Flooding forces hatchery trout into southwest Missouri river

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(SPRINGFIELD, Mo., AP) — Recent flooding in southwest Missouri has been a boon for anglers because it forced trout out of a large hatchery pool and into publicly accessible areas of a popular trout stream.

Flooding closed the Roaring River State Park in Barry County for two days earlier this month after heavy storms. Roaring River trout hatchery manager Paul Spurgeon said when the flood hit, some of the big trout at the hatchery pool, which is off limits to anglers, were washed into the river, where fishing is permitted, The Springfield News-Leader reported (http://sgfnow.co/1D5pDWR).
Spurgeon said none of the trout in the hatchery pens were lost, but those lost from the pool were likely pushed downriver and out of the Roaring River State Park, where special trout fishing regulations are in place.
“A lot of them end up downstream and people will start catching them,” Spurgeon said. “The locals know about it, and they were down here fishing a couple days after the flood. All told, there were several thousand trout, I think, that washed into the river, though we didn’t lose any fish from our hatchery pens.”
Roaring River is where the largest rainbow trout known to have been caught in Missouri — an 18-pound, 1-ounce fish — was fished in 2004.
Hatcheries at Bennett Spring State Park also had to deal with high water, but didn’t fare so well, said Mike Mitchell, the park’s hatchery manager.
He said June floods raised stream levels 20 inches the first day and 5 feet the next day. Floodwater didn’t reach the concrete hatchery ponds so no fish were washed out, but debris plugged up some screens leading to one tank, causing the oxygen level in the water to plummet, killing about 4,000 of the hatchery’s roughly 630,000 trout, Mitchell said.
Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com.