Ralph and Martha Perry Memorial Conservation Area

Bank Fishing Missouri Series

The bank fishing series will feature short write ups from Matt Keefer, an avid angler who enjoys exploring conservation areas many folks overlook. He is the founder of a Facebook fishing group called “Fishing Western Mo“. Be sure to check it out!

Ralph and Martha Perry Memorial Conservation Area Overview:

There is a hiking trail that provides access to several fishing lakes, several small ponds, and the Blackwater River (accessible in Unit 1). The area’s waters are stocked with catfish, bass, redear sunfish, and bluegill. It totals 4,134 acres.

There are multiple units to this conservation area. According to the MDC website, “Unit 1 is located in southwestern Saline and northwestern Pettis counties. Unit 2 is in northeastern Johnson county with access provided by Highway 23.”

History:

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation website, this area is named after the late Dr. Ralph Perry and his wife, Martha, who donated both land and money to create the conservation area.

This conservation area was acquired partly through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell Johnson Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Acts. Those are federal aid projects funded by purchases of hunting and fishing equipment and motor boat fuels. Both programs are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

My experience:

This place was tough. There is substantial vegetation around the banks, making it tough to find a spot to cast. The minnows didn’t really help.

We caught more fish just throwing plastic baits. The good thing is you can just park in one spot and walk around to all three ponds. The trails are nice and clear.

I believe this area will be a really strong spot in the spring time before everything grows out of control. As you can see in the pictures, the ponds look great. The challenge is just finding a place to cast.

We did catch several fish. The redear in the picture was a monster – easily 9+ inches. He was caught on a minnow. It seem like every time we moved, we would catch a few bass right immediately, then they turned to ghosts.

I will be giving this area another try in the fall. I have a feeling there is some big fish in these ponds.

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