Trout Season opens at Montauk

Photo by Shari Harris
Fishermen await the starting ceremony just before 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

By Shari Harris

Photo by Shari Harris
Bob Ellis shows his 000001 trout tag after firing
 the opening shot for the 2020 trout season.
The 2020 Opening Day of Trout Season dawned crisp, with Montauk Park teeming with trout and those in pursuit of trout. This year’s honoree firing the opening gun was Bob Ellis of Oakville, Mo., who at the age of 67 has been coming to the park since he was seven-years-old. Every year, his family and he make the trip from St. Louis County several times, typically about fifteen times, according to Ellis. Ellis was proud of the 000001 trout tag he received this year.
It was a good turnout this year, with the Sunday opening no deterrent, as it historically has been. Perhaps the crowds were encouraged by the promise of temperatures in the 50s after a winter with frequent snow storms. Regardless, vehicles lined every parking area and fishers lined the popular spots along the stream, shoulder to shoulder. By 7:30 a.m. Sunday, 1854 adult tags and 232 children’s tags had been sold. In comparison, 7500 trout were stocked. Last year a total of 1728 tags were sold for opening day, which was on a Friday. The last Sunday opening, in 2015, claimed only 1368 tags. Overall attendance to the park was up last year compared to 2018. If the first day of trout season is any indication, 2020 may surpass 2019 for total number of visitors.
Photos by Shari Harris
Visitors traveled from the Lodge to the stream, then the
ones traveled back to the Lodge to weigh in
their lunkers.
Montauk had a busy Sunday
opener this year.
The first lunker was brought to the lodge at 7 a.m. Paul Rinella of Trenton, Ill. caught a 5-pound 8-ounce rainbow trout on a pink and white jig he bought from Reed’s Cabins. His rod broke and Rinella had to hand-reel in the lunker. After weighing his prize catch, he headed in pursuit of another rod to return to fishing.
Another out-of-state visitor brought in the second lunker, a 5-pound 4-ounce rainbow caught on a silver jig. Laymon Wilder had made the trip to Montauk from Midland, Ohio. Dr. Rick Rios of St. Louis caught a 5-pound 12-ounce lunker with a pink and white jig. Zach Williams from Salem brought in a nice 6-pound rainbow trout he caught on a Trout Magnet. Shortly afterward, Matthew Russell, also of Salem, brought in a slightly larger one, 6-pound 2-ounces, that he caught on white dough.

Photo by Shari Harris
Talon Johnson of Bixby brought in a 
10 lb. 12 oz. beauty at 8 a.m.
Ninety minutes into the 2020 trout season, a lunker was brought in that may top the board in weight for a while. Talon Johnson of Bixby brought in a 10-pound 12-ounce rainbow he caught on a silver Trout Magnet. This was the largest lunker recorded on opening day in more than 20-years, surpassing a 10-pound 8-ounce rainbow caught on opening day last year by Erick Lawing from O’Fallon, Mo.

The season runs through the end of October, so there are eight months remaining if you want to try and top Johnson’s catch on the lunker board, or if you want to just enjoy a day of fishing in Missouri’s beautiful Montauk State Park.



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