Trout in ... Jackson?

Friday, November 7, 2003

For decades, trout fishing in Missouri meant finding a cold, spring-fed stream somewhere in the Ozarks and standing elbow to elbow with other enthusiasts on a chilly March 1 opening day for trout season.

That's all changed. For the first time, there's no need to drive long distances to test those hand-tied flies and other trout-attracting lures. You can go trout fishing right here in Cape Girardeau County. And you don't have to wait until March 1, thanks to the catch-and-release season that started Nov. 1.

Thanks to the Missouri Conservation Department's Urban Fishing Program, 800 rainbow trout have been added to the three-acre Rotary Lake in the Jackson City Park. It's the only program of its kind in Southeast Missouri. Similar trout programs exist in St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia.

Fishing for trout in Southeast Missouri depends on the weather. Trout can't survive in warm water, so the program will be pretty much confined to the cool weather of late autumn and winter. The catch-and-release season ends Feb. 1.

People who fish for trout tend to be passionate about their sport. They will find ample reasons to test their skills at Rotary Park.

Don't forget: You have to have a fishing permit. And after Feb. 1, you can keep any trout you catch, provided you have a trout stamp and take no more than five fish.

Fun? If you're a trout fisherman, you know the answer. If not, why not find out?

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