The annual winter trout program in southeast Missouri is about to kick off again when rainbow trout are stocked in three southeast Missouri lakes. Farmington’s Giessing Lake, Perryville’s Legion Lake and Jackson’s Rotary Lake are all locations for the very popular fishing program.
According to Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Fisheries Management Biologist Paul Cieslewicz, approximately 3,760 rainbow trout will be stocked in Legion Lake before the opener on Nov. 1. MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Mike Reed said approximately 1,900 trout will be stocked in Rotary Lake and 1,200 in Giessing Lake. In addition, a number of "lunkers" will also be stocked into each lake.
The cities of Jackson, Farmington, Perryville as well as Perry County, the Perry County Sportsmen’s Club and MDC 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.
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. Recent cool fall weather has lowered lake water temperatures setting the table for very good fishing.
Cieslewicz 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. 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.
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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.
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 other small lures are also good choices.”
Light line and tackle will typically produce more fish than heavier tackle. 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.
For more information, contact MDC’s Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau at 573-290-5730. To find close-to-home fishing locations near you, go online to www.mdc.mo.gov or use MDC’s MoFishing app available for iPhone or Android.