MDC to stock nearly 7,000 rainbow trout in three southeast Missouri lakes

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) annual winter trout program will soon begin with the stocking of nearly 7,000 rainbow trout in three southeast Missouri lakes -- Perryville’s Legion Lake, Jackson’s Rotary Lake, and Farmington’s Giessing Lake.

The cities of Jackson, Farmington, and Perryville, including Perry County, the Perry County Sportsmans Club, and the Missouri Department of Conservation, purchased the trout to be supplied.

The annual winter trout fishing program begins Nov. 1, marking the opening of Missouri’s winter trout season. Anglers can cast a line for this popular cold-water fish through the fall and winter months on a catch-and-release basis. Anglers also may harvest trout beginning Feb. 1, 2022.

Trout are not native to Missouri. They have been introduced to the cold, spring-fed, streams of southern Missouri. In winter, when the water is cold enough and holds sufficient oxygen to support trout, selected lakes and ponds in urban areas are stocked to provide close-to-home trout fishing.

MDC fisheries management biologist Salvador Mondragon said roughly 3,760 rainbow trout will be stocked during the first week in November in Legion Lake prior to the opener; 1,900 trout will be stocked in Rotary Lake; and about 1,200 in Giessing Lake. Mondragon said several lunkers also will be stocked.

According to MDC, all trout must be immediately released unharmed from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, 2022. During this time, anglers may only use flies, artificial lures, and unscented plastic baits. Only one fishing rod may be used at a time, and chum is not permitted. Beginning Feb. 1, 2022 any bait may be used, and four trout may be kept regardless of size. 

“Flies imitating aquatic insects are popular with fly fishers,” Mondragon said, “but spinners, small spoons, and other small lures are also good choices. Successful anglers typically use a 2-to-6-pound test line when fishing with lures and add little or no additional weight to the line.

All anglers between the ages of 16 and 64 must retain a valid Missouri fishing permit and any angler harvesting trout must also possess a trout permit. 

More information about fishing can be found online here, and by contacting the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau at (573) 290-5730.