Renovations enhance Bennett Spring trout production

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SPRINGFIELD MO -- Trout fishing lures thousands of anglers annually to Bennett Spring State Park in Dallas and Laclede counties and provides a vital economic boost to the area. Thanks to recently completed renovations at the Bennett Spring Hatchery, a good thing is about to get even better.

At 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will hold a dedication ceremony to highlight recent improvements at the facility. MDC operates the hatchery and manages fishing operations at Bennett Spring. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages the state park.

Among the new features to be unveiled is a 4,000-square-foot production building, which will replace the old 1,200-square-foot structure. This new building will house 12 egg jars, 20 troughs and 10 rearing tanks. The former production building had six egg jars, 12 troughs and four tanks.

At present, Bennett Spring Hatchery produces approximately 300,000 trout annually. The renovation is expected to increase that output by about 20 percent, which equates to an additional 60,000 fish per year.

“The new production building, with increased production space, will help increase the production of fingerlings for use by MDC’s cold-water-hatchery system,” said Bennett Spring Hatchery Manager Mike Mitchell. “This increase in fingerling production will help the cold-water-hatchery system meet current production demands.”

Mitchell also said the renovation will help Bennett fulfill its goal to increase the facility’s production by 20 percent, a goal that was outlined in Missouri’s Trout Plan. The Plan, which was approved by the Missouri Conservation Commission in 2003, outlines the regulations and strategies used by MDC to manage this popular sport fish in Missouri.

The cost of the renovation is $2,375,000. MDC is being reimbursed for 75 percent of this cost through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration Program.

The dedication event will commence at 1:30 p.m. with a few short speeches and a ribbon-cutting. Following this, media representatives will have an opportunity for interviews, and video/photography of the renovations.

For more information, contact MDC Southwest Region Media Specialist Francis Skalicky at 417-895-6881, ext. 1641 or