The Iowa DNR annual fall program to stock trout in ponds and lakes near towns and cities is underway and will continue through October.
Northeast Iowa regional fisheries supervisor, Mike Steuck, says they’ve already done six stockings and have 12 more planned. “Usually around a thousand to 2,500 fish per stocking. And it’s an effort to get people excited in communities — our largest communities — and get them excited about going fishing,” Steuck explains.
He says some trout reproduce or are stocked in northern streams in the state — but they have to wait until fall to bring them to other areas. “We wait until water temps get below 60 degrees because those trout can’t survive in warmer water temps,” Steuck explains. “And so, it allows the fish to survive and we only stock rainbow trout catchable-size about a pound apiece and ten to 12 inches in length in hopes that they all get caught out of there — which they usually do.”
The trout stocking has been big events in the past where they invite people out to see them put into the water. The pandemic changed their plans this year. He says they usually have community fishing events with prizes and other things, but this year they are not announcing it until after the fish are in the pond.
You often see people out fly fishing for trout in streams — but Stueck says these trout don’t take any special gear to catch.
“You can basically catch them with a hook and a nightcrawler, a hook and a piece of corn, marshmallows work, a little piece of hot dog, about anything you want in terms of bait,” he says.
The sale of fishing licenses are up and Steuck says trout stamps are too. He says they don’t keep track of how many people catch and release or take their catch home to eat. “I’ve got to believe there are a few more people keeping fish to eat. And that’s more than fine, that’s what our fisheries are for,” Stueck says. “If we are worried about over harvest or something like that — there would typically be some kind of regulation put in place in terms of harvest, or a length limit, or something like that.”
The trout have already been stocked in Banner Lake (Indianola), Big Lake (Council Bluffs), Sand Lake (Marshalltown), Moorland Pond (Fort Dodge), North Prairie Lake (Cedar Falls), and Heritage Pond (Dubuque).
You can check the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/trout to find out about the next trout stockings. Anglers need a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. The daily limit is five trout per licensed angler with a possession limit of 10. Children age 15 or younger can fish for trout with a properly licensed adult, but they must limit their catch to one daily limit. The child can purchase a trout fee which will allow them to catch their own limit.