Tilles Park: After the spring thaw, this winter wonderland becomes a great spot for catfish, sunfish and trout (seasonally). Tilles Park is located at 9551 Litzsinger Rd., St. Louis, 63124. Call 314-615-4386.
Suson Park: Enjoy a day of fishing for catfish, sunfish, trout (seasonally) and bass, on the farm at Suson Park. After catching the big one at the stocked pond, explore the many breeds of farm animals found at the park. Suson Park is located at 6073 Wells Road, St. Louis, MO, 63128. Call 314-615-4386.
Spanish Lake Park: Catch bass, catfish, crappie or sunfish from one of two docks at Spanish Lake, which is located at 12636 Spanish Pond Road, St. Louis, MO, 63138. Call 314-615-4386.
August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area: This peaceful wetlands area provides the feeling of seclusion, though it's just a few miles from Highway 40 and Highway 94. The kids' fishing lake is a perfect spot for aspiring fishers to master the sport. Busch Conservation Area is located at 2360 Hwy. D, St. Charles, MO, 63304. Call 636-441-4554.
Boathouse Lake: Sit and relax in one of the park's pergolas while fishing for bass, catfish, crappie, sunfish and trout (seasonally) in Carondelet Park. Boathouse Lake is located at 3900 Holly Hills Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63116. Call 314-622-4800.
Cuivre River State Park: Catch largemouth bass, channel catfish and bluegill at the 55-acre Lake Lincoln. Cuivre River State Park is located at 678 State Route 147, Troy, MO, 63379. Call 636-528-7247.
Jefferson Lake: Take your family fishing in the heart of St. Louis at Jefferson Lake, located in Forest Park. Catch bass, catfish, sunfish, crappie and trout (seasonally). Forest Park is located off Highway 40/61 at the Kingshighway exit. Call 314-367-7275.
Klondike Park: Fishing in this park offers spectacular views of the Missouri River Valley. Catch bluegill, catfish and bass in the stocked lake. Klondike Park is located at 4600 Hwy. 94 South, Augusta, MO, 63332. Call 636-949-7535.
Chesterfield Central Park: The Central Park lake is open for catch and release fishing. Central Park is located at 16365 Lydia Hill Dr., Chesterfield, MO 63017. Call 636-537-4000.
For fishing rookies, the Missouri Department of Conservation offers a Discover Nature-Fishing program geared to kids ages 7-15 and their families. The free program is offered at Busch Conservation Area and Forest Park and covers the basics of fishing, as well as an overview of the most common types of fish found in Missouri. Classes are free and equipment is provided. Following the lakeside class, participants are given time to put their new skills to use. Visit mdc.mo.gov for more information.
Both Missouri and Illinois require fishing permits, which can be purchased through the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Visit mdc.mo.gov for a range of resources for anglers of all levels and to purchase fishing permits online. For permits and other resources in Illinois, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at www.dnr.illinois.gov or call 618-462-1181. Those who would like to test the waters can participate in Free Fishing Days June 11-12 and fish without a permit in Missouri's state waters.
Mercury guidelines for consuming fish
Follow your state's fish consumption guidelines regarding mercury, which is persistent throughout the environment and found in predator fish. Exposure to mercury has been shown to affect the central nervous system; young children, and women who are pregnant, nursing or of child-bearing age should limit exposure. For more information contact the Illinois DNR or the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, health.mo.gov.
Editorial assistant Tyne Benesek contributed to this article.
Best Bets articles represent the views and the research completed by St. Louis Sprout & About journalists and are not driven by advertising or requests by vendors or venues. Best Bets do not imply an endorsement of a business or activity.