Trout Fishing Tips in Missouri

Trout Fishing

Trout Fishing

Want to catch more Missouri trout? Change your methods as the seasons and local conditions change. This page tells you how.


Basic Equipment

  • A hand net to land a trout (which easily break the line when pulled out of the water)
  • A stringer identified with your name and address
  • Hemostats to remove swallowed hooks
  • Waders or waterproof boots (remember that some parks allow wading
    while others do not. Make sure you know the regulation for your park.
    Also note the felt-soled wader ban under Related Information below.)
  • A fishing vest to carry the essentials with you
  • Polarized sunglasses to reduce glare and enable you to spot trout beneath the water’s surface
  • Rod and reel. A basic spin-cast rod and reel will work fine, but
    other combinations can prove to be more effective. Ultra-light rods and
    spinning reels are more flexible and easier to feel a strike. Rods 6 to
    6½ feet long prove to be better for castability and make it easier to
    use a float. An ultra-light spinning reel is especially made for light
    line such as 4 pound test.

Rigging the Rod and Reel

Use a light leader, which makes the terminal end of your line less
visible to fish while allowing you to use heavier line on the reel. A
leader is a 2-foot section of 2-pound test (or lighter) line. Attach a
snap swivel to the original line on your reel. The leader will tie to
the snap swivel.

If using a hook, attach a split-shot about the size of a BB above the
snap swivel on the reel’s main line. Several different styles of hooks
can be used depending on the type of bait chosen. A treble hook (size
16-18) works well with most cheese and dough baits. A single hook sizes-
10-16 is the choice for salmon eggs. If using a lure or selected
artificial, simply tie the lure to the leader. Do not use a split shot
unless the water is high.


Knot Tying

1.  Run the line through eye of the hook, lure or swivel at least six
inches and fold to make two parallel lines. Bring the end of the line
back in a circle toward hook or lure.

knot 1

2.  Make six turns with tag end around the double line and through
the circle. Hold double line at point where it passes through eye and
pull tag end to snug up turns.

knot 2

3.  Now pull standing line to slide knot up against eye.

knot 3

4.  Continue pulling until knot is tight. Trim tag end flush with
closest coil of knot. This is known as a Uni-knot and will not slip.

knot 4


Flies lures and baits

The following classes of lures are authorized for use, except where
restricted. Montauk, Roaring River and Bennett Spring have divisions in
their spring branch called “zones.” Zones have specific restrictions on
flies, lures and baits. Each trout park will have a regulation pamphlet.
Rules and zones vary between parks. Refer to the pamphlet for zones,
maps and specific rules. Maramec Spring has no zone restrictions on
flies, lures and baits as defined in A, B, C, and D.

(A) Natural and scented baits—A natural fish food such as bait fish,
crayfish, frogs permitted as bait, grubs, insects, larvae, worms, salmon
eggs, cheese, corn and other food substances not containing any
ingredient to stupefy, injure or kill fish. Does not include flies or
artificial lures. Includes dough bait, putty or paste-type bait, any
substance designed to attract fish by taste or smell and any fly, lure
or bait containing or used with such substances.

(B) Soft plastic bait (unscented)—Synthetic eggs, synthetic worms, synthetic grubs and soft plastic lures.

(C) Artificial Lure—A lure constructed of any material excluding soft
plastic bait and natural and scented bait defined in (A) or (B) above.

(D) Fly—An artificial lure constructed on a single-point hook, using
any material except soft plastic bait and natural and scented bait as
defined in (A) or (B) above, that is tied, glued or otherwise
permanently attached.



Trout rely mainly on their sense of smell as well as sight to detect
food sources. For this reason, there is a variety of colored scented
baits available to catch trout. Common commercial brand brands include
Berkeley’s Power Bait and Zeke’s. They both come in an assortment of
colors and utilize scent attractants. Velveeta cheese and bread are also
excellent choices. Hatchery-raised trout have fed on small brown
pellets for most of their lives. For this reason, locally made
dough-baits can prove exceptional for catching trout. This type of bait
is usually found in the park store.



Drift Fishing

This method can prove to be very effective in any condition. You can
cover a large area and present your bait to a number of trout. Start by
using a split shot approximately 12 to 24 inches from your hook. Use a
leader if fishing is slow. Adjust to water conditions accordingly
(larger split shot and longer leader for deeper fast moving water). Use a
small treble or salmon hook. If you use a treble hook , mold your bait
(Berkley’s Power Bait, Velveeta cheese, Zeke’s cheese, bread or locally
made dough bait) on the hook so that it is covered entirely. Use just
enough bait to conceal hook and no more. If you use a salmon hook simply
hook the salmon egg through the middle. Cast upstream from the fish (if
visible) and keep pace with your bait by slowly reeling in the slack
line as the current

pushes it downstream. Trout may bite lightly so be ready. Setting the
hook requires a medium pull back on the rod. A hard hook set on trout
will cause you to catch less fish. Trout can be choosy and may like one
color on a given day but not the next. Try different colors if one is
not working for you. Another helpful hint is to find out what other
fisherman are using and this may save you some time. Flies and lures may
also be used for this method.


Float Fishing

This method is similar to drift fishing with the exception of using a
floater (bobber). A small slender floater is recommended. Adjust your
floater accordingly with the depth of the trout. Set the hook when the
floater makes a sudden movement.


Fishing with Jigs

There are several different artificial lures out there; however,
marabou jigs have proven themselves year after year. They come in a
variety of sizes (1/16-ounce to 1/256th of an ounce) and colors.
Effective colors are yellow, olive, white, black, brown or a combination
of colors. You can drift fish your marabou with or without a float. No
split shot is required unless it can improve your presentation in
swift/deep water or when using light jigs. Heavier jigs may require
trimming the tail to about half or more. Experiment with different
techniques such as a slow vibration (“jigging”) retrieve. Immediately
set the hook when you feel a strike. Avoid setting the hook on sight
alone and rely more on feel. Like with bait, experiment with different


Tight lining

Bottom fishing may be the easiest method, yet it can be very
effective. Use your polarized glasses to spot trout in slow moving water
and prepare for a relatively carefree fishing experience. Rigging
consists of using the desired hook with bait and crimping the
appropriate split shot 12 to 24 inches above the hook. Cast your line
upstream from the fish and let the bait settle to the bottom. Reel up
your slack line and sit back and relax while you wait for a strike.
Watch your pole closely for the slightest movement because trout may
bite lightly. After a few minutes reel your line in and check your bait.
Freshly bait your hook and cast in a different spot. Avoid using this
method in high water.


Tips For Success

Murky Water

You can use heavier line and a heavier split shot during murky water
conditions. The murky water will help conceal heavier line. A heavier
split shot or lure is often required because the water level will tend
to be higher and swifter when murky.


Clear Water

Use clear nylon sewing machine thread or two pound test line for
leader line on a clear sunny day. Trout will often see larger line and
shy away under clear water conditions. Use your polarized glasses to
locate fish. Trout generally tend to school up in deep holes when the
spring level is low. For more detailed information about your fishing
trip such as stream conditions, directions, or any question, please
contact the hatchery office located in each park.

Top 5 Trout Baits

Top 5 Best Trout Baits

I figured it was only fitting that I list off my favorite trout baits. After all, sometimes there is nothing better than just relaxing on the bank, and letting the bait do all the work for you. Also, bait fishing is perfect when taking kids along.

Pautzke Salmon Eggs

Balls O' Fire Premium Salmon Egg Bait, 1-Ounce

Balls O’ Fire Premium Salmon Egg Bait, 1-Ounce


5. Pautzke Salmon Eggs

This one has been around forever. The effectiveness of a salmon egg is dependent on two things, the quality of the egg, and the egg cure. Pautzke got both of these right with their eggs. They have been around for over 70 years, so history speaks for itself here, with millions of jars sold since that time.
The good:
Shiny texture and perfect size make it a visually attractive bait for fish
Keep fairly well, they last me a couple seasons without going bad.
Not particularly messy- but they turn your fingers red.
Pleasant smell
The not so good
Sinking (not necessarily bad, just depends on the bait rig)
Weaker scent trail than some other baits
How to fish them
Since they are a sinking bait, Pautzke eggs can either be fished under a bobber or float, suspended off the bottom in tandem with a floating bait, drifted along the bottom in current, or added to trolled lures to entice more strikes.
At Meramec Springs I like to drift them below the rapids. Sometimes they like one egg on an egg hook and sometimes three of them on a treble.

4. Scented Marshmallows

 Atlas-Mikes are a favorite brand of many fisherman.
The good
Very Floaty (unless they start to go stale)
Variety of scents and colors, with the option of glitter
Relatively unmessy
The not so good
Don’t keep as well as some other baits (be sure to keep the jar closed, and keep water out)
How to fish
Since this is a floating bait, rig as usual using an egg sinker or split shot, and suspend off the bottom. Additional sinking baits, a salmon egg for example, can be added to the rig to create an attention grabbing trout buffet.

3. Nightcrawlers

The nightcrawler is the oldest bait on my list, and arguably one of the oldest baits of all times. They catch fish in saltwater, fresh water, rivers, lakes, anywhere really. I’ve caught bass, flounder, dog fish, perch, crappy, bluegill, and of course trout, as well as many other species of fish, all on nightcrawlers.
The good
Catch a variety of fish in addition to trout, you never know what you might pull up
Available most places
You can dig, or even farm your own
Relatively inexpensive
Best “action” of any of the baits listed here
The not so good
Some may object to the use of live bait
Difficult to thread on the hook
Slimy and messy
Do not keep well (keep cool, damp and dark for best life, but still only a few weeks at tops)
Minimal scent trail
How to fish
Just like salmon eggs. Suspend from a bobber or float, float off the bottom with a marshmallow or other floating bait, drift in the current, or add to a trolled or cast lure. For most trout, a whole nightcrawler is overkill, half or third of a worm will do just fine.


2. Berkley Power Eggs

Berkley Power Eggs are a fairly recent addition to the trout fisherman’s arsenal. They are the less messy and longer lasting cousin of dough style baits. The traditional egg style are likely the most popular, however the same formula is available in numerous other shapes, with one of my personal favorites being the Honey Worm.
The good
Low mess
A wide variety of colors, styles, scents, and glitter patterns
Stay on the hook very well
Very long shelf life
Good scent dispersion
The not so good
About the furthest thing from a natural bait as you can get
How to fish
The egg style of bait is a floating formula, so fish similarly to the marshmallow baits. Either use one of multiple eggs per hook. When using some of their other molded baits, the Honey Worms for example, be aware that they naturally sink, so keep this in mind when tying your rigs.

1. Berkley Powerbait Dough Bait

I know I’ll probably get a little flack from a couple fisherman for picking an artificial bait for the number one spot, but my rationale is simple: Berkley Powerbait has put the most fish in my boat.
The good
Mold-able, easy to cover whole hook while still keeping it bite size
Wide variety of colors, scents, and added glitters
Relatively long shelf life (just keep the lids tight)
Absorb and hold additional scents well
The not so good
Somewhat off-putting smell
Doesn’t stay on the hook as well as others (mostly only a problem with old bait)
How to fish
Form a ball of the dough just large enough to cover the hook completely. Fish as you would the other floating bait like Power Eggs or Marshmallows.

The Right Fishing Gear

The Right Tools

The Right Fishing Gear

James HillFishing Tips and Techniques
Over the past few years I’ve been asked the same old question over and over “James, why do you need so many fishing rods; you can only use one at a time?

I’ve had the same Ugly Stick since I was twelve and I’ve never needed any other rod!”. Each time I’m asked a question like this I’m forced to reach deep down into my bag of clichés and pull out gems such as, “You don’t play a round of golf with just a putter” or “You can’t build a house with just a hammer”. You need the right tool for a specific job or in this case the right rod for the situation or technique.

I’m not saying you need to rush out and buy twenty new rods to catch bass. Nor is there a mathematical equation that’ll give you the exact correct answer to how many rods you need to have on the deck of your boat to catch bass. Ask any six dedicated anglers and you’ll get six slightly different answers, it’s all about comfort and how you intend to fish them.

Here’s three versatile rods that can be used to apply a variety of techniques that every bass angler should own whether you’re just starting out in the sport or you’re a seasoned veteran competing in tournaments!

  1. 6’10” Medium/Light power with an Extra Fast action spinning rod… With this rod you’ll be able to apply a lot of “Finesse” techniques with lighter fluorocarbon or braided lines. This rod will serve well for Drop Shotting, Shakey Head, Wacky rigged stickbaits, or 3.5-4” finesse swimbaits. You’ll use this rod to really pick apart an area. You can drop a bait right on top of them vertically with drop shot or slowly move a shakey head or wacky rigged stick bait over the area.

6’10” Medium power with an Extra Fast action casting rod…
With this rod you’ll be able to throw a variety of baits including Top Water (poppers, walkers, props… etc.), Jerkbaits and Tube style baits. This rod will assist in finding fish; you can cover a lot of water quickly with a Top Water bait and look for really aggressive fish. Added bonus with Top Water is even if you don’t get a clean hook up, you’ll get an opportunity to get a quick look at the size of the fish. Jerkbaits are an absolute must when you’re searching for fish they allow you to cover a lot of water to find active bass. Try varying your speeds and pauses until you find the correct combination. Tubes are a must in anyones repetoir. You can cover a lot of water while having a bottom presence imitating a crayfish. If you’re not comfortable with casting gear you can use the same specs with a spinning rod.

  1. 7’2” Medium/Heavy power with a Moderate action casting rod… With this rod you’ll be able to throw a heavier line, I use 15-17bs fluorocarbon. This rod will work for reaction baits such as Spinnerbaits which offer a lot of flash in clearer water situations, or a Chatterbait which will give you a lot of vibration in more of a stained water scenario. Both are great for moving quickly to find active biting bass. This rod will also work well for dragging jigs over an area or pitching at docks, laydowns and other specific cover.

With these three rods you’ll be set up to target fish in different patterns, weather condition and seasons. When you do decide to add a rod to your repertoire; find one that offers the most value for as much as you’re able to spend. Look for rods that come with warranties included and are made with high end components such as guides and reel seats.

Possible New World Record Mule Deer

Potential New World Record Mule Deer

Patience is a particular virtue of bowhunting. It was an ample supply of patience that resulted in the harvest of a potential new World’s Record typical Mule deer.

Having observed this buck on many occasions, and knowing the buck’s home range was particularly thick cover—“as thick as dog hair”—Arizona veteran bowhunter John McClendon knew his best chance would be to carefully hunt the buck over a waterhole. He patiently waited out several days of raining, and then the drying, for the perfect opportunity to hunt that water. The result—a perfect 25-yard shot at the buck of anyone’s dreams!
The current World’s Record typical mule deer is: 205 0/8 • Hermosillo, Mexico • 2009 • George Harms

John McClendon with, what could very well be a new World Record Mule deer.
Mr. McClendon’s mule deer, from Mohave County, Arizona, has an initial entry score of 207 5/8. The final score is yet subject to Panel Judging verification, which may change the final accepted score for a variety of reasons, including unusual shrinkage, initial mis-measurement, etc.
This mule deer is entered into the current, ongoing 29th Recording Period—the biennium representing entries accepted into the P&Y Records Program from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014.
At the close of every two-year biennial recording period, numerical awards and honorable mentions are awarded to the most outstanding animals in each species category that have been entered during that recording period. New world’s records are verified and proclaimed, and awards are presented to these outstanding animals during the Pope and Young Club’s biennial convention and awards banquet.
Prior to the actual convention and banquet, outstanding trophies are requested to be sent to a designated site for panel judging. Panel Judging is a process of verification of the final scores of antlers, horns and skulls of the highest ranking North American big game specimen entered during that two-year recording period. A hand-picked team of highly knowledgeable and experienced certified measurers gather for the actual scoring. Congratulations to Mr. McClendon on this incredible animal!
Look to see this outstanding North American big game specimen, plus roughly a hundred more of the biggest and best over the last two years, on display at the Pope and Young Club’s National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, April 15-18, 2015.
The Pope & Young Club is a non-profit North American conservation and bowhunting organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of our bowhunting heritage, hunting ethics and wildlife conservation. The Club also maintains the universally recognized repository for the records and statistics on North American big game animals harvested with a bow and arrow.

Buck to Doe Secret

Pennsylvania was the test balloon for using antler restrictions as a tool for managing the deer herd. The restrictions required 3 or 4 points to a side depending on region. The very idea that the Pa. Game Commission was going to restrict a hunter from shooting an 80# spike buck was met with resistance.So much resistance, that PA deer biologist, Gary Alt had to speak to tens of thousands of hunters at statewide meetings to explain the strategy of quality deer management. The new strategy was narrowly adopted in 2002.
Prior to 2002 over 90% of all bucks taken by hunters were yearlings (1.5-year-old buck). The statewide harvest of mature bucks was a disappointing 5%. It was rare to see a 2.5 year old or older buck. Most of my friends were mounting the odd 10-point yearling with string bean antlers. Today the herd dynamics has changed and there are many quality bucks to hunt in the Keystone state. My son Cory took a 170 B&C two miles from the house and there have been four others taken recently that were in the 150+ category.

Buck taken by Cory Nolan the Monday after Thanksgiving, chasing a doe.
Pa has the genetics and surely has the quality habitat for great whitetails but if you put them in freezer-wrap when they are teenagers… you lose. On the other hand allowing bucks to mature helps a herd in many ways. The buck to doe ratio is the foundation of the win. The term means just what it says; it compares how many bucks to does are in the herd.
Pennsylvania once had a terrible buck to doe ratio. It hovered around 6 to 1. That is a lot of does. Add to that, most Pa. bucks were walking around with their first set of antlers and you have the junk herd we hosted. The real problem with the bad ratio is that many of the does were not being bred during the brief November rut. A large percentage of the does were getting bred in December or in January. Whitetail fawns are dropped 201 days after breeding. This means late born fawns were showing up in June, July and August. Doe conception dates were spread across 100 days.

The common Pennsylvania trophy pre 2002.
Studies have shown that late born fawns have a low survival rate and late born bucks are most often spikes when 1.5 years old due to nutritional deficiencies. That was evident in our deer herd. In combination with the antler restrictions in 2002, Pennsylvania increased the doe harvest dramatically. Prior to 2002, we had an estimated 1,000,000 deer in the state. Habitat damage was evident across vast areas. However, with the reduction of doe numbers and the increase of mature bucks, good things began to happen.
With antler restrictions, many bucks were not available for harvest when they were 1.5 years old as their antlers may be under the minimum size. The bucks that made it through got to be 2.5 years old and now had their own established and familiar home-range. Now they were not as easy to shoot as a dumb yearling buck and many of them evaded hunters and got even older. Now we have quality bucks statewide.

Most states above the Mason-Dixon Line have the habitat and genetics to grow quality bucks; if we let them grow.
A study done by Auburn University recently conducted some interesting whitetail research that relates to the scenario I just described. In a 430-acre pen they determined the buck to doe ratio. In 2008 and 2009 the ratio was 1 to 2, that is one buck to two does. Researchers logged in conception dates of fawns.
Next, they managed the herd so there were not only more bucks but also more mature bucks in the area. The buck to doe ratio in 2010-2012 was one and a half bucks to one doe or 1.5 to 1. They found that most does were synchronous and bred sooner, meaning they were bred during the first rut. The result was fewer late born fawns and the compression of births helped to lessen the impact of coyote predation. Now that you understand the buck to doe ratio secret explain it to your state DNR and fix your deer herd.