Down by the river

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Jeff Morey, an angler from Joplin, throws out a few casts on June 3 at Roaring River State Park. Free Fishing Weekend will be held at the state park this coming Friday and Saturday. Democrat Photo/Joshua Boley

Roaring River State Park will be participating in the Missouri Department of Conservation's annual free fishing weekend June 8-9. Fishing hours for the weekend are 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

According to Paul Spurgeon, hatchery manager for Roaring River Hatchery, the free weekend allows individuals to fish without fishing permits or daily tags for trout. A fishing license is regularly $12 and daily tags costing $3 each. Not only is the event being observed ar Roaring River but statewide.

"You can just go fishing," Spurgeon said.

Jeff Morey, a fisherman from Joplin, said he was not aware of the free fishing weekend, however Jim Mcrae, of O'Fallon, knew about the event.

"I am going to take my granddaughter next weekend up in O'Fallon," Mcrae said.

Spurgeon said that preparation for the event is not difficult. He expects 600 people per day during the free fishing weekend; however, the hatchery staff stocks the river for 1,000 fishermen.

"There is plenty of fish in the stream," Spurgeon said.

Spurgeon said the recent rain may help bring people to the park as local rivers and lakes are up.

While the free fishing weekend does not require a permit or daily tag; standard rules and limits still apply, Spurgeon said.

"Free fishing is an incentive for people who have never fished before to draw those in, and it's also for our regular fisherman. It's kind of a thank you and come back and fish for free that day," Spurgeon said.

For more information on the free fishing weekend or fishing at Roaring River, call the hatchery at 417-847-2430 or visit the Missouri Department of Conservation at

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