Minnesota’s stream trout season opens this Saturday, April 15, and with the early spring weather of 2017 anglers should find good fishing conditions around much of the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“Trout fishing is getting more and more popular in Minnesota and there are quality trout fishing opportunities in every region of the state,” said Brian Nerbonne, DNR stream habitat consultant. “The opportunities are improving through the hard work of improving trout habitat, sound land use and science-based management that anglers pay for when they buy fishing licenses and trout stamps.”
In southeast Minnesota, which offers some of the best trout fishing in the upper Midwest, DNR fisheries biologists say the past three mild winters, along with the absence of spring flooding, have led to good reproduction and healthy populations of brown trout.
Crews also have been out stocking yearling rainbow trout in some streams and ponds to provide a greater variety of angling opportunities. Barring heavy rain close to opening day, flows are expected to be moderate with clear water. The southeast boasts more than 700 miles of designated trout streams and over 200 miles of angling easements to provide ample access.
Spring weather is still taking hold in northeast Minnesota streams, limiting fishing for resident trout, but steelhead have begun arriving in North Shore tributary streams and present an opportunity to tangle with one of these feisty fish. In the northwestern region, trout fishing opportunities are available to fish for large brown trout on places like the Straight River, or brook trout on Kabekona Creek.
For Twin Cities anglers looking to stay close, Dakota County’s Vermillion River offers the opportunity to catch lunker brown trout at a number of publicly accessible spots along the stream. All brown trout must be immediately released. Rainbow trout, however, can now be harvested anywhere on the Vermillion, a new opportunity that began in 2016 and coincides with increased stocking at multiple locations.
“Minnesota trout anglers get an incredible bargain for what they pay in fishing license dollars and trout stamps,” said John Lenczewski, executive director of Minnesota Trout Unlimited. “Trout Unlimited is happy to work with the DNR to make fishing opportunities better all around the state, which benefits our state’s $5.5 billion tourism industry.”
Minnesota has roughly 3,800 miles of designated trout streams. Its five coldwater hatcheries produce more than 1.7 million fingerlings and yearlings for stocking each year. Anglers fishing on designated trout waters must have a trout validation in addition to an angling license. Last year, 108,000 licenses were validated for trout, a third consecutive year of record sales.
More information on trout fishing opportunities can be found at www.mndnr.gov/fishing/trout_streams. Information about local fisheries work and office contacts can be found from mndnr.gov/LicenseDollarsAtWork.