Located 500 yards east of Missouri's Bennett Spring State Park

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Winter Catch & Release Season

at Bennett Spring State Park




Days, Dates & Times


The winter catch & release program begins the 2nd Friday in November  (Nov. 13, 2009 and runs through the 2nd Monday in February (Feb. 8, 2010).  Fishing is permitted on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.




Winter anglers must have a valid Missouri fishing license, plus a Trout Permit.  Winter fishing privileges at all four Missouri trout parks are included in the $7 Trout Permit.


Zone & Lure Restrictions


All three zones of Bennett Spring may be fished, but only those flies that are legal in Zone 1 may be used.  Flies must be single hook and constructed of any material (except soft plastic, natural or scented bait) that is tied, glued or otherwise permanently attached.  Flies may be fished with or without a spinner.


Barbless hooks are not required, but if using a hook with a barb, mashing it flat makes releasing fish easier and quicker.


Tips for Handling & Releasing Trout


No fish may be possessed during the catch & release season, and all fish caught are to be released immediately, unharmed.  Proper catch & release techniques are essential for released fish to survive. 


Practicing these tips will help you release fish in good shape:


1)  Minimize the time you “play” a fish.  Playing a fish to the point of exhaustion severely stresses it and can even lead to its death.


2)  Avoid handling fish more than needed.  Excessive handling may damage the mucous covering on the fish’s body (which prevents infection) and reduces survival. 


3)  To remove the hook,  keep the fish in the water; hold the fish by the lower jaw to do this.  If necessary to hold the fish out of the water to remove the hook, wet your hands and hold the fish lightly around the mid-section, then slide it back into the water as gently and as quickly as possible. 


4)     Use a hook disgorger or needle nose pliers  to back the hook out.  Never pull a hook from the fish’s throat or stomach.  Instead, cut the line or hook shank.

5)  Never put your fingers in the gills or eye sockets.


6)  To photograph a fish, have the camera ready,  and do it quickly.  Get someone else to take the picture or to hold the fish.  If possible, keep the fish in the water by cradling it or by keeping it in a net.



Winter Fishing on the Niangua River



Catch-and-release rules do not apply to fishing in the winter on the Niangua River. 


All regular-season rules and regulations regarding licenses, permits and possession limits are in effect, however, and brown trout cannot be kept unless they are 15” or more in length.





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