WAYNESVILLE – At last spring has arrived and for Midwest anglers, increasingly warmer weather signifies the beginning of a new season of trout fishing.
Today marks the opening of the 2013 yearly trout season and Roubidoux Creek in downtown Waynesville, the lone urban stream in Missouri, will draw both locals and tourists for the duration of the period.
Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman said, "The city is proud to have the only urban trout stream in the state."
Laura Huffman, the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau's social media director said, "Parts of the Roubidoux [Creek] are hidden gems that a lot of people aren't really aware of; the best part is that they are right in city limits."
Just north of Highway 17 in Waynesville is Roubidoux Creek Conservation Area. Owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation, the area waters are stocked multiple times each season and make for quality honey holes.
There are both red and white-ribbon trout areas located within Waynesville city limits. The Missouri Department of Conservation regulates lure and fish length limits more strictly than in white ribbon areas, but offer higher quality fishing.
Just south of Historic Route 66 and along the Roubidoux in Waynesville is Laughlin Park, which can also make for a quality trout fishing spot for anglers of all ages. The area even offers access points for the handicapped.
Rather than the abundance of several trout species, the Roubidoux Creek and Gasconade River also offers populations of bass, catfish, sunfish and suckerfish, which can also be caught year round.
"Recently, the Roubidoux was listed in the top ten best streams in the state," Hardman said.
But perhaps the greatest asset of Pulaski County's trout streams, according to Huffman, is breathing room. Other trout streams such as Bennett Spring and Meramec Spring Parks are often overcrowded with overzealous anglers.
"If you go to Bennett Spring, you're going to be elbow-to-elbow with everybody else," Huffman said. "Our areas do draw people, but they aren't as crowded."
Benefits of trout fishing aren't limited to individuals. Waynesville and St. Robert also draw economic reward from local and traveling anglers.
"When the Conservation department drops trout and the fishing season is open, there is always someone fishing in Laughlin Park and many wading down the Roubidoux along Highway 17," Hardman said.
Both Laughlin Park and the Roubidoux Creek Conservation Area are considered trout areas and are open to year-round fishing. Licenses can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Grumpy's or online at mdc.mo.gov/fishing.
Fishing and hunting regulations are also listed on the Missouri Department of Conservation website and copies of the regulations can be picked up at the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau offices on St. Robert Boulevard behind the Marriott hotel.