It's here.....Maybe, It's Missouri you never know what the weather is going to do from day to day especially this time of year. One day it's 65 and sunny and two hours later it's 29 and freezing. Now they're calling for snow on Saturday which for many is opening day of rifle season. I think when they weather fluctuates I makes fishing pretty difficult they don't really know what to do and typically it's harder to pattern fish. Catching fish when it's hot, warm, cool, or cold is no problem it's when it goes from one extreme to the next, it kind of puts them in shock. However was once the temps start stabilizing we have some pretty solid winter fisheries. For me the catch and release season is the only time to hit the trout parks, not because I feel it's bad to keep fish but because crowds are cut down to about 20%.
Some of my favorite places to hit in the winter are Taneycomo which with the consistent cool water coming form the bottom of Table Rock doesn't change the fish's behavior much. The fish don't have to deal with as dramatic of temperature changes as some of the fish in our other streams. Beaver tailwater can be super productive in the winter, with daily midge hatches and hardly anyone on the water is what makes it a great winter fishery. My favorite is the Niangua River and specifically at the confluence of Bennett Springs. The more consistent water temperature which can actually be warmer then the river attracts the fish. If you fish the lower portion of the park you never know what your going to catch, a nice brown that may have migrated up from the stream, or even smallies and google eyes make their way to the warmer water. If you don't want to go to far the MDC stocks some ponds/lakes for winter trout fishing. Here's a link to the winter trout ponds. Bundle up, be safe, and catch some fish.
Winter Trout Areas
The daily limit is four trout with no length limit, except for the following:
- Koeneman Park, Walker, Jefferson, Wild Acres, Busch 21 and 28, and Tilles lakes in the St. Louis Region
- Cosmo-Bethel Lake in Columbia
- Rotary Lake in Jackson
- Liberty Park Pond in Sedalia
- McKay Park Lake in Jefferson City
- Spur Pond in Kirksville
- Kiwanis Lake in Mexico
- Everyday Pond on the Missouri Western State University Campus in St. Joseph, where catch-and-release with artificial flies and lures is the only legal method for most of the season. See the Fishing Regulations page under Related Information below.
A Missouri fishing permit is required, and a trout permit also is required if trout are harvested.