The Meramec River is one of the longest free-flowing waterways in Missouri. The river is one of the most diverse waters in the state. It is plentiful in black crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, largemouth bass, paddlefish, rainbow trout, brown trout, rock bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, white crappie, and some of the richest mussel beds in the state. The endangered Eastern Hellbender also lives in the river.
The Meramec River includes one of only three Red Ribbon Trout Areas in the state of Missouri, boasting a healthy rainbow trout population and an impressive brown trout population. Red Ribbon trout streams are managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation to produce trophy-sized fish.