In Brief

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From Missouri Conservationist: April 2020

Blue-Ribbon Trout Slam

New fishing program puts anglers to the test.

MDC has partnered with Trout Unlimited to encourage anglers to pursue a ”Blue- Ribbon Trout Slam” from Missouri’s nine blue-ribbon trout streams.

“Missouri’s blue-ribbon trout streams are areas in the state where trout reproduce naturally,” explained MDC Fisheries Programs Specialist Andrew Branson. “The fish are wary of predators, which makes for an authentic and challenging experience for anglers.”

Where to Fish

The Blue-Ribbon Trout Slam honors anglers who catch a trout in at least five of our nine blue-ribbon trout streams:

  • Barren Fork Creek in Shannon County
  • Blue Springs Creek in Crawford County
  • Crane Creek in Lawrence and Stone counties
  • Current River in Dent County
  • Eleven Point River in Oregon County
  • Little Piney Creek in Phelps County
  • Mill Creek in Phelps County
  • North Fork of the White River in Ozark County
  • Spring Creek in Phelps County

How to Enter

The Blue-Ribbon Trout Slam is divided into three levels:

  • Bronze: Catch a trout from five of the nine blue-ribbon trout areas and receive a certificate and bronze pin.
  • Silver: Catch a trout from seven of the nine blue-ribbon trout areas and receive a certificate and silver pin.
  • Gold: Catch a trout from all 9 blue-ribbon trout areas and receive a certificate, gold pin, and medallion.

All pins and medallions awarded to participants have been provided by Trout Unlimited.

Anglers need to possess a trout permit if they want to keep their trout.

Trout of any size will qualify for the Blue-Ribbon Trout Slam, but trout under 18 inches must be released.

Anglers can complete a Blue-Ribbon Trout Slam entry form each time they catch a trout. They may also submit a picture of their trout if they wish, but it is not required.

Once participants accomplish one of the three Trout-Slam levels, we will verify their submissions and mail them their award. Additionally, anglers can have their successes listed on our website.

For more information on the Blue-Ribbon Trout Slam, visit

“First Hole” for Special Trout Fishing at Roaring River State Park

MDC encourages veterans, children, the elderly, and those with disabilities to discover nature through trout fishing with our award-winning “First Hole” program at Roaring River State Park near Cassville.

“Our Roaring River team helps thousands of new anglers discover nature each year through this special and unique offering,” said MDC Roaring River Hatchery Manager Paul Spurgeon.

Participants are taught trout-fishing basics at the first of 33 fishing holes that comprise Roaring River State Park’s trout fishing area.

“The ‘First Hole’ is located immediately below the fish hatchery, so it’s an ideal place to fish for first-time anglers because the trout congregate in the pool of water,” explained Spurgeon. “The hole also features a ramped fishing pier, making it accessible for a wide variety of anglers. And hatchery staff and volunteers are readily available and eager to teach groups about trout fishing.”

The daily trout tag and fishing permits for First Hole Program participants are waived. All equipment, including poles, bait, and nets, are provided free of charge. Participants can work on casting, line tying, baiting, and safe fish handling with the instruction of Roaring River staff and volunteers. Anglers can even keep up to four trout they catch. Roaring River Fish Hatchery staff have received a Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity for this unique fishing initiative.

For more information on the program, visit

Invasive Species: Missouri’s Least Wanted.

Invasive nonnative species destroy habitat and compete with native plants and animals. Please do what you can to control invasive species when you landscape, farm, hunt, fish, camp, or explore nature.

Callery Pear

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is a deciduous ornamental tree native to China. It is most commonly known as Bradford pear, but also is sold as Aristocrat, Cleveland Select, Autumn Blaze, and Whitehouse. It can quickly grow 30 to 50 feet tall and maintain a nice shape that makes it attractive for manicured landscapes and parking lots.

Why It’s Bad

Birds and other animals eat the fruits produced by callery pears and distribute the seeds widely. A single tree can spread quickly, forming dense thickets. These thickets leaf out early, outcompeting native flowers and trees. Once escaped from cultivation, wild trees also develop long thorns, making thickets impenetrable.


Small trees can be removed by hand, but the entire root must be taken. Medium to larger trees must be cut down and the stumps must be treated. For more information, visit

Alternative Native Plants

  • American plum
  • Yellowwood
  • Eastern redbud
  • Hawthorn
  • Serviceberry
  • Black gum

Burning Bush

Burning bush (Euonymus alatus) is an ornamental native to Russia, Japan, China, and Korea. It is most commonly known as burning bush, but also referred to as winged spindle and winged euonymus. It is sold at nurseries as a landscaping plant and can grow up to 10 feet tall with an even wider spread.

Why It’s Bad

Birds are attracted to the berries of burning bush and easily distribute the seeds. The seeds become well established in woodlands, forests, fields, and roadsides where they form dense thickets, outcompeting native plants.


Burning bush can be controlled with herbicide application, pulling small seedlings, and repeatedly cutting shrubs to the ground to control resprouts.

Alternative Native Perennials

  • Wahoo
  • Black chokeberry
  • Fragrant sumac
  • Smooth sumac

Sericea Lespedeza

Sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) is a warm season perennial legume. Introduced as forage for livestock, wildlife cover, and soil erosion control, it is native to eastern Asia. It can grow 3 to 6 feet tall.

Why It’s Bad

Sericea lespedeza aggressively invades open areas such as pastures, prairies, and roadsides. It is unpalatable to many animals as it matures. In addition, sericea lespedeza emits a chemical, stunting the growth of nearby plants. Its roots are deep, so in times of drought, sericea lespedeza can outcompete desired vegetation for water and other nutrients. These mechanisms allow it to form dense mats that replace native plants and other forage that are no longer usable by wildlife and livestock.


Early detection is key. Once it’s detected, pull or spray it. If it’s established, an integrated approach — mowing, burning, and spraying — is best. For more information, visit

Alternative Native Perennials

  • Slender lespedeza
  • Blue or yellow wild indigo
  • Partridge pea
  • Virginia wild rye
  • Little bluestem
  • Wild senna

Find Outdoor Fun with MO Outdoors App

Spring is in the air, so now is a great time to get outside and discover nature. Looking for places to enjoy outdoor activities in Missouri such as hiking, birdwatching, camping, shooting, fishing, and hiking? We have an app for that.

With our free mobile app — MO Outdoors — users can quickly and easily find outdoor activities close to home, work, or even while traveling. Learn more at

MO Outdoors can help users find conservation areas, fishing accesses, hiking trails, shooting ranges, nature centers, and more around the state based on their preferred outdoor activities. Users can also mark “favorite” locations to quickly find them in future searches.

MO Outdoors also connects users to area regulations and season information, hours of operation, images, area closings, and interactive maps of area boundaries and features.

The map function displays features such as parking lots, boat ramps, and wildlife viewing areas, and allows users to easily navigate to the features using their device’s GPS. Users can also download maps for offline use.

MO Outdoors is available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.

New MDC Booklets Available

Missouri hunters, trappers, anglers, and others can get free copies of MDC’s updated booklets on spring turkey hunting, hunting and trapping, fishing, and the Wildlife Code of Missouri starting in early March. The publications are available at MDC regional offices, MDC nature centers, and anywhere permits are sold. The handy booklets have information on related permits, seasons, species, regulations, limits, conservation areas, sunrise and sunset tables, and more.

Get booklet information online at using the search tool at the top of the homepage, or using these specific links:

  • Summary of Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations at
  • 2020 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information at
  • Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations at
  • Wildlife Code of Missouri at


Got a Question for Ask MDC? Send it to or call 573-522-4115, ext. 3848.

Q. I was hiking at Wire Road Conservation Area and I saw these on some tree leaves. What are they?

A. These red growths, often called finger galls, are common on black cherry leaves. They are caused by a tiny eriophyid mite species, likely Eriophyes cerasicrumena, and serve as both a shelter and food source for the mites.

Galls are abnormal swellings or growths of plant tissue. Many types of galls form when insects or mites inject special chemicals into developing leaves or buds. Most gall-making species are highly host-specific, meaning they only produce galls on one or a few closely-related plant species.

Eriophyid mite species commonly cause distinct and often colorful galls on many different trees and plants in Missouri. Look for these interesting galls on maple, elm, black walnut, grape, and even poison ivy. Although leaf galls may look dramatic, healthy plants can often tolerate large populations of galls.

Q: What is this flower? I noticed it growing along an Ozark trail.

A. Commonly known as “bird’s foot violet,” Viola pedata features divided leaves that resemble birds’ feet. It occurs on rocky, well-drained, usually acidic soils of open woods, road embankments, glades, bluffs, and ridges.

This species is an excellent nectar plant for butterflies and a food plant for some caterpillars, particularly those that metamorphose into fritillaries. Although most yards lack the dry, sunny, gravelly conditions that this wildflower prefers, they do make an attractive addition to a home garden, where you might try them near a pathway.

Watch for their showy blooms through May.

Q. What is the proper etiquette for photographing bald eagles?

A. For birdwatchers, few activities are more thrilling than seeing a bald eagle nurture its young or patiently hunt fish in a stream.

Agent Advice

Lucas K. McClamroch, Boone County Conservation Agent

With spring in the air, it’s a great time to shake off the winter blues and visit your nearest conservation area. If you’re in central Missouri or planning a trip to the area, Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area (CA) is a must see. This 4,431-acre area is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and offers recreational activities for all kinds of nature enthusiasts. With the spring migration, birdwatchers will enjoy an influx of birds to the area. Eagle Bluffs has hiking trails and an overlook with a scenic view of the Missouri River. There are plenty of fishing holes and ample opportunities to catch catfish. For more information about Eagle Bluffs CA or to find an area near you, visit

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler