MADISON – Does the early bird really get the worm? Trout anglers will have to find out for themselves, but with more than 600,000 catchable trout scheduled to be stocked by the inland trout season opener on May 2, it’s hard to argue the old proverb.
“We hope that trout anglers of all ages find good weather on opening day,” says Al Kaas, Department of Natural Resources statewide fish propagation coordinator, “and also that they catch some of the fish we stock as part of the traditional opening of the fishing season.”
A total of 615,296 catchable rainbow, brown and brook trout are expected to be delivered to hundreds of waters statewide, and as many as the weather permits before the inland opener. A list of waters with catchable trout is available on the DNR Web site.
“Put and take” waters, which are capable of supporting trout during the spring, summer and fall, but have poor habitat for sustaining fish over the winter are scheduled to be stocked with 328,800 brown, brook and rainbow trout.
Urban fishing waters, which are small lakes and ponds cooperatively managed with the local municipality and used as a place for fishing clinics and kids fishing, are expected to be stocked with 74,950 rainbow trout. A list of these waters and specific regulations can be found in the “2009-2010 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations".
With the help of cooperative fish rearing agreements and non-profit organizations around the state, an estimated 117,900 additional trout will be stocked. The organizations take small trout fingerlings (less than 1 year old) and raise them to legal size and larger for stocking.
Restoration, rehabilitation, and experimental projects, in addition to overwinter waters throughout Wisconsin, also receive fingerling stocking.
The trout stocked are between 16 and 18 months old and are typically at least 9 inches in length. The department tries to make sure that 80 to 90 percent of the fish stocked are legal size or better, according to Kaas.
Anglers can still warm up to the May 2 opener by taking in some fishing during the early catch and release trout season that runs through April 26. Try some of these “tried and true” waters recommended by DNR fish biologists, supervisors, technicians and hatchery personnel for early trout season.
Increase your chances of filling your bag by checking out these tips and techniques for catching trout, or look into the 2009 Fishing Report for fishing forecasts of waters near you.
Anglers should check the “Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations and Guide, 2009-2010" for daily bag limits and size limits. The state’s inland trout season opens May 2 and runs through September 30.
And when you head out for on your trout fishing trips this year, take someone with you!
“We stock trout in waters for anglers of all ages, so go fishing and take someone with you,” says Kaas. “Fishing is a great, low cost activity with all of the benefits of companionship, fresh air and the thrill of catching and landing a fish - real excitement that you can take to your memory bank! Now that’s a tradition to share.”