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Montauk State Park
Montauk State Park is particularly known for trout fishing in the Current River. The Current River starts in Montauk State Park, at Montauk Spring. Near the spring, the Department of Conservation runs a fish hatchery, keeping the river stocked daily with rainbow trout and brown trout. In between trout fishing, you can take a tour of the old grist mill, or the fish hatchery. See the springs that feed the Current River, putting an estimated 53 million gallons of water into the river each day.
Where Is Montauk State Park?
Montauk State Park is located in Salem, MO, an hour drive south of Rolla. From Rolla, take 63 South to Licking, and take 137 from Licking to state highway VV, which you can take the rest of the way into the park. Or, take 72 E from Rolla to State Hwy O, C, and H to County Rd 244, to 119 South, into the park.
From St. Louis, Montauk State Park is about three hours away. Take I-44 South to Rolla, and follow the directions from Rolla above.
Montauk State Park is located at the head of the Current River, and surrounds Montauk Lake, which means that especially in the spring, the campgrounds can be closed due to flooding. Make sure you plan ahead and check the park website, or call the park staff before you depart.
Montauk State Park has 30 basic campsites, 116 electric, and 8 accessible campsites. Camping and reservations are available year round, and showers and water are available from February 25 through October 31. For a little bit more room, you can reserve one of the family campsite. The campsites are arranged in four loops, with three restroom and shower building in between the loops. Trailer dump stations are located at the entrance to loop one and loop four. Firewood can be purchased at the woodlot, between 6pm and 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and between 6pm and 7pm on other days. The woodlot is located near the restrooms in loop two, just off the main road. The three loops are located next to each other, just off the Current River. Remember that this means there can be a flooding risk in the spring, so check the weather reports and with park staff before you go.
If you go to Montauk for the trout fishing, but don’t want to camp, the park offers cabins to stay in. Single, duplex and quadplex style cabins are available, as are motel rooms. The cabins are available year round. Some of the cabins are dog friendly, with an additional fee. Wi-Fi is available in the lodge and restaurant. Also located in the lodge is the Montauk Resort restaurant, open for breakfast through dinner. The park store is also located inside the lodge, where you can get camping supplies, fishing supplies, groceries, and souvenirs. The park has 4 cabins, 24 duplexes, and 18 motel rooms.
Montauk Lake Trail
Montauk Lake trail is an easy, flat trail that loops along Montauk Lake. The trail is open for walking and bicycles, and goes for three quarters of a mile. Although bicycles are allowed on the trail, it isn’t very long, so it might not be worth bringing your bike. Your kids might enjoy biking the trail though, so it could make for a good family activity. The trail starts by the hatchery office, and goes by the trout rearing pools. It then passes by Montauk Lake, and the wetland area fed by Bluff Spring, to the headwaters of the Current River, and finally back to the park office. You can see many animals home to the wetlands on this trail.
Pine Ridge Trail
The Pine Ridge Trail is a mile and a half trail that goes up into the Montauk Upland Forest. This forest is full of mature pine, oak, and hickory trees. After walking through the forest for a while, you will go up a steep hill to a summit, where there are some nice views. From the summit, you will descend and see Montauk Lake and the wetlands.
The historic Montauk Mill was built in 1896. Over 100 years old, much of the elaborate milling machines are still there. The park offers guided tours of the mill on weekends. The mill was a grist mill, grinding grain into flower. The mill was important to the nearby community, serving local schools, churches, stores, homes, and a blacksmith. The mill closed down in 1927.
Trout fishing on the Current River is big in Montauk State Park. Catch-and-release fishing can be done year round (Friday through Monday off-season), but for keeping trout, the season opens March 1 and lasts until October 31. A fishing license and daily trout tags are required, and can be purchased from the park store. Part of the river is designated as fly fishing only, and part of the park is open for using artificial lures, so pay attention to signage. The river is stocked nightly from the hatchery. Both rainbow trout and brown trout can be caught, but the majority of the fish are rainbow trout.
The Montauk Hatchery is located at the headwaters of the Current River in the park. The hatchery began operation in 1932, and the original hatching facilities were built in 1948. The hatchery produces up to 300,000 pounds of trout annually. The Department of Conservation offers tours between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Tours occur on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays and begin at the hatchery office at 1:00pm.
Depending on the month, trout fishing starts between 6:30am and 7:30am. Trout fishing ends between 6pm and 8:30pm. Check with park staff or on the park website for the exact times.