CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The annual winter trout fishery at Jackson’s Rotary Lake begins Nov. 1, marking the opening of Missouri’s winter trout season in lakes around the state, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).
According to MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Mike Reed, the Department will stock approximately 1,900 trout, as well as a number of ‘lunkers’, in Jackson’s Rotary Lake prior to the opener.
Rainbow trout are purchased by the City of Jackson and MDC and stocked in Rotary Lake each fall. Anglers are then able to fish for this popular cold-water fish species through the fall and winter months on a catch-and-release basis. Anglers may harvest trout starting Feb. 1, 2014.
“The rainbow trout program is great for our park and is enjoyed by many young and older anglers,” said Shane West Anderson, director of Jackson’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Rainbow trout live in water temperatures of less than 70 degrees. They do well in waters such as Rotary Lake during the colder months, according to Reed.
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 various small lures are also effective.”
Light line and tackle will typically produce more fish than heavier equipment. Successful anglers typically use 2-6 lb. 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.
Jackson’s Rotary Lake is located in the Jackson City Park at the corners of Highway 61 and Route D. For more information, contact the MDC’s Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau at (573) 290-5730.