10/18/19 Prospect Report: Current River (upper)

Associated Area

With camping, trout fishing, and canoeing, the 19 miles of Current River from Montauk State Park to Akers Ferry in Dent and Shannon counties has it all. There are two designated trout management areas below Montauk Trout Park that offer opportunities to experience some of Missouri's most productive trout waters. Blue Ribbon Trout Area; the 9-mile stretch between the lower boundary of Montauk State Park and Cedargrove Access is managed for large brown trout. On this stretch of river, only one trout may be kept and it must be at least 18 inches long. Lures in the Blue Ribbon area are restricted to artificial lures and flies only. Check "A Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations" for definitions of these types of tackle. These special regulations provide for some excellent catch-and-release fishing and the possibility of harvesting a trophy. Brown trout are stocked each spring, and take about two to three years to reach the legal size limit for harvest. In spring of 2019, 8,000 brown trout averaging nine inches long were stocked within the Blue Ribbon Trout Area. After catching these fish, you may see a clipped fin, this is a method to keep track of stocking success as these brown trout grow in the river. In the fall of 2019, we sampled two sites of the river between TanVat and Parker accesses to study the trout populations. The brown trout population remains high with 277 brown trout per mile in the upper reach and 228 brown trout per mile in the lower reach. Survival of the fish stocked in May of 2019 was lower but high survival of the 2018 stocked brown trout simply equals great fishing. When breaking down size ranges, 31 percent of the total brown trout were larger than 15 inches and 12 percent of all brown trout were larger than 18 inches in this section of river. Several brown trout captured were over 20 inches in total length and the largest brown trout captured in this sample was over 25 inches long, weighing 8.3 pounds.

Anglers focusing on rainbow trout will have the greatest success in the 2-mile stretch between Montauk State Park and Baptist Access, as densities decrease dramatically below Baptist Access. Rainbow trout are not stocked in this 9-mile section; however, they do move downstream out of the trout park. While most rainbow trout fall within the 11-15-inch size range, some can reach trophy lengths in the reaches just below Montauk. The White Ribbon Trout Area (7.7 miles from the Cedargrove Bridge to Akers Ferry Accesses) is managed with rainbow trout on a put-and-take basis. This section has no minimum length limit, a four fish per day creel limit and no bait restrictions. Rainbows (10-12 inches) are stocked once a month all year, except from March through June when fish are stocked twice a month (total of 8,000 rainbow trout annually). During the months of July and August, and when river levels are low, trout stocking is limited to the cooler section from Welch Spring downstream to Akers Ferry. Fishing in the White Ribbon Area is less crowded than in the trout park and the stream can be easily waded or floated in a canoe.