By Clint Dalbom
March first this year started out at a chilly 26 degrees at 6:30 a.m. for the trout opener.
But that did not stop the hearty local trout fisher people from venturing out and enjoying the first day of 2021 that they could catch and keep the rainbow trout caught from Hickory Creek.
I did notice not as many anglers were wading in the stream this March 1st as there were last year.
The fishing started slowly in the morning but as the day wore on and the temperatures climbed, the fishing activity picked up… as did the fish biting.
The largest crowd fishing along Hickory Creek was about 30 minutes before sunset. I heard many people say that was the biggest crowd they had ever seen fishing this creek.
Friends Of The Park were on hand to offer hot dogs and hamburgers for hungry anglers. The Neosho Parks Department crew had the park in top-notch condition, with extra trash barrels and most of the restrooms open for the season opener.
The trout are stocked by the Missouri Department of Conservation through a Community Assistant Program (CAP) that was recently re-approved by the Neosho City Council that will allow this agreement to be in place for another 25 years.
This CAP agreement also requires the Neosho Parks Department to maintain the stream in our park in a fishable condition and to remove any non-native invasive plants that become established along the stream.
Many of you have probably noticed the work that has been done this past year to remove much tree of heaven, bush honeysuckle, Japanese honeysuckle, winter creeper and many other plant species.
This effort has been done to prevent the spread of these non-native plant species and to maintain Morse Park in a fishable condition.
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Any type of bait is legal here. You cannot keep more than four trout per day. As soon as you put your fourth trout on the stringer, you are done trout fishing.
I recommend a medium action, five-and-a-half-foot rod with an open-faced spinning reel with no more than four-pound test line.