I took a mini vacation a few weeks ago and camped at the North Fork Recreation Area (locally known as Hammond Camp) in the Mark Twain National Forest near Dora, Mo.

Besides spending some time trout fishing, I also wanted to hike the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness Area. As I began setting up my camper one of the first things I noticed was the “Bear Country” sign listing the don’ts while camping in the area.Bear Country:Devils Backbone Wilderness

I spent a day trapping bear in this part of the state about a year ago with Jeff Beringer, resource scientist with the Missouri Conservation Department. We trapped and studied two bears that day, a smaller male and a large female.

For me, that was pretty cool and perhaps one of my best days spent in the woods. The “Bear Country” sign at the campgrounds brought back some good memories.

Once I had the camper set up and everything where I wanted it, I jumped back in the truck and headed for the Patrick Bridge river access. I thought I would wade and fish the river below the bridge.

There are several places to fish for trout in Missouri, each with specific rules for fishing. The stretch of river below Patrick Bridge is a Red Ribbon Trout Area — length limit at least 15 inches with a daily limit of two trout.

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