March 1 rarely feels like “spring” in the Midwest. But in Missouri, the opening of the trout parks is a welcome end to winter. These parks offer clear flowing spring water, easily catchable fish, and camping, trails, and other facilities to make the trip enjoyable for fishers and non-fishers alike.
Yes, the parks can be crowded on the March 1 opening day. Avoid that day. The rest of March is wide open. It would be hard to point to a better March option for a trout fisher and difficult to find a better place for a beginning fisher to learn.
Roaring River near Cassville, Missouri is my favorite trout park. Last year they completed an almost $2 million project to improve water management and hatchery operations. Their stone lodge, which was built in the 1930s, was a renovated a few years earlier.
Some of Roaring River is wadable, and all of it is suitable for fly casting, with some trees to watch for. Roaring River, like the other trout parks, is an ideal place to work on rusty casting, managing fly drift in current, and getting better at detecting strikes.
It is also a perfect place to see, hear and smell clean flowing water. To walk by a stream lined with sycamores and oaks. To build a campfire.
Missouri is fortunate to have the large, clean springs that feed its trout parks and many of its streams and rivers. Herons love them.