RRSP is ready for 2,300 anglers
Roaring River State Park staff members are preparing to welcome around 2,300 anglers on Opening Day, which is Friday. A total of 7,000 trout, including 100 lunkers weighing at least three pounds each, will be added to the stream prior to March 1.
"The most exciting thing we are doing in preparation for Opening Day is repairing the stream," said Paul Spurgeon, hatchery manager. "We are still recovering from the 2011 flood. This year, we were able to build back the baffles and refill the holes.
"The entire river has been touched up," continued Spurgeon. "Anglers should not have to deal with a lot of the low water holes and areas full of moss that they did last year. Hole #2 has been completely gutted and it is deep now. The drought this year killed us. We will still have some repairs to make next winter."
Volunteer Ron Moffet has been selected to receive the first tag of the 2013 season. Moffet will also fire the pistol on March 1 to mark the start of the 2013 catch-and-keep season.
"Ron has been volunteering for the Missouri Department of Conservation at Roaring River State Park since 1985 and was present at some of the very first Kids Fishing Days," said Spurgeon. "Ron is very involved in kids fishing programs and works with children, not only at Kids Fishing Day, but during fishing clinics at Roaring River throughout the year.
"He is active in teaching children how to clean and cook fish as well," continued Spurgeon. "He donates fishing equipment and volunteers many hours keeping Missouri Department of Conservation loaner poles in operating condition all season long."
Representatives Jeff Justus and Scott Fitzpatrick, Congressman Billy Long, Missouri Department of Conservation Field Chief Brian Canaday and Deputy Director Tim Ripperger will attend the Opening Day celebration.
"Be prepared for crowds on Opening Day," said Spurgeon. "Also, the water will probably be a little off-color and on the high side so anglers might want to plan to use heavier line this year."
Anglers can begin purchasing their trout tags at noon on Thursday, Feb. 28. 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.
According to Dusty Reid, park superintendent, all of the motel rooms and cabins are reserved for the opening of the catch-and-keep-season.
"Opening Day is about enjoying the event and enjoying the company of friends and family," said Reid. "While it is always fun getting your line wet and reeling in some nice fish, people should expect crowded river banks and hope for some nice weather."
Current forecasts predict cloudy skies with highs in the mid 30s on Opening Day. Anglers will likely be greeted by frigid temperatures on Friday.
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. Coffee will be brewed under the Les Jacobs Ford Tent, which will be located across from the CCC Lodge.
This year, coffee cups are sponsored by: Arvest Bank; the Cassville Democrat; Country Dodge Ram Chrysler Jeep; Freedom Bank; Les Jacobs Ford; MariCorp U.S.; Mercy Clinic of Cassville; MO Parks, Inc.; Rebel Recycling; Roaring River Resort; Rock Village Court and RV Park; Security Bank of Southwest Missouri; Subway; TH Rogers; and Tim's Fly Shop. The coffee was donated by Walmart.
Coffee will be served until the starting gun is fired from the gazebo, located on the south side of the Roaring River stream near the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Lodge at 6:30 a.m.
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 winners of the men's women's and youth divisions. The youth division is for kids who are 12 and under. Prizes will be presented at noon.
Around 2,000 fish are stocked in the Roaring River stream during the winter catch-and-release season. With the additional 7,000 trout, the combined number of fish will give each angler visiting the park an improved opportunity to catch fish on Opening Day.