Trout Fishing Opportunities This page was updated 6/19/06
Springfield is a great city for fly fishermen to live in. You're not exactly minutes away
from numerous streams, but the travel distance is no big deal, and you've got a good variety
of water types and trout management areas.
Crane Creek is about a half-hour away, Southwest of Springfield.
It is one of only a couple streams that still have pure strain McCloud River redband trout. This
population is, therefore, closely guarded by Blue Ribbon regulations -- 1 fish daily 18" or longer.
The trout in this stream are considered a back-up brood stock, should the Missouri hatchery
stock suffer a serious disease of some sort. The trout are very nervous and bolt easily, and the
banks of the creek are generally tree-lined or thick with brush. In other words, you'll have to
fish from the creek bed. Good luck with that. If you have good frustration tolerance skills and
like a challenge, you'll like this little stream.
Capps Creek is a lovely little creek with some manicured recreation
and picnic grounds available. The creek is almost entirely put-and-take unless you do some walking.
The further away from Jolly Mill you get, the more wild the scenery and the more wild the fish act.
Here's a tip: the state stocks both above and below the Jolly Mill dam, so give the creek a try
further upstream for a bit more solitude. Capps Creek is also Southwest of Springfield just a bit
There are two trout parks available within about a 90-minute drive of Springfield.
Bennett Spring State Park is easier to get to, but Roaring River
State Park is usually less crowded and has more wild areas to fish. Not only is Zone 3 pretty rugged, but
the White Ribbon area downstream of the park offers solitude and good fishing
extending all the way to Table Rock Lake. Bennett Spring has the Niangua River
downstream from the park, and the fishing is quite good there as well. Bennett Spring is near Lebanon just
off I-44. Roaring River is near Cassville Southwest of Springfield.
If you're willing to travel that far, you should give Hickory Creek a go as well.
The creek runs right through Neosho, and there are plenty of RV hookups, playgrounds for the kids, and so on.
The creek is stocked heavily every few weeks, except during the winter catch & release season. There isn't
much in the way of aquatic insects in the creek for the fish to feed on, but they have to become minnow
eaters to survive -- try streamers, spinners and little crankbaits.
If you're okay with crowds and are itching for a chance to maybe hook into a 3-foot football-shaped monster
of a trout, then Lake Taneycomo is the place for you. Lake Taneycomo is near
Branson, and the size of the fishing crowd is roughly tied to how full the hotels are for other reasons.
So, to fish with fewer "friends", try January. The "Ozark Mountain Christmas" celebration will be over,
and it's too cold for any sane people to go on vacation (who ever said trout fishermen are sane?). Fish
a wide area in the daylight to get a feel for the riffles and pools. Then come back at night and cast big
streamers and little crankbaits into those areas for a chance at a big brown.
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