If you’re new to fishing or even if you’re an old salt at it, one of the truly fun aspects of angling is trying to target different species of fish. Here in Iowa, we are fortunate to have that opportunity literally delivered right to our doorstep. Of course, I’m talking about a program made available to the public by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Urban Trout stocking. The main focus is to introduce new and old anglers alike to the joys of trout fishing. Trout can be an aggressive biting fish and put up that fight that most anglers seem to enjoy about the sport. Trout are not a naturally occurring species in our area. Due to our climate and lack of naturally spring fed waters, trout cannot survive long.
Our waters warm too quickly in the late spring and early summer for them to reproduce on their own. But thankfully we have short periods in the early spring and late fall that allow for stocking in some area waters of the state. This is where the Iowa D.N.R. comes in. They have a few hatcheries that raise trout for the purpose of being caught and consumed by anglers. We are now in one these seasons, the spring trout stocking is scheduled for April 1st at our own Discovery Center Park. I’m sure you have heard the old expression of “shooting fish in a barrel”, Well this is a fine example of that. They stock around a 1000 trout in the main pond, and then game on.
Now when it comes to fishing for these trout you don’t need a lot of expensive gear or a $300 fly rod. Your basic rod and reel setup for pan fish works great. You can use a float, inline spinners, jigs, you name it. As I said earlier, trout are an aggressive biting fish, if you’re using lures you will want something with a lot of flash. Just about anything silver and a spinning blade are lethal and they can’t resist. If live bait floated is more your style, trout worms or little red worms are fine, but a live minnow for my money is a whole lot better. Trout typically won’t nibble or play around with your bait like a blue gill; they strike the bait with a purpose. It also should be noted to downsize your hooks. Trout have small mouths, so I suggest a size #6 or # 8, too big of a hook and they will make off with your bait before you realize what’s going on.
You must have a valid Iowa fishing license as well as a trout stamp to catch and keep Trout. The legal daily bag limit is 5 and a possession limit of 10. No need to worry about length limits as they don’t stock them unless they are legal size to keep. Iowa residents and nonresidents under 16 years old may possess or fish for trout without having paid the Trout Fee if they fish with a properly licensed adult who has paid the Trout Fee and together they limit their catch to the one-person daily limit of five trout. It is a great time, family fun that can be had on the cheap, and best of all, fresh trout makes for a fine meal.