Trout harvest begins Feb. 1

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

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

“If the lakes aren't frozen, we should have an excellent opener to the trout harvest season,” 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 Jan. 31.  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. 

Many anglers frequently catch limits of trout using light weight or ultra-light fishing tackle or fly tackle.  Reed recommends anglers 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