ST. JAMES, Mo. –The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) in cooperation with The James Foundation is hosting Kids’ Fishing Day again this year on Saturday, May 19. It’s a day of free fishing and other fun activities for kids ages 15 years and younger at Maramec Spring Park, located near St. James. The park will open at 5:30 a.m. with fishing at 6:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m.
A chance to see Missouri’s fifth largest spring, free trout fishing, special drawings and a casting contest with prizes, and free hotdogs are among the activities that make it a full day of fun for young anglers.
A limited number of loaner fishing poles is available, but kids are encouraged to bring their own fishing poles and equipment. The entire upper half of the spring branch will be reserved for kids 15 years of age and younger. MDC will stock rainbow trout throughout the day so the fish will be biting. Volunteers, along with MDC staff, will be on hand all day to assist the kids with fishing.
A casting contest will be held at 11 a.m. with prizes to be awarded. Free hotdogs and soda will be provided courtesy of Phelps County Bank, St. James Sports Club, and the St. James Chamber of Commerce. Drawings for other prizes will be held throughout the day and will include fishing rod and reels, fishing equipment, and more.
Exhibits, games and activities will be offered from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the area around the registration tent, including fish print t-shirts, critter stamping, scavenger hunt, free tree seedling giveaway, first fish certificates, fish cleaning and cooking, and kid’s games. Fishing demonstrations and advice will be available along the stream.
All cars with children age 15 and under can park for free. Kids who want to fish must pick up a free fishing tag at the Mill Field Shelter, located right next to the fishing area. Tag pickup will be available the Friday before and all day Saturday.
The event will be held rain or shine. Kids’ Free Fishing Day is an ideal opportunity to help kids discover fishing and enjoy a day out while glimpsing the park’s amazing spring, which puts out 100 million gallons of water each day.
Maramec Spring Park, owned and operated by The James Foundation, is located on Highway 8 about six miles east of St. James, approximately and hour and a half drive along I-44 west from St. Louis. The park’s hatchery is administered by MDC and produces about 100,000 trout each year.
For more information about the event, call the Maramec Spring Hatchery at 573-265-7801, or email Hatchery Manager Wes Swee at Wes.Swee@mdc.mo.gov. For more information about fishing, go online to https://mdc.mo.gov/fishing.