Clinton, Missouri is a veritable treasure trove when it comes to outdoor activities; people who enjoy hunting, fishing and camping have plenty of places to go in and around Clinton. The Poague Conservation Area is a wonderful place which offers excellent opportunities for fishing and camping. It is located on Highway 7, a mere 4 miles to the west of the town of Clinton.
This conservation area has some of the best deep strip ponds of the many that abound in the area. In fact, there are 14 ponds in this conservation area itself. While the smallest pit is approximately 2 acres in area, the largest is around 10 acres in area. On the whole, the entire area has more than 80 acres of fishing in addition to hundreds of acres of forested area. The ponds at the Poague Conservation Area are remnants of the coal strip mining industry in the area which left the area with many deep pits scattered all over the place. The forested areas also include plenty of wetlands. There are also approximately 80 acres of old fields in this area. It has to be admitted that the area around the ponds are not easy to walk through, but this is where the challenge comes from.
The camping grounds that are part of the entire conservation area are very rugged and basic; they do not come with amenities and people who come here should be prepared to rough it out. There are a few parking lots of differing sizes in this conservation area. In addition, there are a few boat slides here.
The Poague Conservation Area is a great place for people who like to fish since the ponds are stocked with good populations of bass, catfish and sunfish. The fish here are really large; the bass that are found here are especially large. People looking for trophy fish make a beeline to these strip ponds because of the immense size of the fish available here. As a matter of fact, this area is by far one of the best public areas where strip fishing is available. Needless to say, there are also quite a few privately owned strip pit ponds in the area where fishing enthusiasts can pay to go fishing.
Strip pit fishing is quite different from fishing in a regular pond or lake. The lakes generally have very steep sides and they can also be quite long and narrow. It is rare to come across any timber in the lakes since they were originally excavated to remove coal. It is not usually possible to fish on foot on these lakes; most fishermen use boats or kayaks on their fishing expeditions.
The dense forest cover on the area surrounding the ponds is also home to many species of birds and animals. As a result, these areas also attract large numbers of people who want to hunt deer, quail, turkey and water fowl of different species. The proximity of this area to Clinton and the abundance of wildlife here makes this a very popular area.