Fishing Close to Home

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Published on: Apr. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 26, 2010

The Conservation Department believes that fishing should be a leisure activity, that it shouldn't cost an arm and a leg, and that people should be able to find good fishing within a 20-minute drive.

After all, what good is good fishing, if you have to drive halfway across the state to find it?

Since 1981, the Conservation Department's Community Assistance Program has established or improved local fishing opportunities in over 80 Missouri communities.

The program provides funds to construct new facilities or to improve old ones. These funds may be used to build a pond, to stabilize an eroding streambank and to provide roads, boat ramps, docks, fishing piers, toilets, bank fishing trails and landscaping.

The program also provides technical assistance in planning and constructing facilities and in fish management. Fisheries experts survey the ponds, lakes and streams in the program and work out a plan, which may include stocking, to help provide the highest quality fishing possible.

Each contract in the Community Assistance Program is geared to the needs of the community. In most agreements, the town obligates itself to maintain and police the parking areas, roads and other facilities and to provide access to anyone who wishes to use them. Conservation agents, however, will enforce fish and wildlife rules.

Although communities have been the main beneficiaries, any public agency or group that owns or holds a long-term lease on property having a lake, pond or stream frontage is eligible for CAP funds.

For example, Mineral Area College in St. Francois County and the Department of Mental Health in Saline County have both received CAP help in building roads, parking areas, piers, fishing platforms and trails.

Shown here are two in-depth examples of communities that have benefited from the Conservation Department's Community Assistance Program.

Moberly's Rothwell Park

Rothwell Park, located on the west side of Moberly, is a well-developed 350-acre community area, situated on rolling hills and combining park like woodlands and thick forest.

The park contains two 24-acre lakes: Rothwell Lake, which was built in 1901 by the Wabash Railroad Company for their steam locomotives, and Old Water Works Lake, which was once the city's water supply. Each lake has a concrete boat ramp and parking lots.

Rothwell Park also contains ballfields, lighted tennis courts and numerous picnic shelters, as well as croquet courts, horseshoe pits, an archery range, a RV trailer camp, a rodeo arena, a youth center and restroom facilities.

Despite those many attractions, the park did not well serve

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