Thoughts and Speculation on Mill Creek Rainbows

Posted by Spence Turner on December 1st, 2011
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Mill Creek located southwest of Rolla and just south of Newburg Missouri supports one of Missouri’s wild rainbow trout populations. It has about three miles of spring branch open for public trout fishing. Special regulations apply.

Where’d the trout come from? Officially, we will never know completely; however, having said that let me speculate.

Mill Creek is a tributary of the Little Piney River and just over the hill to the east of Spring Creek. All three spring branches support wild trout populations and are part of Missouri’s wild trout fishing program. Records from the Missouri Fish Commission show the state first received rainbow trout in 1880 from the federal McCloud River egg taking station in California. The fry were stocked by the train crew in spring branches along the railroad including Meramec River, Crane Creek, and other spring branches. The records to not indicate Mill Creek was stocked.

Begin speculation: Newburg at the time was a major railroad hub where crews changed; engines were turned in a round house located on the south edge of town along the Little Piney River and where Mill Creek joins the Little Piney River. If you were a railroad crew member and had been asked to stop at spring branches and stock some small rainbow trout, would you save a few for your home stream and release them unofficially?

I contend Mill Creek, along with the Little Piney River and Spring Creek, were probably stocked for the first time in 1880 and possibly again in 1882. Since those first releases, rainbows were stocked several times from Neosho Federal Fish Hatchery in the late 1890s and early 1900s; MDC and the Fish and Wildlife Service stocked “Australian” rainbow trout in the 1960s in Spring Creek. These were wild strain rainbows originated from California.

Now you know. Enjoy fishing for and catching wild rainbows decedents of rainbows from the McCloud River.

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