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Two Rivers Trout Update

If you are a Nebraska outdoors-person you know that weather trumps everything and this spring has been nothing but a hand of wild cards.  I always say one of the best fishing options for early spring when the water is still cold is to pursue cold-water species like trout.  However, the weather is even having an impact on the trout fishing at the Two Rivers Trout Lake; only thing is it is not the impact you might expect:

Trout anglers competing with cormorants at Two Rivers SRA

LINCOLN, Neb. – Anglers at the Two Rivers State Recreation Area (SRA) trout lake are facing some stiff competition. Double-crested cormorants recently discovered the lake. As a result, the fish-eating birds have lowered the anglers’ catch rates.

A daily trout tag is required to attempt to take and to possess trout on the area March 1 through June 30. Steve Wilhelm, fish production manager at Grove Trout Rearing Station near Royal, said typical catch rates this time of year are 3.5 trout per tag. Since the cormorants arrived on April 13, the catch rates have slowed to .18 trout per tag.

Park staff has been attempting to encourage the cormorants to move off the area, but the birds may remain until the weather gets warmer. “We will not stock any more trout until the birds have at least left the area,” Wilhelm said. Trout will continue to grow at Grove Trout Rearing Station until stocked.

In March, Grove initially stocked the trout lake with 9,000 11- to 12-inch rainbow trout. In addition, staff stocked 500 11-inch tiger trout and 250 rainbow trout up to 15 inches.

Wilhelm said the trout lake is scheduled to receive about 27,000 trout this season, and 13,300 have been stocked so far. He estimated there were approximately 5,100 trout in the lake when the cormorants arrived.

“The trout lake is stocked on an as-needed basis this time of year,” Wilhelm said. “We keep track of the number of trout estimated to be remaining in the lake using the results from trout tag returns to the Two Rivers office. In April and May, this amounts to stocking about once every two weeks (about 4,000 trout per load).”

All trout caught in the lake must be harvested and not released. The daily trout tag is $6. Each tag is good for a daily bag limit of four trout. A person may have up to three tags per day and 12 trout in possession. An adult angler may have two children under the age of 16 fishing under the authority of his tag, but the group bag limit still is limited to four trout per tag.

The trout lake (Lake No. 5) is open from 7 a.m. to sunset each day. Anglers, except residents younger than age 16, must have a Nebraska fishing license. All vehicles entering the park must have a park entry permit. Anglers possessing trout on any other lake at Two Rivers SRA must have a trout tag, as well. Anglers are allowed to use one fishing rod and reel each.

Two Rivers is located near Venice in western Douglas County. For more information, call the park at 402-359-5165.

double_crested_cormorant
USFWS photo.

Pesky birds!  Double-crested Cormorants do breed in Nebraska, but by far most of those fish-eating birds only make short stops while migrating through the state in the spring and fall.  Unfortunately, this spring the migration has pulled up and the birds are wearing out their welcome.  Not a lot can be done to move them on their way as they are a protected species, and we need some warmer weather for them to continue pushing north.  I know we are all hoping that comes soon!

“Stay tuned”.  When the birds move along there will be more trout to be caught at Two Rivers.

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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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