Under a cooperative agreement, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Columbia Parks & Recreation, and the Mid-Missouri Chapter of Trout Unlimited stock trout into Cosmo-Bethel Lake to create an urban winter fishery in central Missouri. The program was initiated in 2003.
One of the goals of the Missouri Department of conservation’s Urban Fishing Program is to increase fishing opportunities and species diversity in urban lakes. Since 1989, the Missouri Department of Conservation has stocked rainbow trout in St. Louis and Kansas City area lakes to provide close-to-home fishing opportunities. Urban winter trout fishing has been so successful in these cities that the program was expanded to include Columbia.
About 2,400 trout are stocked into Cosmo-Bethel Lake during the last week of October. Most of the trout stocked are 10 to 12 inches long; however, some larger fish are also released.
All trout must be released, unharmed from November 1-January 31. Only artificial baits (no natural or scented baits) can be used from November 1-January 31. After January 31, anglers can harvest trout under statewide regulations (see below).
If you would like to donate to the Winter Trout Fising Program, there is a donation box on site at Cosmo-Bethel Park or you may send funds to Columbia Parks and Recreation, 1 South 7th Street, Columbia, MO 65201.
For more information about the program, call the Missouri Department of Conservation, 573-884-6861.