ST. JAMES, Mo. – Missouri anglers have been waiting with anticipation for the month of March. On Monday morning, they stood shoulder-to-shoulder in St. James for the start of trout season. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of fish to be found because they stock them every evening.
“The fifth-largest spring in the state of Missouri,” said Wesley Swee, regional manager of the James Foundation. “Meramec Spring. It discharges about 100,000 gallons of water a day. The Missouri Department of Conservation approached the James Foundation about starting a fishery here about 50 years ago and they put in about 100,000 fish every year.”
Monday marked the opening of the 2021 trout fishing season at four Missouri locations: Bennett Springs State Park, Montauk State Park, Roaring River State Park, and Meramec Spring Park.
The 1,800-acre joint venture between the nonprofit James Foundation and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Worth the drive and hour and a half from St. Louis to St. James where, besides the wineries nearby, there’s no better place to try your hand at fishing because the odds are in your favor.
“You have the best chance early in the morning,” Swee said. “Do you want to try the thousand fish we put out? They’ve never been caught before. They’re hungry. You stand a really good chance.”
Anglers have until October to get out to a natural stream that joins the Merrimac River and makes its way to St. Louis.
“When you feel the tug on that line and the struggle and you reel it in and you just kind of smile and say, ‘I did that,’ and then you got dinner for that night if you want that or you can throw them back and do that too,” Swee said.
Meramec Spring Park is open seven days a week, from sunup to sundown.