Trout fishing at one of Missouri's four trout parks is a great way to spend a hot summer day. The cool waters of the spring branches will keep even the most heat weary trout angler plenty cool.
All four trout parks in Missouri — Montauk State Park, Roaring River State Park, Bennett Springs State park and the James Foundation's Maramec Spring Park — have a four fish limit. I live very near Maramec Spring Park and can get there in a matter of minutes. However, a four fish limit doesn't seem like enough fish to make for a memorable trip. I can imagine how folks must feel who drive an hour or more to get to one of the parks.
Summertime trout fishing trips should be enjoyed to the max. The kids are out of school and families will be enjoying camping and fishing trips together. Anglers are often intense about catching a four fish limit quickly at the trout parks. And it can be easily done where fish are stocked daily. However, slowing down, relaxing and enjoying your fishing vacation is a good approach to extending your fishing hours.
Catch and release fishing is the perfect way to extend fishing hours for you and your family. Trout, however, are fragile fish and must be handled carefully to insure their survival after release. Extra caution must be taken when releasing fish in hot weather. Trout are especially vulnerable to a few degrees rise in the temperature. Follow the below trout catch and release tips for best results.
5 Important Catch and Release Tips for Trout Survival
- Use lures with a single fish hook to greatly reduce the trout's damage and shock of being hooked.
- Do not prolong the fight with a fish you catch. Returning them safely to the water as quickly as possible is a key factor in their survival.
- Leaving the fish in the water and removing the hook with a pair of forceps aids in survival as well. Trout dry out quickly.
- Avoid touching them with your bare hand. If you must touch the fish, wet your hand first. Touching a trout with a dry hand removes their protective mucus layer. If it is removed, the fish will contract a fungus and die quickly. The same problem can occur when using a fishing net to land fish — make sure it's wet.
- Apply as little pressure as possible when handling a trout. Squeezing them too tightly is a common cause of death.
Teach Fishing Conservation
Trout are a valuable natural resource. Teaching your children catch and release fishing in the trout parks can be carried over to other types of fishing as well. Allow them to release the fish and watch it swim away. The experience will create a memory that will last for a life time.
Encourage your children to study the environment in which the trout lives. Watch for water insects, such as minnows, sowbugs, freshwater shrimp and crayfish. Bug hatches occur almost daily on the trout streams. They provide a fascinating tool for teaching children about life cycles. Some of the trout parks also offer hatchery tours and nature centers, as well with exhibits which interpret steam life. Happy fishing!