Governor to take part in opening day
In addition to hosting around 2,000 anglers on March 1, the Roaring River State Park staff will welcome Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday. Nixon, who will receive the first trout tag of the 2012 season, has also volunteered to shoot the gun during opening day festivities.
"Opening day of trout season in Missouri is a time-honored tradition that brings out thousands of anglers from across the state and the Midwest, no matter what the weather is like," said Nixon. "I'm looking forward to being with them on Thursday, as we enjoy Missouri's great outdoors and try to reel in a trout to talk about for years to come."
Nixon, who is an avid fly fisherman, plans to take part in opening day fishing at Roaring River after shooting the starter's pistol at 6:30 a.m. His wife, First Lady Georganne Nixon, will join him at Roaring River.
Missouri Director of Natural Resources Sara Parker Pauley, Missouri State Parks Director Bill Bryan and Director of Conservation Bob Ziehmer will also attend the opening day celebration.
In preparation for the large crowd of anglers who will gather at Roaring River on Thursday, the hatchery staff has stocked around 6,000 trout in the Roaring River stream. A total of 100 lunkers, or trout weighing over three pounds, have also been added to the fishing waters.
"The stream is looking good," said Paul Spurgeon, Roaring River Hatchery manager. "The water is not too clear. It has a shade to it, which makes for very good trout fishing.
"The water level is normal, and we have finished up with the gravel removal and bank restoration work," said Spurgeon. "The stream is 90 percent what it was before the flood hit last year. The conditions will be really good for fishing on March 1."
Anglers can begin purchasing their trout tags today (Wednesday). The Roaring River Park Store, which is located at the intersection of Highways 112 and F, will be open throughout the night to give visitors an opportunity to purchase their tags before the morning rush.
"All of the motel rooms and cabins are booked or reserved," said Dusty Reid, park superintendent. "We expect a large crowd. Even though lodging in the park is booked, there are still a lot of quality options outside the park. A list of those facilities can be obtained from the local chamber."
Although warm weather is expected for Thursday, there will likely be a chill in the air during the early morning hours. To ward off the cold, Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce volunteers will once again offer complimentary coffee and coffee mugs on the banks of the Roaring River Stream beginning at 5 a.m. on Thursday morning.
This year, coffee cups are sponsored by: Cappy Harris Realtors; Fastrip; Freedom Bank; Heritage Medical; Hutchens Construction; Les Jacobs Ford; MariCorp U.S.; Missouri State Parks, Inc.; Oak Hill Court; Roaring River Resort; Runnels Chiropractic; Security Bank of Southwest Missouri; Tim's Fly Shop; and Tractor Supply Company.
Coffee will be served until the starting gun is fired. Nixon will be shooting the opening pistol from the gazebo located on the south side of the Roaring River stream near the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Lodge this year.
Anglers who catch big fish are encouraged to weigh the trout in at the Cassville Chamber of Commerce's weigh station, which will be located on the lower level of the CCC Lodge.
The chamber will present Cassville Cash prize money to the man and woman who land the largest fish and a trophy to the youth who reels in the largest trout. Awards and prizes will be presented at noon.
"Those who plan to take part in opening day should remember to allow time to purchase their tags, park and get to the stream," said Spurgeon. "It will be very congested on March 1."
Around 2,000 fish are stocked in the Roaring River stream during the winter catch-and-release season. With the additional 6,000 trout, the combined number of fish will give each angler visiting the park an opportunity to catch at least three fish on opening day.