Opportunities abound for winter fishing at area lakes

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Opportunities abound for winter fishing at area lakes

Tim Renken, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

01/24/2002

Why do fresh-caught fish taste so much better in the winter than they do in the summer? No. 1, fish is the most perishable of meats and it keeps much better when the air and water temperatures are low.

No. 2, it's probably been a long time since your last meal of fresh-caught fish because you haven't been fishing lately.

You can go fishing this time of the year, though. Plenty of opportunities exist for anglers in the area. Here are some:

* Trout fishing in area parks. Lakes stocked with trout through the winter months are: Lakes 21, 22, 23, 24, and 28 at the August A. Busch Conservation Area; Suson Parks lakes 1, 2 and 3; Tilles Park Lake in St. Louis County; Walker Lake in Kirkwood; Vlasis Park Lake in Ballwin; January-Wabash Lake in Ferguson; Wild Acres Park Lake in Overland; O'Fallon Park Lake; and Boathouse Lake in Carondelet Park in St. Louis.

Stocking dates aren't announced in advance, but you can find out where fish have been stocked recently by calling a hotline at 636-300-9651.

Fishing at Tilles, Walker, Wild Acres and Busch Nos. 21 and 28 is catch-and-release with no artificial baits allowed through Jan. 31.

* Dock fishing at the Lake of the Ozarks. Crappie fishing at the lake has been outstanding lately, and for the last month or so most of these crappie have been caught under and around docks. You can fish around any dock if you're in a boat. But you must have permission to go onto private docks.

Heated docks are the most fun in really cold weather. Resorts on the lake with heated or at least enclosed crappie docks include: Flame, Creel, Clearwater and Alhonna. For names and phone numbers of resorts visit http://www.odd.net/ozarks/ or call the lake Chamber of Commerce at 800-451-4117.

* Lakes with heated water. All of the power-plant cooling reservoirs around here provide fishing in the winter. Popular among St. Louis area anglers is Thomas Hill, north of Moberly. In Illinois the lakes providing hot water fishing are: Coffeen, south of Hillsboro; Baldwin, near Baldwin; Newton, southwest of Effingham; Lake Egypt, south of Marion; and Clinton, near Clinton. All but Coffeen have places to fish from the bank.

Other places that provide fishing in the winter, even in cold weather, include:

* The tailwater of Carlyle Dam at Carlyle, Ill.

* Tailwater of the re-regulation dam below Cannon Dam at Mark Twain Lake.

* Tailwater below Bagnell Dam at Lake Ozark.

* The tailwaters below the Mississippi River navigation dams on the Mississippi River at Winfield, Clarksville and Saverton. All but the Mississippi dams have places to fish from the bank.
 

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