Barbs and Backlashes

Spring Trout Stockings by whitetips
March 23, 2010, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: ,

Spring Trout Stocking Scheduled

LINCOLN, Neb. – Catchable-size rainbow trout are being stocked in waters throughout the state late this month, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The fish are approximately 10 inches in length and stocked to provide families with spring fishing opportunities, especially in city lakes and ponds.

The dates, locations and approximate time of stockings are:

March 24 – Niobrara State Park (SP)

March 25 – Qwest Lake at Eugene T. Mahoney SP; Windmill State Recreation Area (SRA) No. 1, Gibbon; North Park, Holdrege; Auble Pond, Ord

March 26 – Auburn Fairgrounds Lake, Fremont Lakes SRA No. 2

March 27 – TaHaZouka Park, Norfolk, 9:30 a.m.; Barnett Park, McCook, 10 a.m.;  Such’s Lake, Grand Island, 10:15 a.m.; Pawnee Park West, Columbus, 11 a.m.; Heartwell Park, Hastings, 11:15 a.m.; Lake Halleck, Papillion, 11:15 a.m.; Holmes Lake, Lincoln, 11:15 a.m.; Lexington City Lake, noon; Steinhart Park, Nebraska City, 12:45 p.m.; Elm Creek, 2:30 p.m.

Stocking dates may be changed by weather conditions. Times are approximate.

Read the 2010 Fishing Guide for information on regulations and public fishing areas. Fishing permits may be purchased at

Two Rivers Trout Lake

One other thing I will add to that news release–more trout are scheduled to be stocked at Two Rivers Trout Lake next week.  Anglers have been averaging 3 trout per tag there so far and are catching 1.8 trout/hour.

How to catch them?

Keep in mind that the catchable-size rainbows that are being stocked have lived their entire lives in a fish hatchery.  They are used to swimming around in a raceway or pond and having artificial feed dropped on top of them.  These fish are not rocket-surgeons or brain scientists.  I have seen them start biting as soon as they come off the hatchery truck, in fact I have seen them suck #12 Marlboro Butts off the surface as soon as they came off the hatchery truck.  But usually they will bite better after they have had a day or two to acclimate to their new environment.  Once they are stocked, they often cruise the shoreline or a drop-off like they would in a hatchery pond or raceway.  Corners or points will tend to concentrate cruising fish; you will often find fish in the vicinity of the stocking location too.  Trout have an excellent sense of smell and will sample a variety of baits as they try to figure out what is food and what is not.  Nightcrawlers will work as well as a variety of prepared baits.  For example, there are a variety of PowerBait products made just for trout, and they will catch fish!, Some folks like to try corn and cheese, and those will catch fish too; so will a variety of commercially-prepared salmon eggs.  If you are still-fishing for the trout start fishing near the bottom, but I would recommend getting your bait up off of the bottom a few inches to make it easier for the trout to find.  You can use floating jig-heads to float your baits off the bottom or consider adding a small marshmallow to your hook to float the bait off the bottom and provide even more attraction.  Keep your eyes open as the trout may be cruising way off the bottom at times and you will be able to spot those fish.  Suspending baits below a float (i.e. “bobber”) would be another presentation to try especially if you see fish cruising higher in the water column.

The catchable-size rainbows are also curious especially as they are sampling new baits and learning what to eat.  Besides appealing to their senses of smell and taste, use some color to attract their attention.  A good way to cover some water and find fish would be to throw some small spinners, spoons, or crankbaits that give off some flash.  Even though the put-and-take rainbows have been raised on artificial feed, fly-anglers can get them to bite too.  Initially some wet flies or nymph patterns that just look “buggy” or have some bright attractive colors will get some curious fish to bite.  Later on, after the trout have acclimated to their new environment, they will begin to feed on aquatic insects and other prey items found in the waters in which they were stocked and fly anglers should try to imitate those natural food items.  Even keep your eyes open on warm afternoons as those rainbows will take advantage of insect hatches that occur (likely some type of midge).

Found this picture on the internet. This is the fly pattern I would recommend if those catchable rainbows are feeding on #12 Marlboro Butts.

What to do with them?

My preference for any trout or salmon would be smoked!  If I chose to harvest a trout, I just field-dress it, remove the gills and “guts”, and leave the head and fins on the fish.  I brine my trout overnight in a brine I mix to taste with water, a lot of brown sugar, some salt, some lemon juice and some garlic.  After brining I rinse ’em and throw ’em on the smoker.  Once they are done just peal the skin back and start eating!  Put some chunks on crackers if you want or just dig in and eat!

My buddy Greg has some other suggestions for preparing your trout, .

Final thoughts

The catchable size rainbows are being stocked in heavily fished urban and parks waters around the state because we want folks to get out this spring and GO FISH!  This stocking strategy is called “put and take” because we expect folks to take, harvest most of the catchable rainbows we stock.  In fact if folks are not harvesting at least 80% of those catchable-size rainbows then we are not getting enough use on those waters.  The trout will NOT be able to survive in most of the waters in which these put-&-take stockings occur once the water warms into the 70’s.  We hope anglers harvest all of them before the water gets too warm.  But let me be blunt for a moment–we do not stock these catchable-size rainbows in parks and urban waters so a bunch of adults can come out and fill their freezers with trout!  We do these stockings to provide some easy fishing opportunities, especially when the water is relatively cold, for kids and beginning anglers!  Please find a kid, find someone who is not an angler and take them along to catch some of the put-&-take trout.  Get ’em hooked!


4 Comments so far
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I have always had better luck with un-filtered “Lucky-Strikes” They come in a red package. As the prey base grows, you may want to switch to “Swisher Sweets” or perhap Imported Cubans. Sometime chumming your fishing spot with a little “Redman” or Beechnut will help.

Comment by Ron Fry

Just wondering why you stocked lake Number 2 at the fremont State Lakes instead of Lake 5 that has always been done in the past?

Comment by Ken

I believe we have had some water quality issues on Fremont #5, so we thought #2 would be a better destination for those catchable trout.

Daryl B.

Comment by whitetips

[…] fishing tips for these hatchery-reared, put & take rainbow trout in this previous blog post, […]

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