Clint DalbomNeosho Parks Director
Hickory Creek flows 2.7 miles through Morse Park from the headwaters to the confluence with Shoal Creek north of Neosho. On the way through Neosho, the creek is considered a White Ribbon Trout Stream, which means it is regularly stocked with rainbow trout by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Our local fish hatchery, the oldest in the country, is operated by the US Department of the Interior’s US Fish & Wildlife Service. Both agencies work closely to ensure we have enough trout available in the trout fishery across the state of Missouri.
Fishing in Hickory Creek is currently catch and release. All trout caught must be immediately released intact into the stream. Rainbow trout are not good at surviving handling, so they must be set free to survive
unharmed in the stream. If injured, they are unlikely to survive, but the law is the law and they must be released back into the stream.
On March 1st, any changes, trout caught from Hickory Creek can be held. A total of four (4) trout can be kept per fisherman on a given day. An angler must have a current Missouri fishing license and a Missouri trout stamp in their name in order for trout to be caught in Hickory Creek. These permits can be purchased online from the Missouri Department of Conservation website.
The stream will be full of fish at the start on March 1st. At 6:30 a.m., a signal is given to start the season in a location in the park so that all fishermen can hear.
The Missouri Department of Conservation will regularly stockpile Hickory Creek throughout the season so everyone who fishes should have ample opportunity to catch fish.
Last year the opener was on a Sunday with an estimated 500 anglers visiting Morse Park throughout the day. It was great fun and right here in town. This year the opener is on a Monday, so we expect fewer people, but at least as many fish. Just the way I like it.
If you get a chance, hop off and enjoy the trout opener in Morse Park, it should be a lot of fun. You could even create your own “fish story”.
Neosho parks are something special!
– Clint Dalbom, director of Neosho Parks