WINTER WEATHER HELPS ANGLERS TACKLE TROUT
Stocking program provides opportunity to take rainbow trout Oct. 15-April 15
PRATT — The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks' (KDWP) trout program creates a popular winter opportunity for anglers across the state. This stocking program provides fish at more than 30 sites across Kansas and affords fast action when other fishing can be slow. Bitter cold temperatures across most of Kansas in late January and early February froze many of these trout waters, but unusually warm weather followed, breaking up ice and making water temperatures and access to trout ideal. And anglers are taking advantage of the situation.
Trout bite a variety of lures, jigs, and flies. They also take live bait and prepared bait, especially colorful pinch-on types. Most Kansas trout fisheries allow a creel limit of five fish per day, but because some regulations — including the use of artificial bait only — vary by location, be sure to read posted information at each site before fishing.
Kansas trout season runs Oct.15 through April 15. During this time, trout are stocked as often as twice a month at each fishing location. Most fish are 10 to 12 inches long, but contracts stipulate that a certain percentage of bigger fish also must be stocked. This gives Kansas anglers a chance to hook a trophy trout that might weigh 5 pounds or more.
During the trout season, trout anglers must possess a special permit in addition to a fishing license. This annual trout stamp costs $12.15 and is valid statewide. All trout anglers must have this stamp, which pays for the program. The exception is trout anglers 15 and younger, who may fish without a trout stamp but are restricted to a daily creel limit of two trout. With a trout stamp, youth anglers may take a full creel limit.
Rainbow trout, native to cold waters, can thrive in Kansas winter pools. However, after spring warm-up, most trout cannot survive in Kansas. The exception to this is the Mined Land Wildlife Area #30, near Oswego, with deep waters cold enough to allow year-round trout fishing. On this area, a trout stamp is required year-round.