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Bennett Springs State Park

Bennett Spring State Park is the flagship of the Missouri Trout Parks. The park draws over 1 million people a year, and it features the largest spring of the four parks.

Bennett Springs is the third largest spring in Missouri. It has a daily flow of 103 million gallons (165 cubic feet per second). The water emerges from the ground at a temperature of 56-58 degrees Fahrenheit. The pool of Bennett Springs approximately has a diameter of 50 feet and the water here is a blue-green color. The entrance to the spring is 10 feet high by 20 feet wide.

Studies conducted by James Vandike determined the spring has a recharge area of about 265 square miles that stretches east, south, southeast and southwest. The spring rises from the Gasconade Dolomite of Bennett Springs Valley. Each day the water feeding Bennett Springs dissolves and removes an estimated 60 tons of dolomite from underground passages. - Divers have explored and mapped 100 feet into the spring (a depth of 75 feet from the surface). Further exploration was prevented by high water velocity and a narrowing passage way. At 100 feet the passage way narrows to 3 feet high by 10 feet wide.

The spring's origin was attributed by the Osage Indians to an earthquake caused by the Creator's displeasure with the tribe. First white settlers were the James Brice family in 1837, joined shortly thereafter by that of Peter Bennett. Originally milling rivals, the families later intermarried. Around 1900, the Brice Inn was established and soon catered to tourists. Releases of "mountain trout" occurred in these early days. The town of Brice was purchased with the spring and other land from Bennett heirs in 1924 and 1925. A fish hatchery predated the state park. The Civilian Conservation Corps made improvements in the 1930s, and newly formed Dept. of Conservation took over fish culture in 1936. More land has been acquired, but the spring remains the key to the state park's identity as a trout fisherman's mecca.

Fishing Regulations

Trout fishing is permitted in accordance with the state wildlife code and posted restrictions daily from March 1 through Oct. 31, and during the winter catch-and-release season from the second Friday in November to the second Monday in February on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday only.

  1. Each angler shall display a daily trout tag purchased on the area and bearing his or her signature.
  2. Each angler shall have a state fishing permit except those 15 years and younger or Missouri residents 65 years and older.
  3. Each angler shall keep their trout separate at all times and identified with their name and address.
  4. Daily limit is four, all brown trout must be equal to or greater than 15�. There is no length limit on rainbow trout. Possession limit is 8 trout.
  5. Only a single pole or rod may be used. Gigging, snaring or snagging is not permitted.
  6. No person shall continue to fish for any species in these trout waters after having four trout in possession.
  7. The use of game fish or parts thereof for bait is prohibited; chumming is not permitted.

Anglers need a fishing permit, unless exempt, as well as a daily trout tag. The daily trout tag is $3 for adults and $2 for those 15 and younger.

Fishing Hours

March6:30*  7:30**6:00*  7:00**

* - Central Standard Time
** - Daily Light Saving Time

Grass cutting is scheduled for April 3-4, May 14-1`5, June 25-26, Aug 6-7, and September 17-18.

Bennett Fishing Zones


1  - From the hatchery dam upstream to the end of the area. Only flies are permitted.
2  - From the hatchery dam to the whistle bridge. Only flies and artificial lures are permitted.
3  - From the whistle bridge to the Niangua River. Only soft plastic bait (unscented), natural and scented bait are permitted. All flies and artificial lures are prohibited, even if natural bait or scent has been added.

Camping In The Park

Bennett Spring State Park has five campgrounds and offers basic, electric, and sewer/electric/water campsites. On-season services may include reservable sites, a dump station, showers and laundry.

Campground 1 is open year-round with water available April 15 through Oct. 15.
Campgrounds 2 and 3 are open from April 15 through Oct. 31 (with water available).
Campground 4 and Campground 5 are open Feb. 25 through Oct. 31 (with water available).

For Rates - Camping Fees

Phone Reservations (7:00 AM to 10:00 PM) - 877-422-6766
Online Reservations - Online

Other Points of Interest


For a overview map of Bennett Springs State Park and Niangua River click on the picture of the park sign.

Bennett Springs has installed a web cam at the damn. Great resource to determine the water level - WEB Cam

Guide to Missouri State Parks - Bennett Springs State Park