Crane Creek

Overview

Posted by Phil Lilley on September 24th, 2011
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Crane Creek is one of the most unique streams in the Midwest. In the late 1800’s, railcar brought a strain of rainbow trout called the McCloud from the west coast to be raised and stocked in  spring fed creeks and rivers in Arkansas and Missouri, including Crane Creek. In 1967, the Missouri Department of Conservation stocked rainbows in Crane, and trout have not been stocked there since.  The rainbows found in Crane Creek today could be a kin to the famous McCloud strain but it is not a pure strain.  But the trout are wild, born and raised in Crane.

Crane Creek is one of seven streams the Conservation Department has designated as wild trout management areas which also  include Barren Fork, Blue Springs Creek, Mill Creek, Spring Creek and portions of the North Fork and Eleven Point rivers. The wild trout are treasured in a state that does not have naturally producing trout,  serving as a genetic pool backup in case hatchery fish become diseased.

Crane Creek rainbows have a reputation for being shy, one reason for their endurance. They tend to seek shelter with any strange movement, making them a challenge to sneek up on. Some say they aren’t too picky about what fly they  take, but getting close enough to cast to them is the trick.

Crane Creek is located in and around the town of Crane, Missouri, southwest of Springfield and southeast of Joplin. There is plenty of public fishing in town as well as in areas owned and managed by the MDC.  The Department has placed special regulations on fishing some areas of the creek, such as catch-and-release only or flies and lures only. See our Crane Creek map for more details.

If you get the privledge to fish this little gem, please be careful with our wild rainbows. Try not to handle them. Use barbless hooks or bend the barbs down on the hooks you have. And return those caught to the water as quickly as possible.

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