By David Knopf/Richmond News
Ray County fishing enthusiasts don’t have to go South Central Missouri to try their luck with rainbow trout.
Thanks to a program, sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation, ample trout are available for the catching as close as the Fountain Bluff Sports Complex in Liberty. The complex, one of four area lakes stocked with 1,000 trout apiece Feb. 13, is on Old Highway 210, about a half-hour drive from Richmond.
MDC has stocked several area lakes the past 15 years or so, said Bob Mattucks, a Fisheries Management Biologist with the department’s Kansas City Regional Office. Fountain Bluff has been part of the program for three years.
The department’s Urban Fishing program also stocks trout several times a winter at Chaumiere Lake, a Kansas City Parks Department lake off Interstate 35 in the Northland, and in two lakes at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area in Lee’s Summit. The program draws fishing enthusiasts from a wide geographical area, Mattucks said.
“We attract them from a long ways away,” said Mattucks, who’s overseen the Kansas City-area program since it started. “I know we get them in Jackson County from Cass County. We regularly get them from two to three counties away.”
Bill Graham, an MDC media specialist, said the trout are delivered by truck from the department’s fish hatcheries in Bennett Springs, near Lebanon in South Central Missouri. They’re generally around 12 inches long.
“They’re a good keeper, pan-size trout,” Graham said.
Some anglers like to fish for the sport only, Graham said, catching the trout and throwing them back. Others enjoy both the sport and a good meal that’s out of the ordinary – without a trip to a different part of the state.