Normal has never looked so good to the managers of Missouri’s trout parks.
It has been a very abnormal winter at popular fishing spots such as Bennett Spring and Roaring River. Flooding tore through those parks after heavy rain in late December, depositing large amounts of gravel, debris and root wads into the streams and cutting away at banks.
That has translated into a busy winter for workers with the state departments of Conservation and Natural Resources. Though their work isn’t done yet, they can finally sigh a breath of relief.
When the trout season opens Tuesday at Missouri’s four trout parks — Bennett Spring, Roaring River, Montauk and Maramec Spring — things will be back to normal.
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“Hundreds of loads of gravel have been removed from the stream,” said Paul Spurgeon, hatchery manager at Roaring River, near Cassville. “The banks and baffles have been repaired, and things are looking good for the opener.
“The average fisherman won’t notice a change.”
The avid fishermen? Well, he or she might discover some new holes or cover such as boulders or root wads in the stream.
“For some of our regulars, they’ll probably discover some new places to fish that weren’t there before,” Spurgeon said.
The same is true at Bennett Spring near Lebanon, which also experienced heavy flooding. The area received 10 to 13 inches of rain on Dec. 26 and 27, and the water in the trout stream rose eight feet above normal.
“A lot of sand and gravel moved around and … some root wads and other debris washed into the stream,” said Ben Havens, hatchery manager at Bennett Spring. “We have some new boulder clusters and other places where the stream has changed.
“We’re telling fishermen to use caution when wading. There might be some holes in places where there weren’t before.
“But we’re looking for a great opener. We’ve done a lot of work, and things are pretty much back to normal.”
No fish were lost in the hatcheries at the trout parks, and stocking schedules will remain the same.
The season at each of the trout parks will open at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Kansas Wildlife Federation event
Collin O’Mara, the CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, will be the keynote speaker when the Kansas Wildlife Federation has its annual convention and awards banquet Saturday.
The event, which will be at Hotel at Old Town in Wichita, will feature talks throughout the day. Registration will open at 8 a.m. The social hour will begin at 5 p.m., with dinner and O’Mara’s talk to follow.
Tickets will cost $25 at the door for the meeting session and $40 for the Conservation Achievement Banquet.
For more information, go to the website kswildlife.org.
Overland Park show
Displays of recreational vehicles, boats and travel destinations will be featured when the Overland Park RV and Outdoor Show takes place Friday through Sunday.
Matt Snook, a country singer who was seen on “The Voice” television show, will perform and greet fans throughout the day Saturday. A display of trophy deer racks, a booth manned by “Mushroom King” Tom Weipert, and seminars by Tom Bruno, a former Royals pitcher who now guides in South Dakota, also will be feratured.
Hours are 1 to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets will cost $9 for adults, $4 for children ages 11 to 16. Children 10 and younger will be admitted free.
Waterfowl meetings coming up
If you want to voice your opinion on the framework of Missouri waterfowl seasons, here’s your chance.
The Missouri Department of Conservation will hold three public workshops in the Kansas City area to get hunter input on duck-season dates and zone boundaries for the 2017 to 2020 seasons.
▪ March 3 in Nevada at the Nevada Community Center, 200 N. Ash Road.
▪ March 8 in Harrisonville at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, 2501 W. Mechanic, Suite 100.
▪ March 9 in Blue Springs at the Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center, 1401 N.W. Park Road.
All meetings will be from 7 to 9 p.m.
Parkville group sets dinner
The Parkville Gobblers Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will have its annual banquet and raffle March 4 at the Parkville Athletic Center, 6014 N. Missouri 9, Parkville.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. Tickets, which include dinner and a membership in the National Wild Turkey Federation, are $55 per person or $75 for couples. Contact Darren Buehler at 816-746-9867 for more information.