MDC: Trout harvest begins Feb. 1

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) says trout may be harvested from Rotary Lake in Jackson and Giessing Lake in Farmington beginning Feb. 1.

According to Mike Reed, a MDC fisheries management biologist, fishing has been variable this winter due to weather extremes.

"If the lakes don't freeze, we should have an excellent opener to the trout harvest season at both lakes," Reed said.

Reed said MDC stocked trout in November at the start of the catch-and-release season.

"These fish provide a tremendous amount of fishing opportunity through the fall and winter months when warm water fishing is at a lull," Reed said, adding that in addition to catchable-size fish, a few "lunker" trout were also stocked at each lake.

Reed reminds anglers they must release trout caught now through January 31.

Anglers age 16-64 must have a valid Missouri fishing permit and a trout permit to harvest trout. The limit is four trout and any lure or bait is allowed.

"An amazing number of trout are typically caught the first week of trout harvest season," Reed said.

Many anglers frequently catch limits of trout using lite weight or ultra-lite fishing tackle or fly tackle. Anglers who do best use 2-4 lb. test line, small hooks and little or no added weight to their line. Popular baits include almost any type of small spinner, small crank baits, natural baits such as worms and cheese and commercially produced dough baits.

For more information, contact the MDC's Southeast Regional Office at 573-290-5730 or go online to