Winter rainbow trout fishing at Jackson’s Rotary Lake starts Nov. 1

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CAPE GIRARDEAU Mo -- The annual winter trout fishery at Jackson’s Rotary Lake will begin Nov. 1, marking the opening of Missouri’s winter trout season in lakes around the state.

According to Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Fisheries Management Biologist Mike Reed, approximately 1,900 trout and a number of ‘lunkers’ will be stocked in Jackson’s Rotary Lake prior to the opener.

The rainbow trout are purchased by the City of Jackson and MDC and stocked in Rotary Lake each fall. Anglers are then able to fish for this popular cold-water fish through the fall and winter months on a catch-and-release basis.  Anglers may harvest trout beginning Feb. 1, 2011.

Rainbow trout are cold-water fish which live in water temperatures less than 70 degrees. They do well in waters such as Rotary Lake during colder months.

Reed cautions anglers to remember that from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, all trout must be immediately released unharmed. During this time, anglers may only fish with flies, artificial lures, and unscented plastic baits. 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 years must have a valid Missouri fishing permit and any angler harvesting trout must possess a trout permit as well.

Trout can be caught on a wide variety of lures, according to Reed.

“Flies, which imitate aquatic insects, are popular with fly fishers,” he said, “but spinners, small spoons, and various small lures are also effective.”

Light line and tackle will typically produce more fish than heavier equipment. Successful anglers typically use 2-6 lb 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.

"The recent dry, cool October weather has allowed Rotary Lake to clear nicely, which should make for good fishing," Reed said.

For more information, contact the MDC’s Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau at 573-290-5730.

For information on winter trout fishing throughout Missouri, visit and search "winter trout fishing."