Weather Forecast


Minnesota offers many opportunities to trout fish

In the last two weeks I have had multiple conversations with several different trout anglers. This has been a good reminder for me to make mention of the many trout fishing options available in our state. I am aware that I am a walleye nut, and may tend to focus attention that direction more than I do for other fish species. I am a walleye snob. I admit it.

In our area we also have muskie maniacs, bass nuts, crappie kings, northern pike fanatics, and the sunfish lovers. I always seem to forget about the trout hunters.

I am referring to the stream trout that live in some of our streams and lakes. These include the splake, brook, brown, and rainbow trout. I spent a good share of time hunting these fish myself some years ago, so I am surprised I forget to give them their due.

Most of the trout hunters sneak onto the streams like the Straight for brown trout, the small rainbow trout lakes like Hanson, or on to the famous Bad Medicine Lake. These fishermen keep quiet, have fun catching great fighting fish, and then enjoy a meal of fresh trout. They like us to forget about them so they can keep the fisheries to themselves.

If you have fished for trout, especially stream trout, then you know why I call them hunters. You have to tune into nature and be very sneaky, as the stream trout will spook easy. The southeastern part of the state and northern Iowa are widely recognized as the "go to" locations for excellent trout fishing, but our area has some great opportunities as well. The DNR publishes a stream and lake map book that is available by calling the toll free number 1-888-646-6367.

Steam trout fishing is open until March 31. In Becker and Hubbard counties you cannot fish for stream trout in the lakes until the May 14 opener, and that season will stay open until Oct. 31. When the lake season opens for stream trout, the limit will be five combined with no more than three over 16 inches. In our area, the stream season will be closed from March 31 until April 14. When the stream season opens April 14, the limit will be five combined with not more than one over 16 inches. Southeast Minnesota has a catch and release season available from April 1 through April 15. The southeast area includes the counties of Houston, Fillmore, Mower, Dodge, Olmstead, Winona, Wabasha, and Goodhue.

Just a reminder, you need a trout stamp along with your regular fishing license. Make sure you pick up the new 2011 regulation book when you get your licenses and stamps. There are several changes and additions to the regulations for areas, limits, border water differences, and lakes. It is impossible to remember all the special regulations, and the regulation book is your handy guide for clarification on all information related to fishing in our great state.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)