Winter trout fishing opens on Jan. 1 and continues through March 31 on about 135 miles of trout water on 38 stream reaches in southeastern Minnesota. Fed by warmer groundwater, many streams there remain relatively ice free all winter, and the trout living in these streams more often than not cooperate with anglers to provide excellent winter fishing opportunities, said DNR Lanesboro Area Fisheries Manager Steve Klotz.
While the trout are willing to bite, the weather can bite as well this time of the year, Klotz noted. Best days are often when the air temperature climbs into the 20s. “It’s more a function of keeping your equipment from freezing up, and not so much that the trout are just being tight lipped,” he said. “Explore some water that you haven’t fished and you might find a new favorite stream.”
The winter southeastern stream season is catch-and-release only. While DNR fisheries staff is proposing a season change that would open all southeastern trout streams to winter angling, only those streams specifically identified in the 2012 fishing regulations booklet will be open this year. Specific stream information also is available at www.mndnr.gov.
This winter’s trout season may find DNR fisheries staff conducting an angler survey. Anglers may find a postcard questionnaire on their vehicle at the end of a day’s fishing, or they may encounter a clerk asking a few questions.
“The information we gather from anglers is important,” Klotz said. “It helps resource managers evaluate current management activities and consider future possibilities such as opening trout angling year round.”