RRSP tag sales down slightly on March 1

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Democrat Photo/Murray Bishoff Banks still packed Although Roaring River State Park drew fewer anglers than expected on Opening Day those who turned out for the start of the catch-and-keep season enjoyed spending time on the banks of the stream with friends and family. Over 1,600 trout tags were sold for Opening Day this year, including 1,328 adult tags and 281 youth tags.

Cooler temperatures locally and recent winter weather that impacted most of the Midwest likely kept some anglers away from Roaring River State Park on Friday. Although tag sale numbers were slightly lower than expected, Roaring River attracted over 1,600 anglers on March 1.

"Opening Day was a great event," said Dusty Reid, park superintendent. "The water levels were good. The weather was nice, and there were lots of happy anglers fishing all day long. It was great to see so many families out enjoying the day together."

Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce volunteers distributed nearly 100 gallons of hot coffee to over 750 Roaring River visitors on opening morning. Brewmasters Darrin Jacobs and Jeremy Marple began brewing coffee at 4 a.m. last Friday. Complimentary coffee mugs were distributed until the starter pistol was fired at 6:30 a.m.

"Our chamber volunteers are fantastic," said Mindi Artherton, chamber executive director. "I am impressed that we had over 30 people in our community that were willing to serve coffee in below freezing temperatures. I sincerely believe our volunteers are the best, and I think it is appreciated by our Opening Day guests."

Roaring River Kids Fishing Day volunteer Ron Moffet had the honor of firing the starter pistol to kick off the start of the 2013 catch-and-keep season. Moffet fired all nine shots in the pistol from the gazebo located near the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Lodge. He also received Roaring River's first 2013 adult trout tag.

Anglers wasted no time pulling fish from the frigid waters of the Roaring River stream. Local residents like Wyatt, Jozi and Haydn Stehlik, of Cassville, reeled in their limit within the first few minutes of the 2013 season.

Dylan Klewer, of Cassville, took a break with his family at the Roaring River Inn mid morning on Friday. Klewer, who said he had been fishing at Roaring River for over seven years, had hopes of reeling in a lunker, which is a fish that is at least three pounds, when he returned to the river after breakfast.

"Opening Day is a great time to spend time with the kids," Ron Nelson said as he and his children, Trevor and Lindsey, all of Exeter, stopped at the Roaring River Store to restock their tackle boxes with lures.

The Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce awarded Cassville Cash to Jeff Greer, of Joplin, who landed the biggest fish of the day and took home the top prize in the men's division. Greer's trout weighed in at 5.76 pounds.

Cassville Cash was also awarded to Debra Hall, of Olathe, Kan., who won the women's division with a 2.86-pound fish, and Gavin Upchurch, of Cassville, who won the youth division with a 3.94-pound lunker.

Each division winner received a $50 prize. Lunker trout award pins were presented to all anglers who reeled in trout that weighed over three pounds.

"It was a great way to kick off the 2013 season," said Reid. "Everything went extremely smooth and the weather was great. I think the fact northern Missouri still had a lot of snow kept some of our guests from up north from joining us.

"The Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce did a great job promoting the event," continued Reid. "The coffee and coffee mugs were very popular and the lunker contest was a huge success."

In addition to attracting 1,609 anglers on Friday, Roaring River State Park enjoyed a successful opening weekend. The park sold 745 adult and 156 youth tags on Saturday and 565 adult and 168 youth tags on Sunday.

"It's going to be a great year for all Missouri State Parks and especially those that offer trout fishing," said Reid. "We are celebrating 2013 as Troutapalooza - the year of the trout. We will be hosting various events and classes at all of the trout parks during the 2013 season."

Events will include monthly learn to fish clinics, weekly drawings, tournaments, coloring contests, casting competitions, a trout park passport program and other special programs and activities.

Community members can find the latest information at Facebook.com/Troutapalooza.

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