The 2018 trout season should be another good one with daily stockings of rainbow trout at Bennett Spring State Park from March 1 through October 31. There are three fishing zones within Bennett Spring State Park. Zone 1 runs from the Hatchery Dam upstream to the spring area. Only flies are permitted in Zone 1. Zone 2 runs from the hatchery dam downstream to the Whistle Bridge. Only flies and artificial lures are permitted in Zone 2. Zone 3 runs from the Whistle Bridge downstream to the confluence of the Niangua River. Only soft plastic bait (unscented) and natural and scented bait are permitted in Zone 3. All flies and artificial lures are prohibited in Zone 3, even if natural bait or scent has been added.
Each year the park hosts special events that encourage angling as a family activity and provide novice anglers the opportunity to experience trout fishing. Kids Free Fishing Day takes place on the first Saturday in May. For 2018, the event will be held on Saturday, May 5th. This is a great opportunity for the whole family to come out and spend the day fishing at the trout park. All children age 15 and under fish for free during this annual event. There will be a special kids only fishing area to ensure that they have a successful trip. This area will extend from the hatchery outlet in Zone 2 to the first riffle past the Suzy Hole in Zone 3. This area will be marked with signs and will be patrolled to make sure that children are the only anglers fishing there. Children need to observe the zone regulations, length limits for brown trout, and daily limits. There will be streamside volunteers to assist participants with knot tying, lure selection, and fishing advice. There will be several activities for the children and food will be provided for all participants. All anglers must abide by normal fishing hours for May, which are 6:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. Anglers also have the opportunity to fish during the Statewide Free Fishing Days which are held in June on the first Saturday and Sunday following the first Monday. In 2018, this will be June 9 and 10. On these two days, no daily tag or fishing license is required to fish in the park. More great fishing events happening at Bennett Spring in 2018 include Veteran's Fishing Day held on April 21 and also Girl's Free Fishing day held on Saturday, September 29. Contact the hatchery for more information about these events.
Anglers also have the opportunity to catch and release trout during the winter fishing season. Trout will be stocked periodically throughout the winter catch-and-release season. Bennett Spring Trout Park is open for catch-and-release fishing only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from the second Friday in November thru the second Monday in February. For 2018, fishing will start on November 9 and end on February 11, 2019. During catch-and-release season, only flies may be used and all fish must be released unharmed immediately.