Missouri Fly Fishing
Where to Fly Fish in Missouri
Missouri boasts some of the finest trophy brown and wild, stream-bred rainbow fishing found anywhere in the country. And fishing stays open year-round. Trout anglers, regardless of their expertise, can find super trout fishing. If you want to fish for large trophy brown trout; or hatchery fish released the day before; or test your skill against trout that see hundreds of flies annually in a popular catch-and-release fishery; Missouri’s trout program provides this opportunity.
Missouri’s four trout parks:
- Bennett Spring
- Roaring River
- Maramec Springs’
These parks provide anglers the opportunity to fish for stocked rainbows during most of the year; however, now they reopen for weekend catch-and-release trout fishing from mid-November to mid-February. Many anglers report catching and releasing 100 trout or more during a day’s fishing.
Trophy Trout Areas
Today the Current River is one of four streams that have special regulations restricting the harvesting of trout until they reach 15 inches in length. Those fisheries include:
- Meramec River from Highway 8 to Scott’s Ford access
- Current River from Montauk State Park to Cedar Grove Access
- North Fork of the White River from Blair Bridge to Dawt Mill
- Roubidoux Creek from Waynesville City Park to Gasconade River.
Some of the rivers have bait restrictions, others do not. All provide some of the finest “big trout” stream fishing found anywhere in the Midwest. Anglers catch brown trout as large as 10 pounds regularly. Larger trout up to 15 pounds have been reported.
In addition to the stream fishing for trophy trout, anglers can fish for trophy browns in Lake Taneycomo, one of the finest tailwater trout fisheries in the nation. Brown trout must be 20 inches long before they can be harvested. All current state record brown trout (the record now is 23 pounds 3 ounces) have come from the tailwater, with larger trout, maybe even a new world record a future possibility.
Wild Trout Areas
Arguably, Missouri has some of the finest wild trout fishing found anywhere in the United States.
Missouri has six streams:
- Mill Creek
- Spring Creek
- Blue Spring Creek
- Eleven Point River from Greer Access to Turner’s Access;
- North Fork of the White River from Rainbow Spring to Blair Bridge
- Crane Creek – the upper 6 miles for Crane Creek, managed for wild, self-sustaining, rainbow trout populations.
These are the only such populations east of the Rocky Mountains or south of Minnesota. Regulations are strict. An 18-inch- length limit or catch and release and restrictions on the use of natural bait protects these unique populations.
In addition to the trophy brown trout fishery, Lake Taneycomo supports excellent year-round fishing for stocked rainbow trout, as does Capps Creek, Little Piney River, Current River, Eleven and Roubidoux Creek outside special management areas. These are stocked eight to ten times each year and anglers can keep five trout daily with no restriction on bait. And finally, scattered throughout The Ozarks are private spring branches that support trout fishing opportunities.
- Capps Creek Fly Fishing
- Crane Creek Fly Fishing
- Missouri Winters Trout Fishing
- North Fork River Fly Fishing
- Trout Fishing on Taneycomo
- Winter Fishing in the Ozarks
Near St Louis
Within a 2 hour drive of St. Louis anglers of all skill levels can be pleasantly surprised at the quality of fishing right in their own backyard. No need to worry about missing the Cardinals run for the pennant either, head out in the early morning and you can be sitting in Busch Stadium just in time for first pitch.
Meramec Spring Trout Park, the Meramec River, Mill Creek and Windrush Farms are just 4 options for those looking for a quick weekend fix of trout fishing. Explore a couple over a long weekend or spend a weekend getting to know one of these fine trout fisheries.
Meramec Spring Trout Park
Meramec Spring Trout Park is one of four state trout parks in Missouri, located on Highway 8 roughly halfway between Steelville and St. James. Being just a couple of hours west of St. Louis this spring creek can provide a quick fix for anglers. The park is owned by the James Foundation but the trout fishery is managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation, who stocks 170,000 10-14′ rainbows per year.
The creek is a major tributary to the Meramec River. The spring itslef is Missouri’s 5th largest pumping an average of 100 million gallons of 56 degrees of water daily down its 1 mile length where it feeds into the main branch of the Meramec River.
Meramec Spring is open daily from March 1 through October 31, there are no restrictions to tackle during this season. Opening day and summer weekends are a complete cluster, wiser anglers should wait unitl the special winter season. The winter catch-and-release season is restricted to artificial flies and opens on the 2nd Friday of November through the 2nd Sunday of February on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The Meramec River has approximately 8-9 miles of good trout water. The upper stretch, approximately 1 mile, begins at the boat access point at the Highway 8 bridge east of the trout park. The best trout waters are located from below the mouth of Meramec Spring Park downstream 7 miles to Scott’s Ford. Anglers have public access at the Highway 8 boat launch, Meramec Spring Park, Scott’s Ford, and Cardiac Hill/Suicide Hill trails in the Woodson K. Woods Wildlife Area. The river ranges between 50-100 feet wide with forested banks of oaks and sycamores. Wading is an option with chest waders but there are some deep pools, to cover more water you can rent a canoe, locally.
The Missouri Department of Conservation manages this stretch as Trophy Trout Waters, with artificials only regulations being the legal means to fool the many wily browns and spunky rainbows. The daily creel limit is 3 trout over 15′. Most of the browns and bows landed are in the 10-16 inch range, but it isn’t uncommon to hook into a couple of 20 inchers on a good day. Reports of 7-9 pounders have been spread but don’t expect to find one on the end of your line.
Timing is a big key to success on this picturesque river. The Meramec is a popular floaters river during the hot humid Missouri summers. During summer fish early mornings till about 10am, take a long lunch near an AC and return to the waters around 3pm. Spring time provides lots of fun shortly after the stocking trucks leave. Fall is the best time to fish this mighty stream, autumn colors in the trees, the browns on their annual spawning rituals, air temps in the upper 70s/low 80’s and lots of bugs on the water including mayflies and caddisflies. The big #12 White Drakes (locally known as Whiteflies) usually hatch during the evenings in September and October, dont look for any of the big boys to be rising though. This river has a healthy population of bait fish.
Mill Creek is a rarity for the state of Missouri, a cold spring fed stream teeming with wild rainbows-yes wild trout in the Show Me State. The rainbows were first stocked over a 100 years ago by the Frisco Railroad, the last stockings were 50 years ago. Several miles of public water are available, most of which lies in the Mark Twain National Forest for exact information on public and private water contact the USFS Ranger Station (573-341-7475) in nearby Rolla, MO.
This little jewel is only 5-20 feet wide and canopied with thick brush and trees, backcasting can be tricky be ready to roll cast. In stretches featuring faster water anglers can work up the middle making short little casts to the edges, underneath branches and along the undercut banks. Most of the wild rainbows are in the 6-10 inch range, a few smaller and every once in a while a bigger. On a couple of rare occasions a 20 incher has been landed. These little wild trout seem to be aggressive feeders when not spooked, eager to take a well presented dry fly.
Volunteers really do make a difference. In 1994 a 1 mile stretch of Mill Creek was acquired from a private owner and transferred to the Mark Twain National Forest. Thanks to the River Network, TU and FFF clubs of Missouri and a host of private donors for generating funding for this purchase. The main springs feeding Mill Creek are now protected from grazing, and development, helping to maintain this beautiful little wild rainbow trout fishery.
Windrush Farms is a private fishery located near St. James, MO. The farm offers superb fishing for rainbow trout in the 1.5 mile long Benton Creek, a spring fed creek canopied with oak and sycamore trees. The stream is approximately 40 feet wide. The tightly lined backs often requires anglers to wade up the middle making roll casts to the many pools and riffles that provides excellent habitat for the average 12-16′ rainbows and the occasional lunker.
Most of the rainbows are hatchery raised but there are some wild rainbows in the lower stretch of the creek. The aquatic insect life is that of a typical Missouri spring creek; heavy caddisflies, mayflies and even stoneflies. Other trout food includes crustaceans and forage fish such as minnows and sculpins. Spring and Fall provide for the best dry fly opportunities, while during the heat of summer anglers should plan on nymph or streamer tactics. The farm also features a 1.5 acre pond teemingwith healthy bluegills.
Lodging is available in two beautifully restored 1840’s log cabins. Each unit has a bath and kitchenette. Managers, Quint and Cicely Drennan are accomplished fly fishers whose wealth of knowledge on Missouri trout fishing is impeccable. They both enjoy sharing advice on how to fish Windrush and near by Meramec River. The farm opens February 1 and closes December 15, day fishing is available for a nominal fee.
Missouri Trout fishing guide services and guided trips on the North Fork River, Missouri Ozarks, at the ROLF Outfitters.
A trout park located in the Missouri Ozark Mountains.
Bennett Spring State Park information and photos
Bennett Spring is Missouri’s third-largest spring. Bennett’s spring branch is a mile and a half long, and is divided into three separate fishing zones.
Eastern Missouri smallmouth anglers are a fortunate lot.
It’s a well-known fact that many of the rivers that drain the Missouri Ozarks support trophy smallmouth bass.
Blue Spring Creek in Crawford County is spring-fed, and 5 to 20 feet wide.
Under a cooperative agreement, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Columbia Parks & Recreation, and the Mid-Missouri Chapter of Trout Unlimited will stock trout into Cosmo-Bethel Lake to create a
The Current River has both a Trophy Trout Management area and Regular Trout Management Area.
Every once in a while, you might find the only opportunity to get some fishing in is at night.
Flyfishing tips for float fishing on the North Fork River by canoe
Lake Taneycomo offers unique opportunities for the fly fisherman.
Heart of America Fly Fishers
The best advice that anyone can give someone who has not fly fished Lake Taneycomo for trout, water running heavy or not, is to get advice from those who have.
The Mid West’s Premier Rainbow Trout Fishing Lake
The dead shad floating on the surface of Lake Taneycomo confirmed what the diving gulls were telling Phil Lilley…
Maramec Spring Park information and photos
a really great website – “The Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas offer some of the finest trout fishing in the world, yet it is greatly overlooked as a fly fishing destination.”
complete Missouri hatch chart
Game & Fish brings you the latest hotspots, tactics & outdoor news, no matter where you hunt or fish.
An Angler’s Guide to an Ozark Gem
Whether you want rainbows for the table or just a good fight with a big brown, these destinations can satisfy any Show Me State trout angler
North Fork Flyfishing Tips and Tactics.
articles from visitors of Missouri
North Fork of the White, Trout for the Soul.
Big fish stories follow one after another at this popular lake 15 little lost creek
These three streams take a back seat to no others when it comes to great trout fishing
Hundreds of miles of trout water cater to anglers of all types.
Guide to fishing Bennett Spring State Park, Maramec Spring Park, Montauk State Park, and Roaring River State Park
What is Missouri’s best trophy trout stream? These selections might surprise you!
Published Monthly by the Lebanon Daily Record
Year after year, Truman Lake serves up some of the Show Me State’s most rewarding bass fishing.
A trout fishing adventure on the North Fork River
The Missouri Department of Conservation stocks four Kansas City Area Lakes and 13 lakes in the St. Louis area with trout during the winter months.
White River, Missouri and Arkansas, information for fishing White River, Missouri and Arkansas. Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
WindRush Farms Trout Stream
All round great fishing site covering southwest Missouri lakes- Tabel Rock, Taneycomo and Bull Shoals with information and lots of it. Kept very current and interesting, its fresh, honest approach has
The Ozarks abound with cold weather fly fishing opportunities and all it takes is some good, warm gear and a little information
Missouri Fly Fishing Clubs
The HFFA is an affiliate of the Federation of Fly Fishers, FFF, an international fly fishing organization
devoted to the promotion of all types of fly fishing and the protection of fly fishing water and their
Our mission is to educate people about the philosophies, ethics and history of fly fishing, and to conserve and protect the fisheries of our state.
The Kansas City Northland Fly Fishers located in Kansas City Missouri. We are members of the Federation of Fly Fishers who enojoy teaching others how to fish while enjoying it ourselves.
Ozark Fly Fishers is a St. Louis Missouri based fly fishing and conservation organization affiliated with the Federation of Fly Fishers whose primary objective is to improve fisheries and promote the
Waynesville, Missouri fly fishing club
The Southwest Missouri Fly Fishers is a local affiliate of Federation of Flyfishers
from Ozark Chronicles
from Tim’s Fly Shop
Fishing report for Bennett Spring State Park, brought to you by Weaver’s Tackle Store
A comprehensive fishing report from Chartered Waters, fishing and guiding on Lake Taneycomo and area Ozark trout fishing destinations.
from Spring Creek Outfitters
from Conservation Commission of Missouri
Ozark fly fishing guide reports
Tim Homesley has been fishing Roaring River State Park for over 30 years, and has fished an average of 300 days per year for the last 23 years.
Missouri Fly Fishing Shops
8307 Manchester Road PO Box 19904 St. Louis, MO 63144 1-888-963-0324
3801 Eminence Avenue Berkeley Missouri 63134-3539 1 877 426 2934
2626 State Hwy. 165-Branson, MO 65616 417-332-0460
Route 4, Box 4088 Cassville, Missouri 65625 417-847-4956
25976 Highway 64A LEBANON, MO 65536 t (877) 456-7243
1326 Acacia ClubRd Hollister, Mo 65672 1-417-334-1005
11388 Highway 64 Lebanon, MO 65536 417-532-4618