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Fall Trout Stockings 2016

There is no doubt the most common question I have been asked the past couple of weeks would be “When are the Trout going to be stocked?”  When are the put & take, catchable-size Rainbow Trout going to be stocked in urban and parks waters across the state this fall?  Well, now I know:

Rainbow trout stockings scheduled this fall

LINCOLN – Catchable-size rainbow trout are being stocked in city ponds and lakes across the state by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. These stockings will enhance fishing opportunities this fall and winter.

Trout fishing is a great way to introduce children to fishing because simple and inexpensive equipment may be used. A spinning or spin-cast rod and reel with a hook baited with a worm will work well. Add a split shot a couple of feet above the hook and a bobber a couple of feet above the split shot. Trout also can be caught with spinners, salmon eggs, dough baits and artificial flies.

The stockings began Sept. 28 with 1,400 trout put in the northwest pit at Bridgeport State Recreation Area (SRA), 900 stocked in the Scottsbluff Zoo Pond, and 1,500 put in Rock Creek SRA Lake.

The stocked trout are approximately 10 inches in length. The following is a tentative stocking schedule, including quantities:

Oct. 3 – Grabel Ponds Nos. 1, 2 and 3, Fort Robinson State Park (SP), Crawford, 2,400 trout; Gilbert-Baker Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Pond, Harrison, 600

Oct. 5 – Morrill Ponds, Morrill: north, 1,350; middle, 450; south, 400

Oct. 11 – Crystal Cove Lake, South Sioux City, 4,250

Oct. 12 – Fremont SRA Lake No. 2, Fremont, 4,750; Benson Park Pond, Omaha, 1,050

Oct. 13 – Holmes Lake, Lincoln, 3,000; Bowling Lake, south pond, Lincoln, 400

Oct. 14 – Carter P. Johnson Lake, Fort Robinson SP, Crawford, 2,500

Oct. 17 – CenturyLink Lake, Eugene T. Mahoney SP, Ashland, 1,500; Lake Halleck, Papillion, 1,200; David City Park Pond West, David City, 600

Oct. 18 – Standing Bear Lake, Omaha, 4,000; Niobrara SP Ponds, Niobrara, 750; Curtis Golf Course Pond, Curtis, 150; Birdwood WMA, North Platte, 4,000

Oct. 19 – TaHaZouka Park Lake, Norfolk, 1,500; Pawnee Pond West, Columbus, 1,500

Oct. 20 – Standing Bear Lake, Omaha, 3,250; Hitchcock Park Pond, Omaha, 450; Towl Park Pond, 300

Oct. 24 – Fort Kearny SRA Lake No. 6, Kearney, 1,200; Holdrege City Lake, Holdrege, 2,000; Windmill SRA Lake No. 2, Gibbon, 600; Such’s Lake, Grand Island, 650; Heartwell Park Lake, Hastings, 900; Independence Landing, Seward, 600

Oct. 25 – Grove Lake, Royal, 1,250 (tentative date, sometime during the week of Oct. 24 for sure); Steinhart Park Ponds, Nebraska City, 1,200; Fairgrounds Lake, Auburn, 800; Stanton Lake, Falls City, 200; Humboldt City Park Lake, Humboldt, 600; Pawnee City Park Lake, Pawnee City, 300; Weeping Water Pond, Weeping Water, 1,500

Oct. 26 – Ord City Lake, Ord, 1,500; Melham Park Lake, Broken Bow, 1,200; Ansley City Lake, Ansley, 1,200; Oxford City Lake, Oxford, 300; Elm Creek, Red Cloud, 1,000; Lexington City Lake, Lexington, 750

Oct. 27 – Gracie Creek Pond, Burwell, 1,000

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There are some suggestions on how to catch put & take Trout in that news release; let me mention a few other things.  The Rainbow Trout that are being stocked have been raised in a fish hatchery for their entire lives.  They are used to swimming around looking for someone to throw fish feed into the water for them.  Once they are stocked that ceases, but they still tend to cruise around looking for food.  They will simply swim around, but if you can imagine edges or paths that they might swim, that will give you some ideas of where they may be concentrated.  If you know the stocking location, start there.

Although after stocking these Trout will not find pellets to eat, they are very curious and will eat a variety of prey items.  If one bait is not working for you, try something else!  They can be found just under the surface so I always start there, but again if you are not catching anything, try fishing deeper.

I am a huge fan of the PowerBait and Gulp! baits that have been developed by Berkley.  They work great for trout!  Those baits have been developed through extensive testing and they are very attractive to Trout.  If you ain’t using them already, you should be.

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Likewise things that flash and move will get the attention of these curious Trout.  Besides the spinners mentioned above, Rapala has a variety of shiny, small crankbaits that will flat out catch fish.  Use ’em!  Most times you can at least get the put & take Trout to follow those artificial baits so that you can see them and know there are Trout in the area.  Even if they only follow the artificial spinners, spoons, or crankbaits, you will know there are Trout there and then you can stay in the area, switch it up and find something they will eat.

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No, the put & take Trout have not been raised on “bugs” or insects, but after stocking they quickly learn those are food items.  They are very catchable on the fly rod.  Watch for rising fish and if you see them, try to “match the hatch”.  If not, a Woolly Bugger is always a good fly to start with; fish it with twitches and short strips.

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If I harvest Trout, a quick field-dressing and then getting them on ice is the best way to handle them.  I leave ’em like that, head attached, and then grill ’em or smoke ’em.  You know the hardest part about smoking a Trout?  Getting ’em lit.  (I apologize, just could not resist using that old, corny joke, carry on.)

I mention this every time I blog about the put & take Trout stockings and am going to mention it again. . . . Yes, these fish are stocked with the expectation that folks will harvest them; that is what we want and we especially hope that kids and beginning anglers get to catch most of them.  We do NOT intend for old anglers to fill their freezers with these fish–find a kid and take ’em fishing!

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About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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