funding to develop and maintain facilities for anglers and boaters at lake and stream accesses. Facilities may include boat ramps, fishing and courtesy docks, privies, roads and parking lots. The cost of these facilities ranges from $10,000 to $500,000. In return, the partners assist with development of the facilities, allow free public use of the area and provide routine maintenance.
In the Central Region, the Department has entered into CAP agreements with eight local partners and provided management and facilities at 22 lakes (670 acres) and one Missouri River access. These include Binder Lake, McKay Park Lake and Noren Access (Missouri River) in Jefferson City; Cosmo-Bethel Park Lake, Stephens Lake and Twin Lakes in Columbia; Marshall Habilitation Center Lake in Marshall; Lakeview Park Lake in Mexico and more.
In a typical year, the Department stocks more than 5,000 channel catfish in the Central Region CAP lakes.
Winter Trout Program
Do the chilly months of winter have you itching to get outdoors and try something new? What about winter trout fishing? The Central Region partners with Jefferson City and Columbia to offer two opportunities to do just that.
Many anglers favor trout because they are particularly feisty on the end of a line and tasty as well. However, trout need cool, oxygenated water to survive. Winter and early spring is the only time that most of the lakes in Missouri can support them.
The Missouri Department of Conservation teams with Columbia and Jefferson City to stock 2,400 trout that weigh up to 6 pounds in McKay Park Lake and Cosmo-Bethel in November. The trout, which are active and much easier to catch in the winter than other Missouri fishes, can be caught and released until February 1, after which they can be caught and kept.
If it gets cold enough for the lake to freeze sufficiently, Columbia even allows ice fishing. In 2003, the frosty winter froze many lakes. As many as 40 anglers (including me and my two year-old son) could be found dropping lines into holes in the ice at Cosmo-Bethel Lake!
Rod and Reel Loan Program
Tired of watching your kids play video games? Want to spark their interest in the great outdoors? The Missouri Department of Conservation helps introduce kids to fishing by loaning them a rod and reel. Organized groups with adult supervision can borrow rods and reels for a fishing outing. Even tackle and bait are supplied. MDC will help with first-time events if adult supervisors have no fishing experience. Groups usually use local public lakes.
The Department sometimes stocks local lakes with extra fish (hybrid sunfish and channel catfish) prior to planned events. Also, youngsters that catch their very first fish can get a First Fish Award. Last year in the Central Region, the rod and reel loan program helped more than 1,400 kids go fishing!
Outreach and Education
Outdoor classroom grants
The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Conservation Heritage Foundation have teamed up to fund outdoor classrooms at Missouri’s schools to create outdoor learning areas and enhance habitat. Up to $1,000 can be awarded to schools to do such things as plant trees and wildflowers, put up bird feeders, or build ponds or benches. Since 2001, twenty-one grants have been awarded in the Central Region.
Want up-to-date, local information on conservation issues? How about a radio call-in show, featuring conservation agents and other Department staff? You’ve got it.
Every week for the past 10 years, the Missouri Department of Conservation has conducted a live radio program with local conservation agents and their guests. For one hour each Saturday starting at 6 a.m., residents in Cole and Boone Counties can tune in and learn about conservation in their own backyards. The program is aired on 1240 AM in Jefferson City and 1400 AM in Columbia.
The Missouri Department of Conservation is involved in many projects in the Central Region. Questions about these and other community-based programs can be directed to the Missouri Department of Conservation Central Regional Office at (573) 884-6861.