each year, as do the other Missouri trout parks. Many of us look forward to the annual “trout opener” coming up on the first of March each year. And this year it falls on a weekend of course… so as beautiful as that picture above is, in a few days there may be hundreds of fishermen side-by-side on the banks of the stream!
Have you ever fished shoulder-to-shoulder with someone else? It’s quite an experience. It reminds me of those old Yogi Bear cartoons in Yellowstone Park where they would fish for trout with dozens of fishermen, lines getting crossed, etc. It’s actually very fun, but this time I’ll probably avoid the “opener” on the weekend and try to find a weekday for a quieter time. Certainly this is not like fly-fishing for wild trout among remote streams in the highlands of the west. I’ve “been there, done that” too and it’s pretty cool. But I must say that it’s a lot of fun to catch Rainbow trout here in Missouri. You can catch several pounds of fish in a day and they make a wonderful dinner!