Annual Prospects Report
Crane Creek, located in extreme southwest Lawrence and Stone counties, offers the opportunity to pursue wild rainbow trout. The rainbow trout in Crane Creek were originally stocked from the McCloud River in California in the late 1800's and the population has sustained itself through natural reproduction since that time. Public access to the creek is available on Wire Road Conservation Area (WRCA) as well as in the city park at Crane. Crane Creek is currently managed as a Blue Ribbon trout fishery in the upper eight miles to maximize and sustain the fishery. While harvest is assumed minimal, one fish per day at least 18 inches long is allowed. Only flies and artificial lures are permitted in this Blue Ribbon management zone.
During snorkel surveys in October 2021, biologists counted over 740 rainbow trout per mile on WRCA. This is the highest number of rainbow trout observed in this area since 1994. A good majority of these fish were <8”, indicating very good recruitment in previous years. The number of intermediate sized fish from 8”-12” ranged from 175 rainbow trout per mile, while the number of larger sized fish in the 12”-18” range was about 140 rainbow trout per pile. The number of legal sized rainbow trout >18” was 30 rainbow trout per mile. Most of the larger rainbow trout were observed in the deeper pools as well as beneath the numerous undercut banks and root wads within the creek.