Bennett Spring State Park

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Bennett Spring State Park Shelter House and Water Gauge Station
Bennett Spring SP 1-by rjones0.jpg
Bennett Spring State Park is located in Missouri
Bennett Spring State Park
Location Dallas / Laclede counties, Missouri, USA, near Bennett Springs, Missouri
Coordinates 37°43′0.52″N 92°51′26.98″W / 37.7168111°N 92.8574944°W / 37.7168111; -92.8574944Coordinates: 37°43′0.52″N 92°51′26.98″W / 37.7168111°N 92.8574944°W / 37.7168111; -92.8574944
Built 1933
Architect CCC; NPS
Architectural style No Style Listed
Governing body Missouri Department of Natural Resources
MPS ECW Architecture in Missouri State Parks 1933-1942 TR
NRHP Reference # 85000527[1]
Added to NRHP February 28, 1985
Bennett Spring State Park
Location Missouri, United States
Nearest city Lebanon
Area 3,216.74 acres (13.0 km2)
Established 1923
Governing body State of Missouri

Bennett Spring State Park is located in Bennett Springs, Missouri, approximately 12 miles (19 km) west of Lebanon on Highway 64 and is in Dallas and Laclede counties. The park was established in 1923. It is centered on the spring that flows into the Niangua River and gives the park its name. The spring averages 100 million gallons (380,000 m3) of daily flow.[2] The park offers fly fishing, camping, canoeing, and hiking, among other activities.


In 1837 the James Brice family built a mill at the stream and the spring became known as Brice Spring. The town that built up was known as Brice. The family of Peter Bennett soon settled near the spring and started their own mill. Originally, the families were rivals, but they soon intermarried. Both of these mills were eventually destroyed in a flood. During the Civil War years, another mill was constructed by Peter Bennett. This Bennett Mill was larger and more successful than the Brice mill. The spring soon took on the Bennett name. Peter died in 1882 and his son William Sherman Bennett took over. The Bennett Mill burned in 1895.

In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) made various improvements to the park. The CCC built the dining lodge, cabins, trails, roads, shelters, gauge station, and the arched stone bridge across the spring branch. The bridge has 3 distinctive sideways “C’s” to memorialize the men of the CCC who built it. The CCC also channelized the spring branch and constructed the dam just upstream of the stone bridge to make the spring more habitable to the non-native trout. The dam is used to divert water through the fish hatchery and to maintain a constant water level at Bennett Spring to this day.

Trout fishing[edit]

Bennett Spring State Park offers trout fishing for both rainbow trout and brown trout in the natural spring that is the namesake of the park. Regular season where you can catch and keep fish is March 1 through October 31. Catch and release season is the second Friday in November to the second Monday in February on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday only.[3] Trout are stocked daily during the catch and keep season based on the fishing numbers from the previous year. The rainbow trout that are stocked can be found in all three fishing zones; a few even make it to the Niangua River, where conditions are not very favorable to trout survival.

Fishing the spring stream is subject to fairly structured rules. All anglers, regardless of age, must possess and display a daily trout tag. Fishing areas are divided into zones. Zone 1 is from the spring itself to the hatchery dam. Only artificial flies may be used in this area. The definition of a fly is spelled out as well and questions should be directed to the attendants where you purchase your daily tag. Zone 2 is from the Hatchery dam to the whistle bridge. In this area, in addition to artificial flies, other single hooked lures may be used. Finally Zone 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.

Daily fishing begins the same every day. A whistle or siren is used to alert the anglers that it is time to fish. Fishing times vary by the season. The opening march of the angler can sometimes resemble a civil war styled battle line as the anglers progress into the water with rod in hand. The same siren is used to indicate the end of the fishing day. Daily trout tags for the following day can be purchased in the evening on the current day.

New Technology[edit]

The park has added some new technology by adding its own realtime webcam.

Other activities[edit]

There are 12 miles (19 km) of trails accessible by foot only.

  • Natural Tunnel
  • Savanna Ridge
  • Spring and Whistle Trails
  • Oak-Hickory, Bluff and Bridge Trails

The park also offers campsites, cabins, a swimming pool, nature center, and a full service store. All services are open during the season.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ USGS site "Current Conditions for USGS 06923500 Bennett Spring at Bennett Springs, MO". USGS. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  3. ^ Bennett Spring State Park - Trout Regulations

External links[edit]