Bennett Springs State Park to receive major infrastructure upgrades

LEBANON, Mo. – Bennett Springs Fish Hatchery is getting a major makeover as the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is funding improvements to one of Missouri’s premier trout fishing spots to bring in more visitors. 

The MDC is currently working with HDR Engineering Inc. to put a project into place to repair and replace portions of the hatchery’s aging infrastructure. The project is planned to last for two years and will cost approximately $20 million. New technologies will also be added to the infrastructure to improve fish reproduction.

Phase one is already underway at Bennett Springs and includes field investigations for surveying, flow monitoring, locating utilities and the development of a groundwater test well on the northern end of the hatchery.

During drilling and well-testing, park roads leading to the campground will be restricted down to one lane of traffic, but will remain open to through traffic. Drilling will conclude by the end of January, and well testing will begin sometime in February.

Once the field investigations have been completed, phase two of the improvements will start, but impact on visitor activities at Bennett Springs will be minimal.

The construction phase will begin in early 2023, as the park looks to capitalize on improvements to their hatchery facility with a new intake structure, reconstruction of raceways, pipe improvements and several upgrades to protect the hatchery from flooding and improve fish reproduction. There are also plans to update the MDC hatchery office, shop and storage facilities. 

During construction, MDC says there may be some temporary restrictions to fishing accesses on portions of the stream, but any restrictions will be communicated to the public.

The hatchery will not operate during construction phases and existing fish will be moved to the Shepherd of the Hills, Roaring River and Montauk hatcheries. Fish will still be transported from other MDC hatcheries and stocked on a daily basis during the season at Bennett Spring, and anglers will not see a change to existing seasons. 

Up to one million trout are raised from egg to fingerling annually at the Bennett Spring Hatchery. Additionally, 350,000 trout are stocked into the stream each season. 

140,000 people are said to visit Bennett Spring each year to fish. Data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has indicated that money spent on trout fishing in Missouri can generate more than $187 million annually. 

About The Author

Get News, the way it was meant to be:

Fair. Factual. Trustworthy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.