Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fishing Missouri Conservation Areas

Missouri conservation areas offer some of the best fishing in the state as well as access to good fishing.  Many people think of conservation areas as great places to hunt, which is true enough and a subject of our next blogs on CA's, but it is just an incomplete picture.

When I think about the conservation areas near to where we live in Warren County, two of the three offer some pretty darn good fishing, and it seems that this feature is often overlooked.  So, with a very little bit of research, you might find some outstanding opportunities you'd not considered.

A lake in Busch Memorial
Conservation Area
One conservation area that does get a ton of use in the STL region, is Busch Memorial Conservation Area.  I love this area because there is a little something there for anyone.  There is a ton of panfishing that can be fast and furious which is awesome for initiating kids into fishing.  During the winter, some of the lakes are stocked with trout.  There are so many species that can be caught out at Busch you could probably catch a different gamefish species everyday for a whole month. You can even rent fishing equipment and a small boat to go out on one of the dozens of lakes/ponds in the area.

It's pretty likely that if you are an avid Missouri fisherperson, you have looked up fishing on various bodies of water around the state and researched how to fish them.  That is awesome, and I do the same thing.

First results of web search for Hariison County, Missouri Fishing.  
But if you want to find some new places, try searching for fishing options in a geographical area, and almost certainly conservation areas will be featured prominently.  As a case-in-point, I searched for fishing in a county where I have probably done some deer hunting, but for sure had never fished.  The top two results are in the graphic to the left.

So when you get the results, for conservation areas (which are not always labeled as conservation Harrison Lake), often, there will be a "Fishing Reports" page for one or more of the areas in the county, and there will be pages for each of the conservation areas.  Both are helpful.

List of fish species available in area from MDC site.
Note also the camping and canoeing listing.
The individual conservation area pages list species and activities available in that CA (see right).  You can decide, based on what is there, whether or not you want to fish the area. You can also decide what gear and tackle to bring with you.  Many of these fishing spots - not all - are hidden gems that do not get much attention.  That is a good thing to know for a fisherman looking for a new spot. In most, if not all, Missouri counties, you will be able to locate such gems.

Sometimes, a conservation area is just an access to a body of water, such as river access points.  Often these are places to launch a boat or canoe, but they also can make very good fishing spots.  Rivers like the Missouri and Osage, just to name a couple, are dotted with MDC access.

There certainly are MDC areas that are without fishing opportunities, or where they are limited, so do your research before going. But if you are looking for someplace to fish, or just somewhere new, give MDC conservation areas a try. You will be glad you did!