Fish Species and Wildlife Found at Mermet Springs
You will be amazed as you enter Mermet Springs at the picture perfect wooded background and sheer granite-rock cliffs rising across from the dark blue water. And in the quarry's cool waters you will find a wide variety of species of local fish.
Bluegill and Catfish
From the main diving dock, you will see schools of large bluegill and giant albino channel catfish. "Channel Cats" can grow to 40-50 pounds and are known to have exceptional senses of taste and smell. This allow them to find food in Mermet Springs's quarry waters. Feeding the fish from either the dock or underwater is welcome. Hot dogs, bread and canned easy cheese are some of the favorite snacks enjoyed by our local underwater hosts. But do watch your fingers around those big "cats"...they look a lot like a hot dog in their eyes.
Mermet Springs is also known for its schools of "American Paddlefish" (Polyodon spathula). Also known as "Spoonbill", "Spoonies" or "Spoonbill Catfish"; they are also the official Missouri State Aquatic Animal. These monster-looking fish are easily recognized by its large mouth and elongated, spatula-like snout called a rostrum, which is longer than the rest of the head. These prehistoric throw-backs are one of the largest freshwater fish in North America and can reach 5 feet or more in length and can weigh more than 60 pounds. Paddlefish can also live 50 years or more. Seeing Paddlefish up close will raise your pulse a bit, but don't worry, they are filter feeders and eat microscopic critters that feed on the algae.
National Geographic recently visited and filmed with the famous biologist/ecologist/photographer Zeb Hogan for its “Monster-fish” television series. The focus of the filming was the Paddlefish, which are abundantly found at the Mermet Springs quarry.
And if you are very, very lucky, you might see a Freshwater Jellyfish. These translucent and whitish or greenish tinged, bell-shaped jellyfish, are small; about the size of a penny to quarter. Unlike their salt-water counterparts, freshwater jellyfish do not like currents and tides and prefer the standing water-filled quarry of Mermet Springs. And also unlike their marine cousins, freshwater jellyfish's short tentacles are not powerful enough to break human skin, and so, you won't feel any sting if you brush up against one.
All of our local fish are very friendly; almost tame.
Pole fishing and spear fishing is strictly prohibited at Mermet Springs.