Numerous state parks and other recreation areas surround the city of Farmington for locals and visitors to drive to, relax, and enjoy the scenic views of the Ozark mountains. Along with fishing, Farmington's recreation areas offer opportunities for hiking, camping, and off-roading. Fishing can be a therapeutic pastime to help you unwind, and after a long winter, spring fishing can help renew your spirit. Consider planning a day or weekend trip to any of these places below for some spring fishing near Farmington, Missouri.
Castlewood State Park
Castlewood State Park features a wide variety of fish, including bass, bluegill, channel catfish, flathead catfish, carp, crappie, drum, gar, long ear sunfish, and walleye fishes. You can access river fishing areas by following the park's hiking and mountain biking trails. The Al Foster, River Scene, and Stinging Nettle trails lead you to locations along the Meramec River where you can cast lines to catch fish in deep holes, root wads, rocky areas, and other places where fish can hide. Throughout the park's day-use areas, you can rest at picnic tables and use on-site charcoal grills.
Giessing Lake, in Farmington's Engler Park, spans 3 acres and receives regular fish stock of black bass, catfish, sunfish, and trout throughout the winter. As the lake gets stocked, fishers are restricted to catch and release activities for the park's trout. This restriction lifts in the beginning of February and those with trout fishing permits can keep up to four of their caught trout. While boats are prohibited in the lake, there are several designated fishing spots where you can set up, sit back, and relax.
Meramec State Park
At Meramec State Park, you can fish in the Meramec River for black bass, catfish, or panfish. You can bring a canoe or motorboat to the park's designated launch areas, which don't require any launch fees. Within the park grounds, you can also find rental equipment, such as canoes, which you can take out onto the water for your fishing activities. If you plan to fish on a weekend, it's recommended that you reserve a rental canoe in advance to ensure its availability for your trip plans.
Montauk State Park
Montauk State Park is located at the headwaters of the Current River, providing opportunities for fishers to catch rainbow trout and brown trout. This park requires anglers to carry daily trout tags for all of their fishing locations designated for different styles of fishing, including catch and release, fly-fishing, or fishing with artificial lures and natural bait. The park grounds allow possession of trout from March through October and feature trout cleaning stations as a convenient amenity for permitted visitors. Montauk State Park also has a dining lodge, rental cabins, and motel rooms.
St. Francois State Park
At St. Francois State Park, you can fish for smallmouth bass and catfish in an area of the Big River that stretches over 3 miles within the park grounds. This part of the river is shallow and allows visitors to float around or paddle canoes out in the water, but motorized boats are not recommended. Throughout the riverfront, there are several canoe launch points where you can access the water for those that prefer to fish from a canoe. The park grounds also offer electric campsites you can reserve for weekend fishing trips in the spring.
St. Joe State Park
St. Joe State Park features four lakes that stock bass, catfish, and crappie fish. The largest lake in the park is the Monsanto Lake, which stretches 25 acres and has a fishing dock and boat ramps that are open year-round for electric motorboats. The other lakes in the state park include the Apollo Lake and the JoLee Lake, which require fishing passes, along with the Pim Lake which is next to the Pim Day-Use area with a playground and hiking trail access to the Monsanto Lake and beach areas.
Trail of Tears State Park
The Trail of Tears State Park is a historic area with a park visitor center that provides information about the history of the park grounds, along with the natural features of the park. In the park, you can fish for carp, catfish, and perch in the Mississippi River or bass, bluegill, and catfish in the 20-acre Lake Boutin. Anglers must hold a valid Missouri fishing license and only fish within the park's day-use hours of 7 a.m. to dusk.
Washington State Park
At Washington State Park, you can fish the Big River for small and largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie. As the Missouri Department of Conservation manages the population of smallmouth bass at this park area specifically, there are posted signs throughout the location that outline the regulations for length and possession restrictions for smallmouth bass. On the park grounds, you can find a variety of resting and relaxation areas with picnic tables, grills, and concession stands. At one of the park's concessions stands, you can purchase their signature fresh-caught catfish sandwich.
When planning to visit these fishing sports near Farmington, Missouri, make sure you have a valid fishing license, available for daily, annual, or lifetime periods. In the state of Missouri, fishing for trout requires a separate license, so remember to purchase one for your trip. These fishing spots can provide a variety of entertaining activities for individual fishers or group outings for the family. Children and teenagers under the age of 15, along with Missouri residents over the age of 65, don't require a license to fish.
While in the Farmington area, make sure to check out some of the best places to eat around town, from classic American to modern fusion dining. If you're a Farmington local or a visitor who's been to any of the fishing sites on our list, let us know about your experience and your biggest catch of the day. For any other fishing recommendations in the Farmington area or locations we might've missed, drop us a line and we'll be sure to add it to our list.