Posted by Phil Lilley on September 20th, 2011
Bennett Spring Trout Park is one of four state-run trout parks in Missouri, and by far, draws the largest crowd of anglers. Located 12 miles north of Lebanon, MO, Bennett Spring has the most flow of all the trout parks.
The spring was discovered and used by early settlers for grist and flour mills in the mid-19th century. Its output of more than 100,000 gallons of water per day ranks fourth largest in Missouri’s springs, and it feeds a well-stocked rainbow trout stream enjoyed by thousands of anglers each year.
Each night rainbows are stocked, the number correlating with the number of tags sold each day. For every angler who purchased a daily tag, 2.5 rainbows are stocked each night. That gives the new fish about 10 hours to find a hiding place before the ceremonial bell rings signaling the dawn of another fishing day.
The natural food base in the stream is scuds (freshwater shrimp), sculpins, other small minnows, a few crawfish, midges and various other flies, but they don’t thrive in big numbers.
In most of the park, visibility is not a problem. You can see the trout — and they can see you! That water clarity can correlate to a slow fishing (or catching) day, but not necessarily. Freshly stocked trout are not the brightest fish in the water, especially early in the day. You can target a trout, cast your fly, jig or spinner in front of it then thrill to watch it take your offering. There’s nothing like seeing a rainbow trout sip a dry fly off the surface of the water and then landing it!!
Fishing Hours in Missouri Trout Parks
Catch & Release Winter Season
Trout fishing is permitted in accordance with the Wildlife Code and posted restrictions daily from March 1st to October 31st, and during the winter catch and release season. Throughout the year all anglers shall have a state fishing permit except those 15 years and younger or Missouri residents 65 years and older. Any resident of Missouri 65 years and older shall carry a valid Missouri motor vehicle operator’s license, notarized affidavit, or similar official document proving his/her eligibility based on residence and age.
Each anglers hall sign and display a daily trout tag purchased on the area. The statewide daily limits if 4 trout, regardless of number of daily tags purchased or waters fished. No person shall continue to fish for any species in these trout waters after harvesting a daily limit of 4 trout anywhere in Missouri.
Each anglers shall keep their trout separate at all times and identified with the angler’s name and address.
Daily Limit – 4 trout, possession limit is 8 trout. All brown trout less than 15 inches must be released unharmed immediately after capture. There is no minimum length limit on rainbow trout.
Only a single pole or rod may be used. Gigging, snaring, snagging and the taking of live bait are NOT permitted.
No person shall continue to fish for nay species in these trout waters after having four trout in possession.
Wading is permitted by anglers only.
Swimming and use of water craft is prohibited.
Trout Lure Definitions
Fly – an artificial lure constructed on a single point hook, using any material except soft plastic bait and natural and scented baits as defined below, that is tied, glued or otherwise permanently attached.
Artificial Lure – a lure constructed of any material excluding soft plastic bait and natural and scented bait as defined below.
Soft Plastic Bait – synthetic eggs, synthetic worms, synthetic grubs and soft plastic lures.
Natural and Scented Baits – a natural fish food such as bait fish, crayfish, frogs permitted as bait, grubs, insects, larvae, worms, salmon eggs, cheese, corn and other food substances not containing any ingredient to stupefy, injure or kill fish. This does not include flies or artificial lures. It does include dough bait, putty or paste-type bait, any substance designed to attract fish by taste or smell and any fly, lure or bait containing or used with such substances.
The use of game fish or parts thereof for bait or chumming is NOT permitted.
Zone One — From the Hatchery Dam upstream to the end of the area. Only flies are permitted.
Zone Two — From the Hatchery Dam to the Whistle Bridge. Only flies and artificial lures are permitted.
Zone Three — From the Whistle Bridge to the Niangua River. Only soft plastic bait (unscented) and natural and scented baits are permitted. All flies and artificial lures are prohibited, even if natural bait or scent has been added.
CATCH AND KEEP SEASON (MARCH 1- OCT. 31)
Park fishermen are required to have a Missouri Fishing Permit and a Daily Trout Tag. These can be purchased at the Weavers Tackle Store.
COST- $3.00 Daily Tag For Adults
Report Violations – Poachers
In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Operation Game Theft works to stop the illegal taking of fish and wildlife that includes trophy animals and rare and endangered species.