Did you know there are Blue Ribbon streams
in Missouri? Well, as of March 1, 2005,
there are. There are also Red Ribbon streams
and White Ribbon streams to boot. But just
what does all this patriotic designation system
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC)
came up with this designation system and a
uniform set of fishing regulations as part of
its new trout management plan (TMP).
The ultimate goals of the plan are simple:
To accomplish these goals, MDC will rely on
a number of new and/or re-ordered management
principles. According to the new TMP, MDC
will prioritize new land acquisitions that
create public access to Missouri's coldwater
fisheries. This is a long-term goal, but the
plan is solid. MDC has also launched a
renovation program for the state's aging trout
hatcheries, updating technology, expanding
capacity, and mitigating some threats. The
plan also calls for the expansion of urban
stocking programs to allow Winter trout fishing
opportunities in city parks, and for the expansion
of Youth Fishing Day programs at state-owned/operated
trout facilities. Yet another vital element of
the new TMP is a statewide 15" minimum length
limit on Brown trout, enforceable in all MO
trout waters except Lake Taneycomo, where the
limit is already 20", and in Blue Ribbon
fisheries, where the minimum length limit is 18".
- Create new opportunities for public trout fishing.
- Increase the average size of fish in Blue
and Red Ribbon designated fisheries.
- Create a designation system and attendant
regulations that make it easier for anglers to know
the rules wherever they are fishing and better protects
the fisheries resource for the future.
- Increase funding for trout management programs.
- Increase hatchery production.
- Recruit new anglers to the sport of trout fishing.
Blue Ribbon waters include larger coldwater
rivers with ample trout habitat where wild
populations of trout are self-sustaining or
are reproducing naturally and smaller coldwater
streams where self-sustaining wild trout
populations exist. Fisheries that have been
designated Blue Ribbon include: portions of
the Current River, Eleven Point River, and the
North Fork of the White River; as well as portions
of Crane Creek, Barren Fork Creek, Blue Springs
Creek, Little Piney Creek, Mill Creek, and Spring
Creek. As previously stated, there will be a one
fish per day limit with a minimum length limit of 18".
Fishing will be by artificial lure or fly only and
no gigging will be allowed.
Red Ribbon fisheries will have a 15" minimum and
a daily limit of two trout. Gigging of non-game
species will be allowed in season. Red Ribbon
waters are defined as those with good, but limited,
trout habitat where stocking of primarily Brown
trout currently takes place. However, Rainbow
trout will exist either due to natural reproduction
or nearby stocking operations. Included in this
category are: portions of the Meramec River,
North Fork of the White River, and Roubidoux Creek.
Fishing will be restricted to flies and artificial
lures only on the Meramec and Roubidoux Creek,
while natural and artificial bait will also be
allowed on the North Fork of the White due to
heavy displacement of bait anglers that would
occur there if the rules were not mitigated.
White Ribbon trout fisheries include: the
remaining coldwater fisheries of Missouri
including the trout parks with the exception
of Lake Taneycomo. Here, year-round trout
habitat exists and these waters are heavily
stocked with trout. There will be no size
limit and the daily limit will be four trout.
Non-game fish gigging will be allowed as well
as fishing with bait.
On Lake Taneycomo, nothing will change with
regard to fishing regulations except for the
reduction in daily limit from five trout to
four trout and a state trout stamp will now
be required for anyone fishing upstream of
the Highway 65 bridge. There will still be
a slot limit in place for the first three miles
of Lake Taneycomo and a lake-wide minimum 20"
and one fish limit on Brown trout.
If you're planning a trip to Missouri to fish
for trout be sure to check the new regulations,
even if you've been fishing a trout stream in
Missouri for years. These are widespread and
sweeping rules changes and new designations.
Be sure you know the rules on your favorite
fishing hole. Hopefully these changes will
produce positive results just like the 1996
introduction of the slot limit on Lake Taneycomo's
Trophy Management Zone has and we will all catch
more and bigger trout in the near future.
For a detailed overview of the new Trout Management
Plan for Missouri, log onto:
Trout Management Plan for Missouri
...or read the summary justification brief at:
Summary justification brief. ~ Ken (Silver Mallard)
Ken graduated from Southern Methodist University
in 1988, and spent the next several years serving
in the United States Navy as an intelligence analyst
and Russian Language translator. He is a veteran
of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Leaving the
nation's service in 1993.
Ken is also a published outdoor writer and historian,
having penned articles and stories that have appeared
in several national hunting publications like North
American Hunter magazine, on GunMuse.com, in regional
and local newspapers, and historical and literary
journals. He has also provided hunting and dog
training seminars for Bass Pro Shops and other
sporting goods retailers nationwide. He volunteers
his time to Ducks Unlimited and Trout Unlimited,
as well as several local charitable organizations.
He is also a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker in
Branson, Missouri; where he lives with his wife,
Wilma, and their Weimaraner, Smoky Joe.