CAPE GIRARDEAU – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is expanding the annual winter trout program in southeast Missouri, stocking rainbow trout in Perryville’s Legion Lake for the first time. MDC also stocks Jackson’s Rotary Lake and Farmington’s Giessing Lake with rainbow trout each year.
Legion Lake will receive 3,760 rainbow trout, Rotary Lake will receive 1,900 and another 1,200 will be stocked in Giessing Lake. In addition, each lake will receive a number of ‘lunkers’. The cities of Jackson, Farmington, Perryville, as well as Perry County, the Perry County Sportsmen’s Club and the Missouri Department of Conservation, purchased the trout to be stocked.
The annual winter trout fishing program begins Nov. 1, marking the opening of Missouri’s winter trout season in lakes around the state. Anglers can fish for this popular cold-water fish through the fall and winter months on a catch-and-release basis. Anglers may harvest trout as of Feb. 1, 2017. Rainbow trout are cold-water fish which live in water temperatures less than 70 degrees. They do well in local impoundments during the colder months.
Paul Cieslewicz, MDC fisheries management biologist, 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,” Cieslewicz said. “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.
Mike Reed, MDC fisheries management biologist, said trout can be caught on a wide variety of lures.
“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 two to six 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 about trout stocking in southeast Missouri, contact MDC’s Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau at (573) 290-5730. For more information about fishing in Missouri, go online to mdc.mo.gov/fish.