CASSVILLE, Mo. —
Walk along the banks of Roaring River on opening day of trout season, pick anglers at random for a conversation and they’ll likely all mention the same word: “Generations.”
Same goes for Mike Steinbrecher, whose father was chosen for the honor of firing the starter pistol this year — the signal that the unofficial start of spring has arrived in the Ozarks.
“I grew up in St. Louis, but we’ve been coming here five or six times a year for 40-some years,” said Mike, 64.
His father, Leo, 92, and his mother, Marilyn, brought Mike and his four siblings to the park over the years to pass along their passion for fishing.
“It’s something that needs to be done,” Leo Steinbrecher said.
“Little kids come up with bird’s nests of line on the end of their rods, and I take the scissors out of my wife’s sewing basket and help them start all over again. Pretty soon, they get it,” he said.
Park and hatchery personnel said they chose the elder Steinbrecher to open the season based on his many years of volunteering to help another group of youths: The children who visit Roaring River State Park each year for Kids Fishing Days and other events.
Among the youngest anglers to cast a line Saturday was Brooklyn Cogley, 3, of Des Moines, Iowa, sporting a pink Roaring River vest. Her grandmother, Cheri Cogley, 52, bought her a pink Barbie fishing rod, which she used to pull out “a big fish.”
“I started coming down here for opening day a long time ago with my son, Cory, and now he’s bringing his kids,” Cheri Cogley said. “At first, I loved the excitement of everyone casting in at the same time on opening day. I continued to come and now, we’re on the third generation.”
“It’s all about the kids,” she said. “I’m not even fishing.”