From Xplor for Kids
March 2017 Issue

Into The Wild: Trout Stream

Publish Date

Mar 01, 2017

Even if you aren’t an angler, it’s tons of fun to wade around in a cool, clear trout stream.


Northern parulas are tiny, brightly colored birds that sing from the tippiest top of trees along streams. They’re hard to see, but easy to hear. Listen for a buzzy trill that sounds like someone zipping up a zipper.

What Happened Here?

Swallowtails, sulphurs, and other butterflies often cluster over wet areas on gravel bars. They gather to sip up sodium and other minerals that are important to their diet.


You’ll need good eyes to spot these fish. Although some of them are brightly colored, they become all but invisible against the gravel at the bottom of a stream.

Do More

If you like splashing around in streams, consider joining a Stream Team. Volunteers check water quality, pick up litter, and improve stream habitat. Learn more at

  • Longear sunfish
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Banded sculpin
  • Rainbow darter
  • Northern hog sucker

Do More!

If you like splashing around in streams, consider joining a Stream Team. Volunteers check water quality, pick up litter, and improve stream habitat. Learn more at

Where to Go

Trout survive best in spring-fed
Ozark streams that stay below
70 degrees year-round. If you’re
chasing rainbows (trout, that is),
here’s where to find them.

  • Bennett Spring State Park
  • Montauk State Park
  • Roaring River State Park
  • Maramec Spring Park
  • Current River
  • Eleven Point River
  • North Fork of the White River

Take a Closer Look

Pick up a rock from the stream bottom and look closely. You’ll likely notice small tubes made of pebbles cemented to the rock’s surface. These “cases” were built by caddisfly larvae. They protect the baby insects’ soft, squishy bodies.


The Conservation Department stocks two kinds of trout in Ozark streams. Rainbow trout have an olive green back, a silvery white belly, and a pink stripe along their sides. Brown trout have a brownish-green back, yellowish-white belly, and orange or red spots on their sides.

Take a Closer Look

Green herons often stalk stream edges, hunting for fish. Watch a heron long enough and you might see an interesting behavior. The wily birds use bait — such as insects, feathers, or twigs — to lure jittery fish into striking range.

Also in this issue

Kids Walking Trails

Get Out

Fun things to do and great places to discover nature.


Woodland Wildflower Challenge

In early March, most of Missouri’s woods are still gray and bare. But if you take a walk, you might find some signs of spring poking up through the leaf litter.


Frank's Guide to Wetlands

Wetlands can be muggy and buggy. They’re often soggy and stinky. You might get stuck in the muck. But wetlands aren’t wastelands.

Girl planting a wild bergamot

How To: Plant a Pollinator Paradise

Biologists are worried because bee and butterfly numbers are dropping. Improper use of pesticides and loss of habitat are likely to blame. You can bring the buzz back by planting a patch of native flowers.

This Issue's Staff:

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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