Stream Trout Season Offers Break from Ice Fishing

Stream Trout Season Offers Break from Ice Fishing
Stream Trout Season Offers Break from Ice Fishing
#

While most Minnesota anglers focus on ice fishing, those hankering for some open water action might want to cast their attention toward southeastern Minnesota, where the stream trout season opened Jan. 1.

The southeasts catch-and-release winter trout fishing season, which runs through March 31, is the result of the increasing popularity of trout fishing and requests from anglers to expand the number of streams open to winter fishing. Currently, about 135 miles on 38 streams are open to winter trout angling.

Winter stream trout fishing provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy the outdoors during the heart of winter, and it sharpens your angling skills, said Steve Klotz, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) area fisheries supervisor at Lanesboro. It's highly challenging and great fun.

Winter trout fishing may require the angler to experiment with different tactics, Klotz said. As water temperatures drop, so does fish activity. Every 10-degree temperature increase doubles the biological activity of the fish, so afternoon fishing often is the most productive. Anglers should carry a thermometer with them. Fish are most active at temperatures of 38 degrees and above.


Other tips that could increase an anglers success:


  • Fish slow and deep, trout are most often out of the main current flow.
  • When fly fishing, effective patterns include scuds, midge pupa/larva, and small pheasant tail patterns. Fly anglers should watch for midge hatches that can increase trout feeding activity.
  • For spinning and spincasting equipment, keep your reel cranking by using a Teflon lubricant that's not affected by cold. Single hooks on spinners help keep fish handling to a minimum. Clipping one hook off of a treble also helps.
  • With winter trout waters often crystal clear, trout grow wary, so keep a low profile. It's often best to stay out of the water.
  • Look for springs flowing into streams, where the water often is warmer.

At this time, only barbless hooks are allowed (crimped hooks are permitted) and fish handling should be kept to a minimum. Trout should not be removed from the water for any longer than it takes to remove the hook and release it. Anglers also should avoid walking in riffles, where trout eggs may be incubating.


The DNR implemented the winter trout fishing season in 1988 following improved water quality in the 1980s that created good natural trout reproduction in southeast coldwater streams. The goal has been to provide additional recreational opportunities without harming the trout resource, which is particularly vulnerable during fall spawning and the stress of winter. DNR creel surveys and other studies have shown that the winter catch-and-release season does not cause any negative impacts to trout populations.

Only select streams are open to winter fishing. Those streams are listed in the 2010 Fishing Regulation booklet, in the brochure 2009 Trout Angling Opportunities in Southern and Central Minnesota, and on the DNR website.

A sampling of streams open for winter angling include:


  • Fillmore County - Diamond Creek, Etna Creek, Gribben Creek, North Branch Creek, South Fork Root River, Torkelson Creek and Wisel Creek.
  • Goodhue County - Hay Creek.
  • Houston County - West Beaver Creek, Bee Creek, Crooked Creek, Daley Creek, Swede Bottom Creek and South Fork Crooked Creek.
  • Winona County - Coolridge Creek, Ferguson Creek, Garvin Brook, Hemmingway Creek, West Branch Money Creek, Pine Creek, Rush Creek, Trout Run, Trout Valley, Whitewater River (Main, Middle and North branches)

Klotz advises anglers to remember that staying dry is the key to staying warm, so it's important to be cautious when crossing streams or walking along snow covered banks, and to avoid walking on any ice that forms along the waters edge.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Bass

MLF Pros: What's With the Moon?

G&F Online Staff

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think?

Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

Walleye

How to Fish Bottom Bouncers for Walleye

Mark Sak - May 23, 2019

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

In the booth of one of fishing's all-time great reel makers, Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead and Andrew Wheeler of Pure Fishing discuss one of the brand new baitcasting reels from Abu Garcia being released at ICAST 2019.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Other Freshwater

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper - April 21, 2005

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

Reels

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them.

See More Stories

More News

News

Game & Fish Magazine Names New Editorial Director

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications.

News

New Game & Fish Coming Your Way

Michael F.X. Cassidy - August 01, 2019

Readers will find new look, new features beginning in September issues.

Records

State Records Reported in Maryland, Michigan

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×