Bennett businessman, angler kicked off trout season

Charlie Reading was the 2022 bell ringer at Bennett Spring


When the 2022 trout season at Bennett Spring opened March 1, the man ringing the siren was a veteran fisherman and fly shop operator known for sharing his knowledge and experience.

Charlie Reading, owner of Reading's Fly Shop, was selected to begin this year’s season. 

Reading said he was happy to be recognized for his many years of operating a fly shop and offering instruction to anglers.

“It is an honor and it’s very nice,” he said. “I’ve been helping people and doing things here for a long time, It’s nice to have people acknowledge what you’ve done over the years, it’s a humbling thing to see that people appreciate that I’ve been there for them and helped them with a lot of stuff.”

Reading said he spend a lot of time giving away fishing education. 

“I had a rep say you are the guy if you spend a $100, you get $200 of advice,” he said. “It’s a nice compliment, but I do feel if I’m going to spend that quality time with you, I’m hoping that when you do get read  to make a commitment, you realize this guy has given me so much information, why would I want to go somewhere else.” 

Reading said his life is tied up in his business.

“A lot of people, they put their 40, 50 hours a week in, they have a family, they have other things they do,” he said. “What make me different is that this is a big part of my life, my business, it just happens to be here.” 

 Reading spent his childhood fishing for cool and warm water fish in the ponds, creeks and river of his grandfather’s farm just outside of Lebanon.

He began fly fishing when he was 15.    

In 1978 he was hired to run Tony Pack’s fly shop. He worked there until he opened Reading’s Fly Shop in 1985. 

From 1978 on, Reading has fished both freshwater and saltwater around the globe. He’s made many trips to New Zealand, Christmas Island, Brazil and Argentina, Russia, New Guinea, Europe, Central America, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic.

Bennett Spring State Park Hatchery Manager Ben Haven said Reading “is a knowledgeable fly fisherman, great mentor to new fishermen, a strong park supporter and a huge ambassador to fly fishing in Missouri.”