Places to Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: October 2016

Manito Lake Conservation Area

Looking for a fall fishing and birding spot? This area on the Moniteau- Morgan county line features a 77-acre lake and 851 acres of old field, woodland, and forest.

Visitors to Manito Lake Conservation Area will find an inviting 77-acre lake with bass, redear sunfish, bluegill, crappie, and catfish. The area features a boat launch, shoreline fishing, fishing jetties, fishing platform, disabled-accessible parking, and restrooms. A water control structure allows for lake water-level management that is timed to benefit fish spawning seasons, create mudflats for shorebirds, and promote varying depths of shoreline vegetation desirable for fish, migratory water birds, and waterfowl.

Field trails provide visitors walk-in access to interior portions of the area. The calls of the bobwhite quail, Bell’s vireo, dickcissel, eastern meadowlark, American goldfinch, field sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, or Henslow’s sparrow may catch a birder’s ear.

Seasonal calls of the spring peeper, chorus frog, cricket frog, or American toad may also announce hidden fishless ponds worth a summer hunt for bullfrogs. Rabbit and quail hunting are long traditions at Manito Lake, where statewide regulations apply. Deer and turkey hunting are worth considering, and waterfowl hunting on the lake can be seasonally good.

Two lake drainages add a wooded, shrubby fringe that borders predominately open grasslands, prairie remnant, and early succession, old-field habitats. Prairie remnants harbor seasonal blooms of blazing star, catclaw sensitive brier, butterfly milkweed, and prairie dock. Shortly after the property’s acquisition in 1981, warmseason grasses and wildflowers were planted for upland and grassland wildlife. The area’s grasslands are managed primarily through prescribed burning and rotations of haying and rest. Woodlands border the uplands adjacent to the lake. Recently completed woodland thinning benefits wildlife and sustains woodland health.

The word “Manito” is derived from “Manitou,” an Algonquian word that means “great spirit.” It is also a variation on Moniteau, the name of the county. On the east side of the area, a carved wooden marker notes a homestead bur oak planted by pioneer Andrew Wolf in 1874.

—Kent Korthas, area manager

  • Manito Lake Conservation Are Recreation Opportunities: Hunting, fishing, birding, wildlife viewing
  • Unique Features: 77-acre lake; fishing jetties; accessible parking lot, restrooms, and fishing jetty; prairie remnants
  • For More Information: Call 660-530-5500 or visit

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler