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Missouri Lakes - St. Louis Region

August A. Busch Memorial and Weldon Spring Conservation Areas

The Busch /Weldon Spring Areas receive over 125,000 fishing trips annually on just 574 acres of water. This means many of the lakes are fished heavily. MDC tries to prevent over harvest through more restrictive regulations. Following these regulations will help sustain the fishery for the future.

The Kids-Only fishing lake on the area has been a popular place for the kids, but not too crowded. Lake 12 is open year-round for kids ages 15 and under. It is an excellent place for kids to catch 6-8" hybrid sunfish, channel catfish and bass. Fish with crickets and worms around brush piles, stumps and weed beds. Special regulations apply.

The lakes where largemouth bass are plentiful, but most are smaller than the 15" length limit, are lakes 16, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 31, 34 and 37. Use small spinner baits, crankbaits, and topwater baits along rocky shorelines, brush piles, and in weedy coves for best results. These are great lakes to practice your hook setting skills as indicated by our spring samples with electrofishing catch rates in excess of 200 bass per hour. The best lake for big largemouth bass is Lake 33 where 62% of the bass were larger than 15" and 20% were larger than 18" from a sample of 144 bass caught this spring. Lakes 5, 6, 7, 12, 24, 30, 35, 38, and will also have 25-55% of the bass population larger than 15" and 10% larger than 18 inches.

Remember there is an 18" minimum length limit on lakes 33 and 35. In spring and fall bass will be in shallow water and can be caught on spinnerbaits, jig and pig, and crankbaits. In the summer, fish go to deeper, cooler water. Bigger bass can be caught along the rock dams and dropoffs near log structures. Plastic worms, crankbaits, and jig and pigs are productive in early morning and evening hours.

Seven-inch crappie will again be plentiful in Lake 33, 35, and 30. Please remove all sizes of crappie up to the daily limit of 30. Although you can pick up occasional 13 - 15" crappie in Lake 33, less than 10% are >8". Better lakes to catch larger crappie are Lakes 6, 8, 34, 35, and 37. The best crappie fishing is from mid-April through mid-May . There is also some good fall crappie fishing in October. For bait bring an assortment of jigs and a bucket of minnows. Since you should fish around the brush piles, bring extra hooks, bobbers, and sinkers.

Channel catfish will be best in lakes 3, 4, 5, 7, and 24 where one pound catfish are stocked bimonthly May through September. Lakes where channel catfish greater than 10 pounds are consistently caught are lakes 33, 34, and 35 and Prairie Lake on Weldon Spring Conservation Area.

Flathead catfish have a minimum length limit of 24" and are most common in 33 and 35. Live bait fished in rootwads along the rock dams will produce the best results.

Try the shallow coves of lakes 20, 24, 30, 34, 37, and 38 for the best grass carp fishing. Anglers must be patient and sit still to catch grass carp, whether they use canned corn, tomatoes, or other plant based bait. This under-utilized type of fishing can reward anglers with the 20-50 lb fish of a lifetime. For anglers who enjoy fishing for common carp, Lake 33 and the Femme Osage Slough on Weldon Spring are your best bets.

Bluegill >7" should be best in lakes 6, 8, 9, 10, 22, 34, 37, and 38. If you just want lots of action try lakes 10, 20, 21, and 30 where there are lots of 4-6" bluegill. Try fishing for redear sunfish in lakes 6, 20, 21, 30, 34, 35, 37, and 38. Redear will not be as numerous as bluegill, but there are Master Angler sized redear >10" in all of these lakes. Fish with worms or crickets on the bottom near weedbeds. Sunfish (bluegill, redear, and green sunfish in combination) bag limit is 10.

Trout are stocked in several lakes from November to February on the Busch Conservation Area. The fishing is excellent through the winter months for rainbow trout. Call for specific details or pick up a trout brochure at Regional Office.

If you like to catch a lot of fish and release them, Lakes 16, 31, and 32 are CATCH-AND-RELEASE-LAKES. Only artificial lures may be used and fish must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught.

Muskies in the 30-36" inch size range are occasionally caught at Lake 35. Large rattle traps have been most productive. The size limit is 36 inches for muskies- please practice catch-and-release for these trophies.

Lakes 6, 15, 33, and 34 have facilities for persons with disabilities, including parking areas, paved ramps, wheelchair accessible picnic tables and rest rooms. In addition, Lake 6 has paved fishing jetties and lakes 15, 33, and 34 have floating covered docks.

Lakes 1, 2, and 15 are used for Aquatic Resource Education and closed to public fishing. Lake 11 and 19 are closed after renovations to allow fishing populations to develop.

St. Louis Urban Fishing Program Lakes

Expect good fishing at 19 St. Louis City and County park lakes which will be stocked monthly, from April through October, with carp and channel catfish. Natural or prepared baits work best to catch the nearly 65,000 pounds of fish that will be stocked. Horseshoe Lake in Carondelet Park received improvements to angler access in 2005 and is ready for fishing in 2006.

Trout will provide very good winter fishing at Boathouse Lake in Carondelet Park, Jefferson Lake in Forest Park, three lakes at Suson Park, Walker Lake and January-Wabash, Tilles, Wild Acres, Vlasis and O'Fallon park lakes. Over 19,000 trout will be stocked during twice-monthly stockings in January, February, November, and December. However, Wild Acres Park Lake (Overland), Jefferson Lake in Forest Park, and Walker Lake (Kirkwood) will receive one stocking of rainbow trout in November, 2005.

Tilles Park Lake, Wild Acres Park Lake, Jefferson Lake in Forest Park, and Walker Lake will have special catch-and-release, artificial lures-only, no chumming, and one pole limit regulations running through January 31, 2006 after which, trout harvest (daily limit of 4) using any legal bait and using up to three fishing poles can take place, until catch-and-release starts up again in November 1, 2006 through January 31, 2007. All other St. Louis Winter Trout Program lakes allow trout harvest (with a trout permit) with a daily limit of four (4). Anglers must stop fishing for all species after harvesting their daily limit of trout.

St. Louis Urban Fishing Program and Winter Trout Program lake locations can be found in the free FISH ST.LOUIS and St. Louis Winter Trout Program brochures (call 314/441-4554). Also, the FISH ST. LOUIS WEB page - mdc.mo.gov/areas/stlouis/fish provides all the St. Louis area fishing information fit to read. Up-to-date Urban Fishing Program stocking information can be obtained by calling the Urban Fishing Programís Fish Stocking Hotline (636/300-9651).


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