CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces it has added Farmington's Giessing Lake to its trout stocking program. Farmington city officials are working with MDC to purchase and stock rainbow trout in the city's lake. In the southeast region, MDC also stocks trout at Rotary Lake in Jackson.
This is the first year for the trout program in Farmington and according to MDC fisheries management biologist, Mike Reed, approximately 1,200 trout, as well as a number of 'lunkers,' will be stocked prior to the Nov. 1 opener. Giessing Lake joins the list of other winter trout fishing areas around the state.
"This program is very popular because it provides a quality winter fishing opportunity when warm water fish are less active," Reed said. "Trout fishing is also a great opportunity to introduce youth to the sport of fishing."
Rainbow trout are cold-water fish which live in water temperatures less than 70 degrees. They do well in small city lakes such as Giessing Lake during the colder months, Reed said. Anglers can fish for trout through the fall and winter months on a catch-and-release basis and may harvest trout as of Feb. 1.
Reed cautions anglers to remember that from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, all trout must be released unharmed immediately. During this time, anglers may only fish with flies, artificial lures, and unscented plastic baits. In addition, they may only use one fishing rod at a time and chum is not permitted. Starting Feb. 1, any bait may be used and four trout may be kept regardless of size. All anglers between the ages of 16 and 64 must have a valid Missouri fishing permit and any angler harvesting trout must possess a trout permit as well.
Trout can be caught on a wide variety of lures, according to Reed.
"Flies, which imitate aquatic insects, are popular with fly fishers," he said, "but spinners, small spoons, and other small lures are good choices."
Light line and tackle will typically produce more fish than heavier tackle. Successful anglers typically use 2-6 pound test line when fishing with lures and add little or no additional weight to the line. Set the drag light as a trout often hits hard and makes strong runs which can break weak or frayed line, Reed said.
For more information, contact MDC's Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau at (573) 290-5730 or go online to mdc.mo.gov/fishing.