Beginning Friday, Nov. 11, anglers may fish for trout at Roaring River State Park during the annual catch and release season.
Fishing will be allowed along the "tag area" of the stream from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The no-creel season will end Feb. 12, 2006. Jerry Dean, the park's hatchery manager, defines the tag area as upstream from the old dam.
Dean said the catch and release season typically draws about 3,500 anglers to the park during its three-month span. He said the park does not require daily tags for no-creel fishing so an actual count of fishermen is not kept.
Those who want to fish Roaring River during the catch-and-release season must have a Missouri Fishing Permit as well as a $7 Trout Permit.
This season, the park will not be selling the permits, but Dean said area vendors will have them available.
"Normally, the hatchery has sold the permits, but because of all the construction, the hatchery is basically closed," Dean said. "You can still purchase the permits from vendors with the Tim's Fly Shop being the closest vendor to the park."
Dean said fishing permits could also be purchased by telephone at 1-800-392-4115 or on-line at www.wildlifelicense.com.
Anglers should expect to land some big fish, especially near the beginning of the season.
"We've already stocked the stream with 240 lunkers for catch and release, so it should be exciting," Dean said.
Under state fishing regulations, trout must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.
According to state park officials, releasing fish "immediately" means anglers should not stop to take photos or weigh their fish. These delays increase stress on fish and decrease their chance of survival.
Some of the tips offered for successfully releasing trout include bending down barbs on hooks, landing fish as quickly as possible and keeping them in the water while removing hooks from their mouths.
Experienced catch-and-release anglers also know it is better to cut their line than to chance injuring fish while removing deeply embedded hooks. Flesh around hooks left in place eventually dies back, permitting the hooks to fall out.
The slippery mucous that makes trout so hard to hold also protects the fish from parasites and infections. To avoid disturbing this protective covering, anglers are advised to wet their hands before grasping fish.
The best place to grasp a fish is across the back of the head. Anglers should never put their fingers in the gills or eye sockets and holding fish upside down reduces struggling.
Lures used during the no-creel season must meet the Conservation Department's definition of an artificial fly. This is defined as an artificial lure constructed on a single-point hook using any material except soft plastic, natural or scented bait that is tied, glued or otherwise permanently attached to the hook.