Many believe Montauk State Park is the finest of the four Missouri
trout parks, and this is an opinion with merit. While the most popular trout park,
Bennett Spring, has 1-1/2 miles of stream in the park, Montauk boasts
twice that much. And with significantly fewer visitors than Bennett, there are many areas where
a fisherman can fish in a truly wild setting almost completely alone. And if you just can't seem
to get enough privacy to suit you, the Current River Blue Ribbon
area is just downstream from the park, as Montauk State Park holds the headwaters of the famed
Ozarks trout stream.
A portion of the river within the park has been manipulated by human hands, but the majority of
the waters appear in a natural state. There are some boulders placed here and there to enhance
the structure and shelter for the fish, but there is minimal channelization and bank access is
not uniformly wide open. While bait fishermen tend to focus their efforts on the big pools with
easy bank access, there's a couple of miles of textbook trout stream that sees little pressure
even in the heart of the tourist season.
The regular trout fishing season is March 1 through October 31, but the "fish for fun" season
(catch and release, fly fishing only) runs weekends from Mid-November through Mid-February. This
is an excellent chance to fish the most popular waters without the crowds. There is also an area
of the park reserved for catch-and-release fishing only, but the water quality in this area hasn't
been very good due to a decreased flow from the Springs over the last few years.
The most popular fishing baits for Montauk are dough baits, mini-crankbaits, marabou jigs, the Kruse
mohair leech, zug bugs and glo-bugs. However, there are many options that will work, including
traditional Western-style flies, at times. As is the case with most of the trout parks, sight fishing
tends to be the secret weapon. Sight fishing (casting small lures or flies to specific fish in an
attempt to drift the bait to the fish's nose) will often produce more fish than all other methods,
regardless of bait used. However, it's been brought to our attention that some trophy hunters have
been observed to snag fish in the mouth, drifting their lure to somewhere near the fish's face and
simply giving it a yank. Let's be clear on this issue. Sight fishing is a legitimate tactic --
if you place your bait precisely enough, the fish will often eat it rather than move out of the way.
However, if you are snagging the fish in the mouth, you are a poacher, plain and simple, and you
ought to be ashamed of yourself. And, if you happen to observe a fisherman engaging in this practice,
you should pressure the offending fisherman to let that fish go. If the fish didn't eat it, the angler
didn't catch it. If this tactic offends you like it does us, please see
Okay, enough of the preaching. Coming to Montauk should not require conflict or interpersonal friction.
In fact, the park offers the opportunity to relax and unwind to even those who do not fish. There are
picnic pavilions, playgrounds, hiking trails, a great floating river downstream of the park, and of
course the trout hatchery is fun to visit. The park store also has a very nice restaurant and an ice
You can also download a high-quality map from the Department of Conservation website through our
tell us how you did.
Call (573) 548-2585 for more information
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