OUTDOORS: North Missouri trout fishing

BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor
Bill Wehrle column

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T Outdoors Sports Editor

Missouri has great trout fishing, but generally speaking, this is restricted to south Missouri’s cold water streams.

Trout can’t live in warm water, so, to trout fish in Missouri, we’ve always had to head south to Lake Taneycomo and the surrounding area’s trout streams and trout parks. However, now, for at least a little while this winter, we’ll be able to “catch and keep” rainbow trout in St. Joseph and Sedalia.

Three ponds in these two cities have been stocked with “leftover” trout from the south Missouri hatcheries and, as of Feb. 1, anglers are allowed to catch and keep up to four trout daily.

In St. Joseph, Krug Park Lagoon and Everyday Pond are stocked with trout and open for fishing. These ponds also contain warm-water species such as catfish and bluegill and these are restricted to “catch and release” year-round.

If you wish to catch and keep trout now in them, anglers must have the usual fishing permit and also a valid Missouri trout permit The same basic rules are in effect at Sedalia’s Liberty Park Pond.

If you want to try some north Missouri trout fishing, now’s the time to do it. Once the water warms up to summertime temperature, the uncaught trout remaining will likely die. 

For those anglers who want to use common carp and grass carp as live bait, the Missouri Department of Conservation has given initial approval to do so, effective Aug. 30 this year. A similar regulation went into effect last August, but only for common carp.

To permit the proposed regulation change, common carp and grass carp were removed from the definition of invasive species. Bighead and silver carp remain on the invasive species list and so can’t be used as live bait. Using grass and common carp as bait on trot lines works pretty well for catching huge catfish, so I’ve heard.

If you’re like me and have developed a severe case of the “winter blahs”, and you’re ready for some warmer weather, plan to pass some time attending some or all of the local area conservation organization’s late-winter activities.

Coming up first – and real soon – will be the local Quail Forever chapter’s annual banquet. It will be at the Litton Agri-Science Learning Center next Saturday, Feb. 20. That’s right, it’s next week!

Next month, there’ll be a couple of back-to-back events – the Ducks Unlimited Sponsor Banquet on March 26 and the Turkey Federation Banquet on March 27.

These events give us an opportunity to “hang out” and tell last fall’s tall hunting tales once more.

Warmer weather and turkey gobbling can’t be all that far away.

It’s now less than two months until spring turkey hunting youth season, with the regular season to follow. It’ll soon be time for some early-morning scouting trips to try to locate a couple lonely gobblers and get our blood pressure pumped up for turkey season. And with turkey season right around the corner, mushroom time can’t be that far away either!

And don’t forget that warm weather and warmer water will wake up those hungry fish that have been just lying around all winter. You might want to throw in a rod and reel on some of those turkey scouting trips, just in case.

Spring can’t be all that far away!

(Bill Wehrle’s outdoors sports column appears in the Constitution-Tribune each Saturday.)