Thursday, January 31, 2013

Trout Fishing on Missouri’s Current River

By David and Paul Mann

Part Two In Missouri Trout Fishing Series - Part One

Current River Trout Fishing

Montauk State Park Fishing

Missouri Trout Fishing

Ozarks Hatch Charts 

Missouri has a nice surprise for those unfamiliar with either the beauty of Missouri’s Ozarks or the regionally outstanding trout fishing.  One of the several places where this all comes together to create something truly magic is the Current River.

The Current River starts like rivers in few places do: from its outset it flows from the confines of Montauk State Park near Licking and Salem with strength. It emanates from the first of many springs which give it life and the cold water necessary to sustain its brown trout and rainbow trout populations.  While most of the trout that inhabit this stream are stockers, some from the hatchery at Montauk State Park where the river begins, and some from Shepherd of the Hills near Taneycomo, there are a small number of wild trout.  

Learning to fish this stream requires first a short description of the sections of trout water available.
As mentioned, the stream begins in Montauk State Park and also hosts one of Missouri’s entertaining trout parks.  In the park a hatchery supplies rainbow trout while browns are brought in smaller numbers from Shepherd of the Hills.  The park is a really fun place to spend some time and a great place to learn a few things about trout fishing.  We will come back later to specifics on fishing the park section.

The moment you pass the cable overhanging the river designating the end of Montauk, you enter into the Blue Ribbon trout section of the Current River.  This section continues down to the Cedar Grove Access/Low-water Bridge/Campground.  All together, the Blue Ribbon portion of the Current River trout fishing is a bit les than ten miles.

From Cedar Grove to Akers Ferry, the regulations change to White Ribbon rules.  This stretch of water is approximately nine miles.
Each of these three sections has different regulations, but also requires slightly different tactics for the fly or spin fisherman.  We will spend the balance of our time discussing tactics to get you catching fish on any of them.

Trout Park – Montauk State Park


Fishing Montauk State Trout Park is a great place to get started in the sport and in some really beautiful country, albeit in a setting with plenty of company.  The park is stocked during the Catch-and-keep season daily based on the number of fishermen that have bought trout park tags.  The catch-and-keep season runs from March 1st through October 31st as is the case in all of Missouri’s trout parks.  The park is closed for a short period and the rest of the year is catch-and-release.  The winter catch-and-release season can be a great time to visit as crowds are greatly diminished.

There are three basic areas with three sets of regulations at the park.  There is a fly-fishing only area that is designated catch-and-release only all year round.  The second zone is fly-fishing only but subject to a four fish limit (any combination of rainbows and browns – no size restrictions).  The third section is open to any legal fishing methods, including bait fishing.  In this park, fly fishing also can include spin fishing but using single hook spinners and other artificial baits that do not include soft plastics or scented presentations.  Please review the regulations through the park when you buy your tag to make sure you are abiding by park rules.  Conservation officers are present at all times when fishing is permitted.

Fly fishermen have much success nymphing under an indicator on 6x monofilament or fluorocarbon leader.  Popular presentations include prince nymphs, pheasant tails, copper johns, egg patterns, scud patterns, and san juans (please be aware we know some of these are not in fact technically in the nymph category – but are fished in a similar fashion under an indicator and we are thus lumping them together).  The princes, pheasant tails, coppers, and scuds can be fished effectively in #16-18 sizes.  The woolies work nicely in the sizes of #8-#10 and should be beaded. The egg patterns should also be beaded.  If you had to pick two flies try orange egg patterns and olive woolies.  All of these patterns are available at the park store for a reasonable price.

If you want to go with dries, during the winter afternoons you can usually find a few fish rising to blue winged olives and midges.  Summer months usually find fisherman having success fishing tricos and caddis patterns.  Don’t hesitate during these times to use royal wullfs and coachman attractors.  Terrestrials such as ant patterns and hoppers can be a nice option during the warm months as well.

Spin fishermen typically use marabou jigs in the fly area.  You will occasionally observe fly fisherman throwing these as well.

Bait fishing is extremely effective in the bait area.  There are many commercially prepared baits available, with perhaps the Berkeley Power Baits being most popular.  The park store carries some other options that work very well.  Additionally, corn, and homemade prepared baits work very well.  Worms will even work.  The “Social Hole” at Montauk has become locally famous.  If you are not the type to turn up your nose at bait fishing, you can really have some fun meeting some interesting folks here.

Blue Ribbon Section to Cedar Grove Access

The fishing (and the atmosphere) changes dramatically in the mileage below Montauk State Park. While the Montauk water is stocked once a day with trout during the regular season, the eight mile Blue Ribbon stretch from the Montauk lower boundary to Cedar Grove is only stocked once a year with the notoriously wily brown trout (which supplement the rainbows that make their way down from the park.) This has two effects, one positive, and one negative; the positive being that it reduces the number of anglers greatly, the negative being that there are obviously a lot less fish, and the ones that are there are more difficult to catch. That said, trout remain incredibly plentiful; indeed, only compared to the insane numbers of trout which roam the park waters would the population seem slight.

Caddis
The factors that really affect the fishing in this stretch have little to do with fish numbers. Still, nearly every cast will have your fly seen by a trout or two. The two most important differences are the bait restrictions and the more wild nature of the trout. Because this is a Blue Ribbon (otherwise known as ‘trophy trout’) section, the minimum length limit is high and only artificial lures and flies are allowed. This means the dough bait and worms which are so effective aren’t going to be an option. That’s okay though, because this section is best suited to fly fisherman anyway (though this is not to say that plenty of spin-fisherman don’t have success.) 

The quick, rocky riffles and deep pools are an inviting place for the fly angler. It seems that backcasting room abounds, and the nature of the current usually allows for easy drifts. Hatches occur almost daily, from the tricos of early summer mornings to the midge and blue-winged olive hatches on warm winter afternoons. This of course means that a healthy number of trout can be taken on dry flies just about the year-round. But don’t overlook nymphs and streamers; or more specifically, don’t overlook the egg pattern. Small egg patterns (or glo-bugs) account for a huge percentage of the trout taken here. I don’t know why supposedly selective resident trout are gullible to such ‘uncivilized’ fare, but they are, and why ask questions if a fly works? That said, a fair number of fly anglers can’t make themselves use egg patterns, and that’s okay too. Pheasant tail nymphs, Hare’s Ears, and even woolly buggers work quite well most of the time. A decent number of people do spin-fish here too, and small (1/32 ounce) spinners are usually great. The same is true with marabou jigs of the same weight.

The best two accesses to the Blue Ribbon stretch are at Tan Vat and Baptist Camp, each just down the road from Montauk Park. You’ll find a fair number of anglers around these accesses, but at least outside of the summer months, a short walk will get you to open, unfished water. Tan Vat tends to be a bit more crowded due to its (slightly) closer proximity to Montauk State Park.

Cedar Grove to Akers Ferry

The White Ribbon stretch (from Cedar Grove on down to Akers Ferry) doesn’t get a whole lot of press, and in some ways there is a reason for that. It’s stocked more often than the Blue Ribbon section, but unrestrictive regulations largely make up for that. The quantity of trout is just fine, but there aren’t a whole lot of lunkers here. Bait is allowed, and this is a great section to try Powerbait, worms, and even small minnows. The float from Cedar Grove to Akers Ferry is a bit long, but takes you through some awesome trout water, especially if you like to bait fish (and keep trout.) This is a wonderful place to catch some trout and eat them for a shore lunch with next to no regrets. These stocked rainbows allow for that.

The Current is a wonderful trout stream that takes many characters through its long stretch of trout water. From the crowded but trout-filled Montauk State Park, to the wild blue ribbon section, this is one of the true must-fish streams in Missouri. In our opinion, it’s the best trout stream in Missouri, although that can certainly be argued. But the ambience of this wild river mixed with the excellent trout fishing is always going to be tough to beat.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Missouri Trout Fishing has a lot to Offer


I grew up in Alaska and spent much time on the western slope of Colorado.  I have had the good fortune to take budget trips to some of the greatest trout waters in the East and West.  So I will not try to make the case that someone with the means to make a trip to one of these great destinations should cancel their trip and instead fish Missouri.  What I will do is get you excited about some truly terrific trout fishing that can be had in the Show-Me-State; at least by Midwestern standards.

One of the really cool things about fishing Missouri is the diversity of options.  There are classic freestone rivers of the western style, small babbling streams with small but wild trout, and at least one great option for lake fishing if that’s your style.  To top it off, Missouri hosts “trout parks” which as long as you do not mind a good measure of social interaction with fellow fishermen, you can stock up on stocked browns and/or rainbows with a limit every time.  If you want to put some trout on the table, these parks are the way to go. 
The purpose of this blog is to highlight some of the options available to the Missouri resident trout fisherman, or the fisherman making a visit.  It is not a comprehensive list of all the waters with detailed descriptions of each.  Next week, I will provide some tips on tactics for fishing these waters.  For highly detailed descriptions of nearly all Missouri trout fishing options, along with basic and more advanced tactics, visit the Family Outdoors Missouri Trout Fishing Section.

Freestone Rivers of Missouri

Believe it or not, and you probably won’t if you have never fished any of these waters, Missouri has some outstanding and cold crystal clear waters that might make you forget for a moment that you are not in Colorado or some other Western state.  The unique geography of Missouri has water erupting from massive springs after having spent long enough in the earth’s depths to arise crystal clear and cold (mid 50’s F).  This water has allowed for many miles of Missouri’s rivers fitting this description to be stocked with rainbows and browns, and in some sections to sustain what are now wild or mostly wild populations. Some of my purist friends do turn their noses up at our trout as being “unnatural” since they are stocked, or at least were at one time.  I find these fish to be game and in many cases, especially the wild fish, to be as beautiful as any I have observed.

Current River
The freestone stream on which we have spent the most time is the locally famous, at times infamous, Current River.  This stream has a partially deserved reputation as a party destination.  However, if one is at least moderately cognizant of the section of the river they will fish as well as the season, the Current can offer a terrific experience.  It begins at Montauk State Park near Salem and Licking Missouri.  There is a system of springs at Montauk that initiate the cold-water flow of the river, and is thus a great spot for a fish hatchery and one of Missouri’s trout parks. 

We will return to the trout parks later, but for now, the fisherman should understand that the first few miles of the river is in the Montauk Trout Park and stocked heavily with rainbows as well as a lesser number of browns.  It is also subject to the rules of the park in this section.

Below Montauk, the Current is a blue ribbon trout stream under Missouri Department of Conservation Regulations, which essentially means you are fishing catch-and-release, though you will occasionally pick up a fish, usually a brown that meets the 18 inch minimum.  Most fishermen will photograph their trophies if lucky enough to catch one, and then release them only to be remembered by the photograph, or perhaps a replica mount.

Current River
Below Montauk in the blue ribbon section, there are a couple of popular accesses, those being Tan Vat and Baptist Camp.  Tan Vat can be busy, and so can Baptist, but it seems like at Baptist fishermen do a better job spreading out along the river.  In all of this water, there is a nice mix of riffles which tend to produce more but smaller fish with deeper holes which produce larger and fewer fish.  Most of the nicer browns I have caught in this area were in these deep holes.  Do not confuse the deep holes with the slow rather stagnant sections.  The deep holes are downstream from riffles and often butt up against bluffs which plunge the water depth quickly to greater than ten feet. 

Downstream from the blue ribbon section is a white ribbon section with more liberal rules with regard to methods ande the fish you can keep.  These sections are stocked and I guess one can keep fish with a more clear conscience if that is his or her desire.  This section is equally beautiful, and is best accessed by canoe or kayak.

If you plan a visit to the Current, I suggest that you plan around the crowds of floaters.  From the park down to Baptist Camp, you will not encounter many of them, but if you fish downstream from here on a weekend in the summer, prepare for lots of company.  You are better off avoiding summer weekends if you can.  Fall and spring are in fact great times to fish the Current, with many days in the winter also being enjoyable times to be on the water.

For more information on the Current River, visit Family Outdoors Current River Trout Fishing.  You will find comprehensive answers to most of not all the questions you might have.

Eleven Point River's Greer Branch
The second river I will mention here is the Eleven Point.  It runs through some absolutely wild country, and has a fair number of wild rainbows resident to its waters.  If you wish to have more water all to yourself, this is a great option.  A nice place to start is at Greer Crossing.  There is very little in the way of access to the river except from on it, so this really is a canoe or kayaking river.  There are some potentially challenging spots on this stream for the novice if running the stream by canoe.  This sort of depends on river levels.

Without getting into too much detail, the Eleven Point differs from the Current in the respect that most of the fishing is streamer fishing and fairly deep.  There are some times where dries are effective, but the Eleven Point really is not the river for the dry fly purist. For more detail, visit Eleven Point Trout Fishing.

Small Stream Missouri Trout Fishing

With the internet, there are few secrets regarding places to fish.  Nevertheless, undoubtedly there are some who would rather there be no mention of these little trout fishing streams.  Several of them host wild rainbow populations and rarely produce fish that are larger than ten inches.  Unfortunately, despite almost all of these streams being confined to explicit fly only regulations, you will often find evidence of bait having been used leaving one to conclude that these fishermen were keeping the fish they caught.  These streams simply will not stand up to catch-and-keep fishing.

Having said all of that, perhaps the best protection for these little streams such as the Little Piney and Blue Springs Creek is the presence of ethical anglers willing to report transgressions of the necessary regulations.  This rationale, along with the simple reality that all of this information is in some form available anyway, will be my response to any who criticize me letting the cat out of the bag on these streams. 

Little Piney Creek
Vidas Slab
Little Piney is in fact my favorite place to fly fish in Missouri.  There is a blue ribbon and white ribbon section on the stream, with handy access right off of US 63 at Lane Springs just south of Rolla.  The section at Lane is in the blue ribbon section.  The white ribbon section is a bit more difficult to navigate to, but if you want the details on finding it, visit the Little Piney Creek Trout Fishing section of Family-Outdoors. 

There are numerous other of these beautiful little streams spread from down in the Springfield area all the way across the southern half of Missouri.

Trout Parks

Maramec Springs Trout Park in the Winter
Four trout parks are operated in Missouri by the Missouri Department of Conservation.  Many Missouri trout anglers ritualize the start of the Missouri trout park season as the start of spring.  On these first few days, the MDC releases some real lunkers, some topping ten pounds.  These first few days are combat fishing at its peak, and thus not really an attractive option for me even though they do offer some real chances for big fish.

There are a variety of options of regulations at these parks.  To the best of my knowledge, what they all have in common is a daily limit of four fish, and a great chance of filling that limit early in the day.  The parks are usually segregated as to the methods allowed in various sections.  Some sections allow bait fishing and some do not.  All offer some handicapped accessible areas.

These parks can be a lot of fun if you are in the right frame of mind.  They are also great introductions to the sport of trout fishing, whether you are a spin or fly fisherman.  Find specifics on the trout parks beginning at Missouri Trout Parks.

Lake Taneycomo

Lake Tanycomo
Here is a lake that has held and might in the future hold again record sized brown trout.  Fishing Taneycomo is a radical departure from the experience and methodology of trout fishing in the freestone streams, small streams, or even the trout parks of Missouri.

Taneycomo is stocked with over a half million rainbows every year, making the action up and down its twenty-two mile stretch pretty darn hot.  There are however some interesting tactics and baits that are used which we will discuss next week, or you can read about now at Taneycomo Trout Fishing.

So, despite Missouri not being blessed with a Madison, Frying Pan, Kenai, or Ausable River, it does have some pretty nice options for the trout angler.  Missouri is at the very least a great place to cut your teeth trout fishing, whether that be fly fishing or not.  Next week, we will get into some specifics on tactics including baits, lures, and flies, but much more.

What are some of your favorite Missouri trout fishing experiences?


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Archery deer, turkey harvests up from last year


Scarce acorns helped deer hunters, while Missouri’s turkey flock
continues to rebound from several years of poor nesting success.
JEFFERSON CITY–Bowhunters posted increases in both deer and turkey harvests during Missouri’s 2012-2013 archery deer and turkey hunting season, topping the previous year’s figures for the second year in a row.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports that hunters checked 53,997 deer during the four-month archery season. That is a 2.5-percent increase from the previous year, which was a record. Archers checked 3,217 turkeys, a 10-percent increase from the previous year.
Top archery deer-harvest counties were Jefferson with 1,211 deer checked, St. Louis with 1,098, and Camden with 1,062. Top archery turkey-harvest counties were Jefferson with 95 turkeys checked, Laclede with 79, and Greene with 76.
Adding the archery harvest to the number of deer taken during the six portions of firearms deer season brings Missouri’s 2012-2013 deer harvest to 311,304, up 6.8 percent from the previous year. The total 2012-2013 turkey harvest, including the youth and regular spring seasons, the fall firearms season, and the archery season, is 56,511.
Permit sales also increased. MDC issued 202,421 archery deer and turkey hunting permits for the 2012-2013 season, 4.9 percent more than the previous year.
MDC Resource Scientist Jason Sumners says the continued growth of bowhunting’s popularity is partly responsible for the strong archery harvest, but weather also played an important role.
“With more people taking up bowhunting each year, you would expect to see a corresponding growth in the number of deer taken,” says Sumners. “This year hunters also got a boost from weather events that reduced the availability of acorns. Deer rely heavily on acorns for fall food, and when that food item is scarce they have to move around more to meet their nutritional needs. That makes them more visible to hunters.”
According to Sumners, acorn availability is a greater factor in determining hunter success in the southern half of the state, where forest land dominates the landscape. So he was not surprised to learn that the 2012-2013 deer harvest increased by approximately 22 percent in the Ozark and Southeast regions. He says deer numbers in southern Missouri have grown steadily over the past decade. Also, acorns were abundant in the previous two hunting seasons, keeping the deer harvest fairly modest. This combination was bound to produce a substantial deer harvest.
In contrast, deer numbers have been declining slowly in northern Missouri, leading to a decrease of approximately 6 percent in the Kansas City, Northeast, and Northwest regions. Reduced deer numbers in many parts of north Missouri is a result of increased harvest pressure on does that has resulted from liberalization of antlerless harvest opportunities and, in the Kansas City Region, a reduction in buck harvest as a result of the antler-point restriction. 
Hunters in the Central and Southwest regions checked approximately 12 percent more deer, and St. Louis Region hunters checked approximately 18 percent more deer than they did in 2011-2012. These trends reflect slowly increasing deer numbers on average in these areas.
“Deer numbers vary from county to county in those regions,” says Sumners. “The causes of those variations include varying levels of harvest pressure on does, an outbreak of hemorrhagic disease in 2007 and, in southwest Missouri, reduced availability of antlerless permits.”
Before the 2012-2013 hunting season, Sumners predicted that the statewide deer harvest totals would not be affected significantly by the increased incidence of hemorrhagic disease that accompanied last year’s drought. That turned out to be correct.
“We know that to varying degrees, hemorrhagic mortality affected deer populations across much of Missouri,” says Sumners, “but it is still too early to tell if the decrease in harvest in some areas is the direct result of disease or a combination of recent trends of declining deer numbers as a result of a deliberate effort to reduce deer numbers in much of northern Missouri by harvesting more does. In many parts of central, northern, and western Missouri it is no longer necessary to continue high doe harvest to reduce or stabilize deer numbers.”
Sumners says MDC will consider reducing the availability of antlerless-deer permits where deer numbers seem to be near or below target levels. However, he notes that hunters and landowners also must take an active role in decisions about how many does to shoot.
“Restricting doe harvest can help when deer numbers are down in big areas,” says Sumners, “but it takes a valuable tool away from Missourians who want to manage deer populations locally. We have reached a point in Missouri’s history where hunters and landowners must begin to work together to make localized harvest decisions based on local deer populations. However, in some areas regulation changes may be necessary to curb undesirable declines in deer numbers. ”
MDC Resource Scientist Jason Isabelle notes that the 2012-2013 archery turkey harvest was up more than 20 percent from the previous five-year average and was second only to the 2009-2010 harvest of 3,298.
“The increase in the archery turkey harvest is largely a reflection of the improved hatches we’ve had the past couple years,” says Isabelle, “in addition to the increase in the number of archery hunters.”
Isabelle says regional harvest totals were 542 in the southwest, 511 in central Missouri, 425 in the Southeast, 418 in the Ozarks, 383 in the St. Louis area, 319 in the northwest, 318 in the northeast, and 301 in the Kansas City area.
MDC recorded 10 firearms-related deer-hunting incidents during the 2012-2013 hunting season. Three were fatal.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

White-Nose Syndrome confirmed in bat at Onondaga Cave


Onondaga Cave State Park’s cave will remain open for tour season; disease has not been found to infect humans

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 41-005   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 25, 2013

Little brown bat with visible fungus from Onondaga Cave
ittle brown bat with visible fungus collected at Onondaga Cave
Photo credit: MDC/Shelly Colatskie
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri State Parks has received confirmation that a bat found in the entrance of Onondaga Cave at Onondaga Cave State Park in Crawford County has tested positive with white-nose syndrome. WNS spreads mainly through bat-to-bat contact and has not been found to infect people, pets or livestock but is harmful or lethal to hibernating bats. The fungus that causes WNS may be inadvertently carried between caves by humans through clothing and equipment.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov confirmed the bat had the disease described as a white fungus, or Geomyces destructans, which is typically found on the faces and wings of infected bats.
Education is an important aspect of the overall effort to manage WNS and part of the state park system mission. In 2010, Missouri State Parks staff began educating and screening visitors before each cave tour to help minimize risks to bats. While WNS is mainly transmitted bat to bat, scientists believe that the fungus can be carried on clothing, footwear and caving gear, therefore, staff will require visitors to wear only clothing and bring equipment that has not been in another cave before. In addition, staff took action to protect the bats from disturbance while hibernating in caves and adjusted the touring season to avoid disturbing the bats in fall and spring when they are gathering for, or preparing to leave, hibernation.
Missouri State Parks has a dual responsibility of preserving nature while providing opportunities for people to enjoy our state parks. Nearly 20,000 people visit Onondaga Cave every year. Staff will continue to provide information and require additional measures for visitors to follow both before and after a cave tour when the cave opens for the tour season to help reduce the risk of cave-to-cave transmission of the fungus.  
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has indicated that WNS has killed at least 5.5 million cave-dwelling bats since the disease was first detected in New York in 2006. Signs of the disease have spread to 21 states and the disease has been confirmed in 19 states and four Canadian provinces. Signs of the disease were first discovered in Missouri in 2010. Today, signs of the disease or the fungus have been confirmed in 15 bats from caves in Pike, Shannon, Lincoln, Perry, Washington and now Crawford counties.
More information on WNS is available at www.whitenosesyndrome.org. For more information on Missouri State Parks and Onondaga Cave State Park, visit the Web at mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Latest CWD testing shows one deer positive for disease

Map of Missouri highlighting Macon County


atest positive brings total to six found in free-ranging deer, all from northwest Macon County.

JEFFERSON CITY Mo – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports that one deer recently harvested by hunters in north-central Missouri has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which is fatal to deer. The adult buck was harvested in northwest Macon County, where five previous cases of CWD have been found since early 2012.

This latest finding is a result of MDC collecting a total of 1,665 tissue samples for CWD testing from hunter-harvested deer in a six-county “CWD Containment Zone.” The sampling effort took place in Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph and Sullivan counties during the past fall archery and firearms deer seasons. The sampling effort was part of MDC’s targeted CWD testing and containment efforts in the area.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dent County man honored as MDC Conservation Agent of the Year


Congratulations to Dent County Conservation Agent Jason Midyett!
Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

Written by Candice Davis, MDC

DENT COUNTY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announced today (Jan. 18) that Dent County Conservation Agent Jason Midyett has been named the Department’s 2012 Conservation Agent of the Year.

“Agent Midyett was selected based upon his resource law enforcement, an effective balance of program responsibilities, job knowledge, work habits, creativity, initiative, teamwork and cooperation with other Department employees,” said MDC Protection Regional Supervisor for the Ozark Region Gary Cravens. “His interaction with the public, partnerships developed with other county, state, and federal agencies, and his dedication overall earned this honor.”

Midyett began his career with MDC in 2000 as a Fisheries resource assistant at Bennett Springs. He attended the Department's conservation agent training program in 2005. After successfully completing 26 weeks of intensive training, he was assigned to Barry County. He transferred to Phelps County in 2009 and moved to Dent County in 2011.

Cravens said Midyett has developed a tremendous program of resource law enforcement and public relations.

“He concentrates his efforts in Dent County, but also devotes considerable time working in other areas of the state. Agent Midyett is a dedicated professional who exemplifies the very best attributes of all areas of responsibility required of the position of conservation agent,” Cravens said. “His knowledge, work ethic, and dedication to the agency are unsurpassed.”

Agent Midyett grew up in Dent County before attending college at the University of Missouri - Columbia and earning his bachelor's degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology in 1998. He currently resides in Salem with his two sons, Wilman and Oliver.

For information on careers in conservation, go online to mdc.mo.gov.