NEOSHO, Mo. — The Neosho City Council last week gave initial approval to renewing an agreement with the Missouri Department of Conservation on a trout management plan for a section of Hickory Creek.
Under the agreement reached Tuesday, the state will work to keep Hickory Creek stocked with trout while the city will keep the stream banks maintained and monitored. The agreement will be formalized after a second and third reading to be held during an upcoming meeting.
The agreement is a renewal, and if it is approved in its current form, the city and the state will work together for the next 25 years.
What is new, however, is the emphasis on trout fishing in Morse Park. The city has been working to bolster its fishing opportunities as a tourism draw.
Last year, the city held its first opening day event timed to coincide with the opening of catch-and-keep trout season at Roaring River State Park, which starts March 1. Opening day at Roaring River draws large crowds, sometimes several thousand. The event is always held March 1. Although it is legal to keep trout caught from Hickory Creek before March 1, the city hopes to bring attention to the fact that about 2.7 miles of Hickory Creek, from Missouri Highway 86 to near its confluence with Shoal Creek, are rated a white-ribbon trout stream by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
It is one of the only such rated streams in Missouri that runs through a city.
Under the agreement, the city will be expected to keep stream banks open to the public during established hours, keep banks clean, provide law enforcement and work with the state on maintaining and restoring native trees along the stream corridor. The state will handle the fishery management plan, enforce fishing rules and regulations and assist the city with tree management.
In the event of floods or other events that damage banks, the city will repair damage and be reimbursed by the state.
In other business:
• The city gave final approval to a deal with Neosho Freeman Family YMCA for operation of its soccer league.
Under the arrangement, the YMCA will operate the soccer program, including registration of players and recruitment of coaches and referees. Games would be held on fields owned by the city, and the city would be responsible for mowing and maintenance.
There is no fee for either the city or the YMCA in the soccer arrangement. According to city documentation, the YMCA will keep the same fee structure in place for participation.