The trout were biting Saturday for 10-year-old Matthew Stees, of Sedalia, who reeled in his first fish of the day — and of his life — around 11:30 a.m.
“The first time, it bit onto the lure, it didn’t bite hard enough,” Stees said after throwing the trout back.
“At least we know what lure they’re biting on,” he said.
Stees was at the Liberty Park Pond to attend the Liberty Park Trout Association Appreciation Day, which featured lessons on tying flies, a casting clinic, lunch and, of course, fishing.
He and his father, Michael, came to learn and get some tips on lures and casting.
“He’s hoping to increase his skills, so when he goes on Boy Scout survival camp-outs, he’ll be better,” said his father.
“It’s just kind of a come out and fish introduction,” said Paul Stevens, vice president and secretary of the association.
“We’re just trying to spread the word about the association and about trout fishing in general,” he said.
Association president Tim Vuagniaux showed how to tie lures at the shelter house next to the park.
“I’m just trying to tie some flies ... the different kinds of bait we use to catch fish here,” he said.
Tying flies requires a vice, a pair of scissors, colored thread, and fur or
feathers, he said, and flies can be simple or complicated.
“You can get really sophisticated, but a lot of times, you don’t have to,” he said. “That’s what makes it kind of fun, because you have to match the color and size to what they’re biting.”
Tying your own is a good way to save some money and a good way to while away the time.
“It’s certainly a fun thing in the wintertime, me and Paul (Stevens) sit, and tie flies, and talk, and exaggerate our fishing stories,” he said.
Over at the pond, 10-year-old Sam Howieson, of Sedalia, was learning how to cast a fly rod from his grandfather, Bob Zink, of Windsor.
“He’s gone fishing with me several times, with a spin rod, so I thought it might be time to teach him how to use a fly rod,” said Zink.
Casting a fly rod, with its heavier line, is different than a regular rod, Howieson said.
“It’s harder than normal,” he said, though his grandfather said he was doing well.
“Anybody can learn, but you don’t just pick it up and learn it the first time,” said Bob Wasson, of rural Sedalia, who was watching the lesson. “There’s a whole rhythm to it.”
The pond at Liberty Park was stocked with 1,280 trout on Thursday by Crystal Lake Fisheries, of Ava, courtesy of the Sedalia Parks Department and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Anglers may fish throughout the winter, but must release whatever they catch until Feb. 1.
Anglers between the ages of 15 and 64 need a license to fish, and a $7 trout stamp to harvest the fish.
“We just really think its great that the park and conservation department put the trout in,” said Vuagniaux.
“They fight better; they fight longer than the average fish. And, of course, they taste good,” he said.