The Missouri Department of Conservation is joining with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and The James Foundation to offer the annual Kids Free Fishing Days for youth up to age 15 at Missouri’s four trout parks. I encourage parents and their children to attend the event, which offers free fishing and other fun activities for kids on Saturday, May 14, at Meramec Spring Park. Located on Highway 8 about six miles east of St. James, Meramec Spring Park is owned and operated by The James Foundation. The park will open at 5:30 a.m. with fishing from 6:30 a.m. until 8:15 p.m.
There will be free parking for cars having kids ages 15 and under. Kids who want to fish must pick up a free fishing tag at the Mill Field Shelter, located next to the fishing area. Tag pickup will be available the Friday before the event and all day Saturday.
The entire upper half of the spring branch will be reserved for children ages 15 years and younger. Rainbow trout will be stocked throughout the day. Volunteers and MDC staff will be on hand to assist kids with fishing. Fishing demonstrations and advice will also be available along the stream. Only a limited number of loaner fishing poles will be available, so kids are encouraged to bring their own poles and equipment.
A casting contest with prizes will be held at 11 a.m. Free hotdogs and soda will be provided courtesy of Phelps County Bank, St. James Sports Club, and the St. James Chamber of Commerce. Drawings for other prizes will be held throughout the day and will include fishing rods and reels, other fishing equipment, and more.
Exhibits, games, and activities will be offered from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. around the registration tent, including fishing themed t-shirts, critter stamping, a scavenger hunt, free tree seedlings, first-fish photographs, instructions on fish cleaning and cooking, and more.
For more information, call MDC’s Meramec Hatchery at 573-265-7801.
In addition, don’t forget about the department’s annual Free Fishing Days. The event is June 11 and 12 this year. During Free Fishing Days, anyone may fish in the Show-Me State without having to buy a fishing permit, trout permit or trout park daily tag. Normal regulations remain in effect and special permits may still be required at some county, city or private fishing areas.
As always, I encourage my constituents to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or suggestions by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, visit www.senate.mo.gov/brown. Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.