I was reminded again this last week that I don’t often give much love to the trout fishing available in our area. This is very true, and I am sorry to area trout anglers that you get neglected. Many of the trout anglers like to go unnoticed. This is a different breed of anglers who also keeps things more secret than those that fish for other species.
We have several lakes in the area that are managed well for rainbow trout. The most popular, and the one that receives the most trout angling pressure is Bad Medicine.
Trolling artificial baits or spinners for suspended fish is very popular on Bad Medicine, and has a history of producing nice catches. Using a slip bobber rig with a crawler can also be deadly.
Using your electronics to locate the suspended fish is key. Learning how to use snap weights, dipsey or jet divers can be helpful in getting baits to fish just over the tops of their heads to entice bites. Depth control is critical.
Close to Detroit Lakes, Hanson Lake, located on the way to Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, has rainbow trout. The lake has a primitive access, but is easily accessible with medium- to small-size boats. This is also an easy lake to be fished with a kayak or canoe. Shoreline areas can be casted with spinners, split shot rigs tipped with crawlers or gulp can be fished on the edges that drop to deeper water. Slip bobber action can be had here as well.
Several lakes in Maplewood State Park are managed for rainbows, but Bass Lake is the most popular. Nice eating-size rainbows in the 12-17 inch range are commonly caught even from shore. As with most rainbow lakes, the “dog days” of August can be a prime time to get in on the action with these willing biters.
Brown trout are also available in the area. Several lakes in the area have browns in them, including Straight Lake, but I rarely hear of any lake catches of browns. Most of the brown trout in the area get caught out of the Straight River.
Fishing bends in the river, deeper pools, and cuts in the bank, can offer up brown trout up to 20 inches. Many cast spinners, fish split shot rigs with crawlers, or fly fish for action on the Straight. It is important to be stealthy. These fish are “hunted” as much as they are “fished.”
This time of year, brush and bugs can be an issue. Chasing brownies is a test of fishing savvy and tenacity.
A simple slit up the belly makes for easy cleaning of these fish. Many cut the heads and tails off before cooking, but many old school purists still cook the whole fish. These can be great cooked over the open campfire, on the grill, or fried in the pan. Trout can also be baked, or broiled. Baking is easy at 350 degrees for about a half-hour after they have been seasoned to your taste. Some like a little squeeze of lemon also. When baked, the fish is easily separated from the skin. I am not a trout specialist, but I have had my successes with pursuing these fighting machines.
Hopefully, this helps you neglected trout lovers feel a little more loved and appreciated.
(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)