Missouri’s governor is expected to join a few thousand others Friday morning, braving frigid temperatures for the start of catch-and-keep trout fishing season.
Governor Mike Parson will be at Bennett Spring State Park near southwest Missouri’s Lebanon, for Friday morning’s 6:30 opening ceremony at the old hatchery building. Parson spokeswoman Kelli Jones tells Missourinet the governor plans to fish on Friday.
The sprawling Bennett Spring State Park is operated by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which notes more than 100 million gallons of clear, cool water gush from the spring each day to form a branch stocked daily with rainbow trout.
Friday is also the opening day at Roaring River State Park near southwest Missouri’s Cassville and Montauk State Park near southern Missouri’s Salem. You can purchase trout tags at state park concession stores.
DNR says that in 2018, more than 4,600 adult and youth tags were sold at the three state parks on opening day.
A couple who operated a popular tackle shop near Bennett Spring State Park for years will be activating the siren there on Friday morning. Ben Havens at Bennett Spring State Park Hatchery tells Missourinet Lebanon affiliate KBNN that Ed and Kay Elersic have been part of the culture there for decades.
“They helped run the Springview fly shop down at the head of the spring inside the park,” Havens tells KBNN.
Ed Elersic is also a longtime volunteer firefighter in Laclede County. Havens says many young people learned about fishing from the couple.
“I’ve heard many stories about how Kay would mentor and help young kids along the stream and give them the secret, you know, trout advice in their ear and and maybe a fly to try,” says Havens.
DNR says the park campgrounds, lodging units and restaurants at Bennett Spring, Roaring Rivers and Montauk are all expected to be busy Friday. DNR spokeswoman Amy Poos tells Missourinet that with opening day being on a Friday, they expect many anglers to make this a three-day weekend.
Hotels, restaurants and gas stations near the trout parks are also expected to see an increase in business.
The season ends on October 31.