What kind of crowd will hit Maramec Spring Park on Monday for the opening of Missouri’s trout season?


Who knows?


That about sums its up heading into this year’s opener.


“I have no idea,” said Danny Marshall, regional manager and vice-president of The James Foundation, which operates Maramec Spring Park, located just outside of St. James. “No one really does. Last year we had 1,700 on a Sunday opener with snow on the ground. Monday openers are generally low. I’ve heard expectations of around 1,300 to 1,400.”


Four trout parks around the state will ring in the opening of the 2010 season on Monday. Maramec Spring is the only privately-owned park. The other three are state parks -- Montauk, nearly Salem; Bennett Spring, near Lebanon, and Roaring River, near Cassville.


What kind of crowd will hit Maramec Spring Park on Monday for the opening of Missouri’s trout season?

Who knows?

That about sums its up heading into this year’s opener.

“I have no idea,” said Danny Marshall, regional manager and vice-president of The James Foundation, which operates Maramec Spring Park, located just outside of St. James. “No one really does. Last year we had 1,700 on a Sunday opener with snow on the ground. Monday openers are generally low. I’ve heard expectations of around 1,300 to 1,400.”

Four trout parks around the state will ring in the opening of the 2010 season on Monday. Maramec Spring is the only privately-owned park. The other three are state parks -- Montauk, nearly Salem; Bennett Spring, near Lebanon, and Roaring River, near Cassville.

The conservation department estimates a total of 8,000 anglers will attend this year’s trout opener in the four parks.

The Missouri Department of Conservation operates trout hatcheries at all four and have stocked lunkers at all four locations for Monday’s opener. In all, around 24,000 trout have been stocked.

The park at Maramec Spring will open at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, with fishing running from 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

As usual, anglers will be treated to free coffee and doughnuts by the St. James Chamber of Commerce. The chamber will also award prizes for the first fish of the season caught as well as the largest lunkers and largest stringers in male, female and children divisions. In addition some of the trout have plastic tags which can be used for purchases at Maramec’s Company Store. Also, Maramec’s Pick and Shovel Cafe will be open from 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

According to Marshall the Missouri Department of Conservation have weighted several tree stumps in the lower end of the spring branch at Maramec Spring, to give more habitat for the trout.
In addition, Monday visitors will find the reception building at Maramec Spring remodeled. “I think people will find it more open, especially in the main reception area,” Marshall said.

A new fish-cleaning station has been added at Montauk. At Bennett Spring a new production building and major raceway renovations have been added at the hatchery and at Roaring River there is a new feed storage building and office renovation.

Entry fee at Maramec Spring is $5 daily, or $35 for an annual pass. Fishing license is required as well as yearly fishing permit for persons age 17-64. A trout tag is also required.

Permits costs $12 and is available at sporting goods stores. For persons age 65 and older all that is required is a trout tag. Tags are available at the park for $2 for youth and $3 for adults.