Maramec Spring Park

 

Driving directions: Six miles southeast of St. James on Highway 8.

Annual Prospects Report

Driving Directions:

 6 miles SE of Saint James on Highway 8

Maramec Spring Park is unique in that it is the only trout park that is not a state park. The James Foundation administers the park while the Missouri Department of Conservation administers the trout fishery. The area reserved for trout fishing (the spring branch) entails approximately 0.7 miles and has no separate fishing zones. Rainbow trout are stocked throughout the spring branch daily during the regular season which runs from March 1st to October 31st. Excellent fishing experiences can be expected throughout the regular season this year. During the fall spawn, anglers can expect larger rainbows and brown trout in the spring branch that have come up from the Meramec River. Trout fishing tutorials, guides to help you catch more trout, are available at the Conservation office. Any lunker (a trout 18 inches or longer) caught and then released will qualify for a lunker release patch. The "I Released a Lunker" program has been revitalized and now incorporates a "Grand Slam" patch. If you catch and release a lunker in all four trout parks you qualify for the slam patch. Both types of patches may be obtained from the Conservation office near the entrance of the park.

The winter catch-and-release season is open seven days a week. It will begin on the second Friday in November and end the second Sunday in February. The hours permitted for fishing are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. No species of fish may be possessed in the winter catch-and-release area. The Meramec River Red Ribbon Trout Area, which runs from the Missouri Highway 8 bridge to Scotts Ford, may be accessed through the park year-round.

Each year, Maramec Spring Park holds special events throughout the season. It all begins with the March 1st opener. Anglers can look forward to a heavily stocked spring branch with some lunkers thrown in to spice things up. Free coffee and doughnuts to start your morning are provided by the Saint James Chamber of Commerce and the Trout Fraternity. Each opener is something special and a memorable fishing experience. Kids Fishing Day at Maramec Spring is on May 16th; kids 15 years of age and younger can fish for free and no parking fee will be assessed for cars with kids inside. The entire upper half of the spring branch is reserved for kids and stocked with rainbow trout throughout the day. Games, activities, free hot dogs and soda, prizes and memories are just a few examples of what is in store for the youngsters during this event. The park will open at 5:30 a.m. with fishing starting at 6:30 a.m. and continuing until 5:00 p.m. Most activities and contests will run between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you are looking for the "can't miss" event of the summer, then Kids Fishing Day is your destination. Free fishing days are June 6th and 7th. No tags or permits are needed on these days. Veteran’s Free Fishing Day is on June 13th and the trout tag fees are waived for this event.  Ladies' Free Fishing Day takes place September 12th.  Women of all ages are welcome and trout tag fees are waived for this event.  Derby Day, October 31st, is our last big event of the year and your chance to catch a big one.  Free coffee, chili, and plenty of lunkers will be stocked as our way of saying thank you for a great trout season.

Starting in 2020, MDC will begin a pilot program at Maramec Spring Park only where the daily limit will be raised from four to five trout and the cost of a daily trout tag for adults will go from $3 to $5 and from $2 to $3 for anglers 15 years of age and younger. MDC has received public comments requesting the daily-limit return to five trout. Prior to 2004, the daily limit at the four parks was five fish measuring an average of about 10.5 inches. Today, the limit is four fish averaging about 12.5 inches. As a part of the Maramec Spring Pilot, the Department will maintain the current stocking size and daily stocking allotment. The possession limit will remain twice the statewide daily limit, except at Maramec Spring where the possession limit will be ten.

Maramec Spring Park

Region

Trout Parks

Information

573-265-7801
Handicap Accessible Handicap Accessible

Best Bets

From annual prospecting surveys

Due to the record number of flood events (six total) in spring, rainbow trout growth-rates at Department’s Montauk Hatchery near Licking have slowed during the late spring and early summer. Reduced growth rates are a response to the warmer, more turbid water conditions associated with flooding. As a result, anglers will notice a small and temporary reduction in the length of fish stocked at Montauk State Park and at Maramec Trout Park near St. James. With improving conditions, the size of fish stocked should return to normal lengths during August. Thanks to recent hatchery improvements and the hard work and dedication of staff at Montauk, the impacts to anglers will be minimal and short term.

The Conservation Department stocks trout in each of the trout parks every evening from the day before the March 1 opener through Oct. 30. Tag sale estimates determine a daily stocking rate average of 2.25 fish per expected angler. Except on opening day, three fish are stocked for every expected angler. From March 1 to Oct. 31, the parks will collectively sell more than 400,000 tags and stock more than 900,000 fish. These fish will average about 12 inches long over the season, but some variation occurs. Dozens of lunkers weighing upwards of 3 pounds are stocked each year. A few tip the scales at more than 10 pounds.