Missouri Trout History Started In NorCal

CDFW photo

One of my favorite newspapers has always been the Kansas City Star, especially when I worked as a newspaper sports reporter in Arkansas. I got to know a few of their sports reporters who I ran into on the road.

I saw an interesting piece in the star about fishing that has a California angle to it. It’s a story of how in the 19th century trout were introduced to Missouri. Here’s a little bit about how and from where the trout got to the Show-Me State:

The commission soon began experimenting with ways to curtail the decline in American fish stocks by relocating fish around the country. Eastern shad went from New York to California; Pacific salmon were shipped from California to the East. While transplanting shad was quite successful, Pacific salmon never established a foothold in any state in which they were planted, including Missouri. 

Those in charge at the time actually thought a spawning run to the Gulf of Mexico and back could be created by stocking salmon fry in, among other rivers, the Missouri near Kansas City. 

Federal officials quickly realized the folly of their attempt to relocate salmon. But in the McCloud River in Northern California, the river from which the salmon were taken, there lived another cold-water fish of interest: the rainbow trout. By 1879, the commission’s interest shifted from salmon to collecting and fertilizing rainbow trout eggs and shipping them via rail to federal and state hatcheries across the country. After hatching, the rainbow fry were transported using milk cans and deposited in many states’ rivers.

Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/sports/outdoors/article243040541.html#storylink=cpy

It’s a really interesting read. I loved my trips to Kansas City – usually for baseball, barbecue and a sense of being in a big city when I lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas.