Want to catch more Missouri trout? Change your methods as the seasons and local conditions change. This page tells you how.
- 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.
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.
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.
3. Now pull standing line to slide knot up against eye.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.