St. Joe Park is located in the old “lead Belt” area and is made up of 8,238 acres that was donated to Missouri in 1976 by the St. Joe Minerals Corp after ceasing operations in 1972. It has an off-road vehicle area, two campgrounds, equestrian camping and trails, hiking and bicycling trail, picnic sites and lakes for swimming and fishing.
The historic mill buildings still stand on the site and it has been designated as Missouri Mines State Historic Site. They also have a museum that houses some of the old mining equipment along with an impressive collection of geological specimens.
There are four stocked lakes in St. Joe. Monsanto is the largest that is 30 feet at the deepest point and around 25 acres. Then there is Apollo Lake, JoLee Lake and Pim Lake which is the smallest. Boats can be used in all four but only electric motors are allowed. They do rent kayaks and canoes. One drawback to me, that definitely keeps me from getting too attached to this place, is the hours of operation. From April – September the lake opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 8 a.m.; October – March 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.. I really wish they would reconsider their hours.
If you want to fish Apollo or JoLee lakes, you must obtain a fishing pass from the park office. There are no launch fees. One can catch bass, crappie, catfish and an assortment of pan fish or perch. The park uses a “slot limit” of 12 inches to 15 inches for bass. You can keep anything under 12 and over 15 but you can’t keep fish that fall in the slot. One practice they do that I do like is that they pass a card so you can record your catch of the day so that they can have an idea of what is being caught. It is done anonymously.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir
I have fished Lake Monsanto three times. It is a peaceful place through the week however on the weekend it can draw a crowd. The lake has a lot of mill foil in it and a lot of standing timber and a multitude of objects to get your line hung up on.
I prefer to use a Rapala floating minnow. If you watch what you are doing you don’t get hung up as bad. I also use the live bait mode also: night crawlers. If I am out there just to relax I just use an empty hook. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give Lake Monsanto a 5. If the state would change the fishing hours to allow early and late evening hours I could learn to like it a little more. (Hint, hint) Maybe even issue a special permit if a person wanted to do some late night catfishing.
Someone asked me the other day if I ever get tired of fishing. For the record, “no”. I can never get enough fishing. When I am fishing I can feel my spirit feeding off the positive energy of Mother Nature. I sleep better when I have had a full day of fishing.
Thanks for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember to spread the love.