Rivers & Streams
Missouri has a wealth of trout waters, including blue, white and red ribbon streams. The Missouri Conservation Department manages over 120 miles of spring-fed, coldwater streams. Blue ribbon streams feature naturally producing rainbow and brown trout.
There are nine Blue Ribbon trout waters in Missouri. While the Blue Ribbon waters vary in size and quality of fishing, they all have one thing in common. Every Blue Ribbon water in the state is home to reproducing wild rainbow trout. The smaller creeks generally are not stocked, relying on nature to keep the trout population strong. The larger rivers, however, may also receive intermittent stockings and offer a better opportunity for trophy trout. At one time, some of the small wild creeks were strictly catch and release only. However, you are now permitted to keep one trout daily of at least 18″ in length on all Blue Ribbon waters.
Blue Ribbon Streams: Barren Fork Creek, Blue Springs Creek, Crane Creek, Current River, Eleven Point River, Little Piney Creek, Mill Creek, North Fork of the White River and Spring Creek.
White Ribbon trout waters are generally thought of by many trout fishermen as classic “put-and-take” fishing areas. In other words, the Missouri Department of Conservation puts the fish in the water, and the fishermen come and take the fish back out. The Missouri Department of Conversation as been trying for years to develop these areas into year-round fisheries. White Ribbon waters are usually stocked 10 or 11 times per year.
White Ribbon waters consist of portions of the following trout streams: Capp’s Creek, Current River, Eleven Point River, Hickory Creek, Little Piney Creek, Niangua River, Roaring River, Roubidoux Creek and Stone Mill Spring.
The Red Ribbon areas—Meramec River, North Fork of the White River, and Roubidoux Creek—are terrific for several reasons. For one thing, you will generally have plenty of elbowroom. Also, most fishermen who are serious enough about trout fishing to seek out these remote locations are also generally catch-and-release enthusiasts, which helps maintain the size of the trout population. And, because these fish are long-term residents, you will be challenged to catch them on their terms. The challenge is multiplied, because they are also not stocked at the rate that White Ribbon waters are stocked. Brown trout are stocked once or twice each year. Rainbow trout found in the Red Ribbon areas are present due to migrating from other areas.
Request a free Missouri Trout Fishing Map, an easy-to-carry guide for all trout fishing areas featuring regulations and access points. Write to MDC, Missouri Trout Fishing Map, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102; or email [email protected].
Ask local shops or guide: good caddis hatches and black and yellow stoneflies, numerous mayflies: BWO’s, tricos, whiteflies