In Brief

By MDC | March 1, 2022
From Missouri Conservationist: March 2022

Get Hooked on Trout Fishing

MDC encourages anglers to mark the annual opener with a trip to one of four trout parks

March 1 marks the annual opening of catch-and-keep trout fishing in Missouri at the state’s four trout parks: Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, and Maramec Spring Park near St. James. The catch-and-keep season at the trout parks runs through Oct. 31.

MDC operates trout hatcheries at all four parks and stocks rainbow trout daily throughout the season.

Trout anglers need a daily trout tag to fish in Missouri’s trout parks. Daily trout tags can only be purchased at each of the four trout parks. Missouri residents 16 through 64 and nonresidents 16 and older also need a fishing permit in addition to the daily tag.

The cost of a daily trout tag to fish at three of Missouri’s four trout parks — Bennett Spring State Park, Montauk State Park, and Roaring River State Park — is $4 for adults and $3 for those 15 years of age and younger. A daily fishing permit for Missouri residents and nonresidents is $8. The daily limit is four trout.

At Maramec Spring Park, where the daily limit is five trout, the cost of a daily trout tag for adults is $5 and $3 for anglers 15 years of age and younger.

Trout hatcheries are just one way that conservation pays in Missouri. MDC staff stock more than 800,000 trout annually at the state’s four trout parks and approximately 1.5 million trout annually statewide. Trout anglers spend more than $100 million each year in the Show-Me State, which generates more than $180 million in business activity, supports more than 2,300 jobs, and creates more than $70 million dollars in wages. About 30 percent of Missouri trout anglers come from other states, so a substantial portion of trout fishing expenditures is “new money” for the state’s economy.

Missouri also offers excellent trout fishing throughout the state on rivers and streams that support naturally reproducing trout. For more information on trout fishing in Missouri, visit

Buy Missouri fishing permits from numerous vendors around the state, online at, or through MDC’s free mobile apps, MO Hunting and MO Fishing, available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.

Reminder to Trout Anglers:

To prevent the spread of the invasive alga called didymo or “rock snot,” the use of shoes, boots, or waders with porous soles of felt, matted, or woven fibrous material is prohibited at all trout parks, trout streams, Lake Taneycomo, and buffer areas. Get more information at

Final Deer, Turkey Harvest Totals Tallied


Missouri’s 2021–2022 deer hunting season ended Jan. 15 with a preliminary total harvest of 293,670. Of the deer harvested, 143,049 were antlered bucks, 26,599 were button bucks, and 124,022 were does. Top harvest counties for the season were Franklin with 6,392 deer harvested, Texas with 5,478, and Callaway with 5,452.

Hunters harvested 297,214 deer during the 2020–2021 deer hunting season, with 140,855 being antlered bucks, 28,652 being button bucks, and 127,707 being does.

Deer hunting ended with the close of the archery season. Preliminary data showed that hunters checked 60,834 deer during the 2021–2022 archery deer season, making it the third highest archery deer harvest on record. Top counties for the archery deer season were Jefferson with 1,563 deer harvested, St. Louis with 1,368, and Franklin with 1,274.

Hunters checked 67,487 deer during the 2020–2021 archery deer season. This year’s archery deer harvest total was 10 percent below last year’s record harvest and 8 percent higher than the previous five-year average.

For deer harvest totals by season, county, and type of deer, visit For deer harvest summaries from past years, visit For more information on deer hunting in Missouri, visit


Fall archery turkey hunting also ended Jan. 15. Preliminary data showed 2,523 turkeys harvested. Top counties for the fall archery turkey season were Franklin with 69 turkeys harvested, Jefferson with 67, and Callaway with 61.

Hunters harvested 2,350 turkeys during the 2020–2021 fall archery turkey season.

For more turkey harvest information for the current season, go online to For more harvest information on past turkey seasons, visit For more information on turkey hunting in Missouri, visit

MDC reported one fatal and three non-fatal, self-inflicted firearms related hunting incidents during deer season.

Paddlefish Season Opens March 15

Imagine catching a giant, prehistoric fish whose ancestors swam during the time of dinosaurs. That is a reality for thousands of paddlefish snaggers during Missouri’s annual spring paddlefish snagging season. Paddlefish — named for their large, paddle-shaped snouts — are an ancient species that can grow to 7 feet and weigh more than 100 pounds.

According to MDC, the state’s major paddlefish snagging waters include Lake of the Ozarks, Harry S. Truman Reservoir, and Table Rock Lake. No person shall continue to snag after taking a daily limit of two paddlefish on these waters.

The paddlefish snagging season for these and most other waters in the state runs March 15 through April 30. The season for the Mississippi River is March 15 through May 15 with a fall season of Sept. 15 through Dec. 15.

A new regulation change established a statewide minimum length limit of 32 inches — measured from eye to fork of tail — for sport/recreational taking of paddlefish, up from the current minimum length of 24 inches for most areas of the state. The existing minimum length limit of 34 inches — measured from eye to fork of tail — will remain in effect for Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake, Harry S. Truman Reservoir, and their tributaries. All paddlefish under the legal minimum length must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.

MDC reminds snaggers that it is very important to immediately release sublegal fish for future harvests and offers these tips:

  • Use landing nets, not gaffs, which can kill young fish.
  • Wet hands before handling fish and avoid excessive handling.
  • Never put fingers in the gills or eyes.
  • Remove hooks carefully and get undersized fish back into the water as quickly as possible.

New Hunting, Fishing 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 handy booklets have information on related permits, seasons, species, regulations, limits, conservation areas, sunrise and sunset tables, and more.

The free booklets — 2022 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information, Summary of Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations, Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations, and the Wildlife Code of Missouri — are available at MDC regional offices, MDC nature centers, and other places where permits are sold. These publications are also available online. Visit and use the search tool at the top of the page.

Agent Advice
Statistics Elements

Jacob Fisher
St. Clair County
Conservation Agent


As spring makes its return to Missouri, the excellent fishing opportunities draw anglers to boat ramps and the water’s edge. It is a great time to rediscover the joys of spring fishing for both crappie and paddlefish. As you make your way to the water, keep water safety in mind. It is a good idea to bring extra layers, as early spring mornings can be crisp, especially on the water. Remember, if you are going to be on a boat, personal flotation devices are required for each occupant and should be accessible in the event of an emergency. Take a safety tour of any vessel you board to familiarize yourself with the location of the life vests and other safety equipment.

For more information, including required permits, new information on paddlefish limits on some bodies of water, and more, check out A Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations, available at

We Are Conservation

Mike Szydlowski

Mike Szydlowski, K–12 science coordinator with Columbia Public Schools (CPS), is always looking for ways to engage students in science learning beyond the classroom. An opportunity presented itself nearly 8 years ago when he received information from MDC about invasive bush honeysuckle.

Mike Szydlowski
Cliff White
Right to Use

An Eye-Opener

According to Szydlowski, the information came in November and really made an impact on him. As winter settled in and things were turning drab, the green of bush honeysuckle stuck out like a sore thumb. At that time, he mobilized CPS fourth graders and they went to local parks, removing invasive honeysuckle. Since then, the program has grown to include third grade through high school, and those groups have logged nearly 7,000 hours per school year at six local parks. Due to their efforts, these parks have seen anywhere from 10–80 percent of honeysuckle cleared.

In His Own Words

“None of this would be possible without our teachers who are committed to environmental learning. This is more than service learning — this is a community service. If kids don’t spend time outside, they won’t learn to love it and won’t take care of it.”.

What is it?

Pallid Sturgeon

Pallid sturgeon are large fish, weighing in at 100 pounds and measuring up to 72 inches. Like shovelnose sturgeon, pallid sturgeon have pronounced snouts but longer and pointier. The grayish-white pallid sturgeon is streamlined, which enables it to navigate strong river currents. Once commercially fished, overharvest, dam construction, and habitat loss has landed the pallid sturgeon on the state and federal Endangered Species List. It is also a species of conservation concern.


This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler