troutA truck with a tank full of trout will start making the rounds to 17 ponds and lakes across the state Friday. Iowa Department of Natural Resources regional fisheries supervisor Mike Steuck says it’s the start of the annual program where they stock urban ponds with the trout.

“At a minimum it’ll be 1,500 fish, and it’ll be a combination of rainbow trout and brook trout. And they will all be about 10 to 12 inches or so,” Steuck says. The first two areas to get stocked are Sand Lake in Marshalltown and North Prairie Lake in Cedar Falls.

“All these waters are within 10 miles or so of an urban population. Our goal is to get people excited about fishing and so we go to these urban ponds and we stock the trout in there,” Steuck says. “They wouldn’t be able to survive in these ponds in wintertime, but when the water drops below 65 they can survive through the winter, and typically they all get caught anyways.”

He says the trout are sort of a bait to get people to seek out more fishing opportunities. “In particular trout fishing and get them more aware about the trout program — and then hopefully they’ll come up to northeast Iowa and check out our trout streams,” Steuck explains. Steuck works out of northeast Iowa and says they also stock the trout streams there through October.

“We also have 40 streams with natural reproduction of brown trout, so there’s fish in these streams all year round,” Steuck says. “So, it’s well worth the $12.50 for the trout fee to come on up and check out the leaves turning. The hardwood forests up here in the hills along our rivers and streams are gorgeous. So, it’s well worth the 12-50 to go out, even if you don’t catch any fish.”

You may’ve seen people fly fishing for trout in waders, but he says that’s not necessary and you can use regular fishing gear. He says you can catch them with a hook and bobber just like you would bluegills. Steuck says anything flashy you can put on your line will attract the trout. Steuck says the lakes and ponds appear to be ready for the stocking.”All the biologists that I’ve talked to say they are excited — they are ready to rock and roll,” according to Steuck.

You need to have a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Children age 15 or younger can fish for trout with an adult who has a license. They are limited to one trout daily. The child can purchase a trout fee which will allow them to catch their own limit.

Here is the trout stocking schedule:
Oct. 9, Sand Lake, Marshalltown, Noon
Oct. 9, North Prairie Lake, Cedar Falls, 11 a.m.
Oct. 15, Banner Lake (South), Summerset State Park, Indianola, 10:30 a.m.
Oct. 15, Big Lake, Council Bluffs, 1 p.m.
Oct. 16, Lake Petoka, Bondurant, Noon
Oct. 17, Lake of the Hills, Davenport, 10:30 a.m.
Oct. 22, Ottumwa Park Pond, Ottumwa, 11:30 a.m.
Oct. 24, Heritage Pond, Dubuque, 10 a.m.
Oct. 24, Discovery Park, Muscatine, 10 a.m.
Oct. 24, Wilson Lake, Fort Madison, Noon
Oct. 30, Terry Trueblood Lake, Iowa City, 11 a.m.
Nov. 3, Bacon Creek, Sioux City, 2 p.m.
Nov. 4, Moorland Pond, Fort Dodge, Noon
Nov. 6, Prairie Park (Cedar Bend), Cedar Rapids, 10:30 a.m.
Nov. 7, Scharnberg Pond, Spencer, Noon
Nov. 19, Ada Hayden, Ames, Noon
Nov. 25, Blue Pit, Mason City, 11 a.m.