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Spring trout opener (but not for us)

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Spring trout season opens tomorrow.

I understand it is one of the most popular events in Illinois fishing.

But our family won't be doing it. Last fall, a guy offered to change my mind and maybe I will take him up on it again some time.

Here's why I don't go for spring trout.

The last time our family went spring trout fishing, we only had two kids and the second boy was a baby. And we lived on the North Side.

That baby is now 12. And the two kids who came after him have never participated in catchable trout.

I was so revolted by the conduct of the adults at the Cook County forest preserve lakes that I just stopped going. Trout season should be for kids (I understand the money comes from the inland trout stamp for adults). It wasn't just the poaching, but the adults hogging the spots to access the schooled up trout bugged me even more.

In my view, it makes more sense to take my kids bluegill fishing in a pond or perch fishing when they are in at Navy Pier.

That's my take.

Either way, here is the IDNR release on trout season. DuPage residents should know a couple other lakes are also stocked, not just the ones on the IDNR list.

2009 Spring Trout Season Opens April 4 Rainbow Trout Stocked at 43 Locations in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, IL - The 2009 spring trout fishing season in Illinois will begin at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 4, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller announced today.

"The first Saturday in April is always a big day for families to go fishing in Illinois thanks to the opener of the spring trout season," Miller said. "Getting children outdoors to experience the fun of fishing is one of the many benefits of our catchable trout program. Anglers of all ages can join in the fun as we stock trout at 43 locations throughout the state."

The IDNR stocks more than 60,000 rainbow trout each spring in bodies of water where trout fishing is permitted during the spring season. The Illinois catchable trout program is made possible through the sale of inland trout stamps to those anglers who participate.

Inland trout stamps are available for $6.50 each at DNR Direct license and permit vendors, IDNR offices in Springfield, Chicago, Sterling, Bartlett, Clinton, Alton, and Benton. They may also be purchased with a credit card through the IDNR web site at or by phone at 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648).

To legally participate in the trout fishing program, anglers must have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp. The annual fishing licenses for the 2009 season is valid through March 31, 2010. Anglers may also purchase a 24-hour Illinois fishing license, which includes trout fishing privileges for the 24-hour period the license is valid. A license is required for fishing in Illinois unless the angler is otherwise exempt (under age 16, blind or disabled, or is an Illinois resident on active military service who is home on leave).

Anglers may not take trout from any of the stocked sites from March 15 to the opening of the season on April 4 at 5 a.m. Anyone attempting to take trout before the legal opening will be issued citations. During the spring trout season, the daily possession limit for trout is five fish.

Anglers are reminded to check in advance for any site-specific regulations and the opening time of their favorite trout fishing location. While the statewide spring trout season opens at 5 a.m. on April 4, some locations may have a later opening time.

For more information about the trout stocking program check the web site at

Stocked sites (by county) for the spring catchable trout program:

Adams County: Siloam Springs State Park Lake.
Boone County: Mill Race Ponds in Belvidere.
Bureau County: Hennepin Canal Parkway.
Cass County: Gurney Road Pond at Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area.
Champaign County: Lake of the Woods.
Christian County: Manners Park Pond, Taylorville Park District
Cook County: Axehead Lake, Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Cook County: Belleau Lake, Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Cook County: Sag Quarry East, Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Coles County: Eastern Illinois University Campus Pond in Charleston.
DuPage County: Silver Lake, DuPage County Forest Preserve District.
Grundy County: Gebhard Woods State Park Pond.
Jefferson County: Mount Vernon Game Farm Pond.
Jo Daviess County: Apple River and tributaries.
Johnson County: Ferne Clyffe State Park Lake.
Kankakee County: Bird Park Quarry in Kankakee.
Kankakee County: Rock Creek (Kankakee River State Park).
Kendall County: Big Lake at Silver Springs State Park.
Lake County: Banana Lake, Lake County Forest Preserve District.
Lake County: Sand Lake at Illinois Beach State Park.
LaSalle County: Illinois and Michigan Canal at Utica
Macon County: Sportsman's Club Pond, Macon County Conservation District
Marion County: Boston Pond at Stephen A. Forbes State Park.
Massac County: Fairgrounds Pond in Fort Massac State Park, Metropolis.
McLean County: Miller Park Lake in Bloomington.
McHenry County: Lake Atwood, Hollows Conservation Area, McHenry County Conservation District.
McHenry County: Piscasaw Creek.
Moultrie County: Wyman Lake in Sullivan.
Ogle County: Pine Creek in White Pines State Forest.
Randolph County: Derby Lake at World Shooting and Recreational Complex, Sparta
St. Clair County: Frank Holten State Park main lake.
St. Clair County: Jones Park Lake in East St. Louis.
Sangamon County: Illinois Department of Transportation Lake in Springfield.
Sangamon County: Washington Park Pond in Springfield.
Shelby County: Forest Park Lagoon in Shelbyville.
Stephenson County: Waddams Creek (Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park).
Stephenson County: Yellow Creek in Krape Park, Freeport.
Vermilion County: Clear Lake at Kickapoo State Park.
Wabash County: Beall Woods Lake, Beall Woods State Park
Wayne County: Sam Dale Conservation Area Trout Pond.
Whiteside County: Coleta Trout Ponds.
Will County: Lake Milliken at Des Plaines Conservation Area.
Winnebago County: Kent Creek in Page Park, Rockford.

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I sincerely hope we can somehow talk the IDNR into stopping the practice of putting non-native rainbows into our rivers and streams.
Some will argue that they all get caught, die off in the warmer months...those are excuses for an irresponsible environmental decision.
The IDNR used to have numbers of staff that could monitor the circus atmosphere in places like Rock Creek.
This is no longer the case.
Take a trip out on opening day this year and count the fish (besides trout) that get poached and the litter around the stream.

As long as they are stocked in lakes and ponds, I'm a big fan of the program, but I draw the line on river systems.

I remember the first year they started this program I tried to hit the ponds here in Lake County. I too was disgusted at the conduct of the adults. First, they were keeping any trout they caught no matter what the size. Secondly there was garbage left behind everywhere. I can't believe that adults (especially with children) would ever set examples for the kids like they did. They should be teaching the kids to follow the rules and clean up after their selves. Kids learn from example and the examples they have shown are deplorable. I was so sickened by their conduct that I haven't tried trout fishing (here) since. People, PLEASE try to show some respect for our great outdoors,(we're getting less every year) especially if you are fishing with children. Try to remember kids mimic what they see their elders do. Stick to the size and creel limits. And try to practice my personal #1 rule, "the ONLY thing you leave behind is footprints"( I am constantly disgusted by the litter I see at the parks).
If we do this we can hopefully be sure that our children and their children will always be able to go out for a wonderful day of fishing and have a good catch (if they are biting) and a nice clean place to enjoy our outdoors!
Hoping you have a good catch,

This is one of the worst wastes of money. If you are dead set on having a chance to catch a trout, in non native settings, then just have a free day at the trout hatchery and let people fish there. Save the gas for the stocking trucks, the manpower for dumping the fish off, and protect our few natural areas with habitat anywhere approaching the condition needed for trout to survive. Instead, we encourage a stampede of artificial anglers to trash our few best remaining places, and only there to take what was just put in. Where is the sport in that, and how does that protect and sustain our natural resources. A bluegill on a bamboo rod will do far more to introduce and develop young sportsmen into the wonders of the great outdoors and how to be a lifetime steward of the resource.

I have twin nephews that I had the "honor" of teaching to fish as their father isn't really a fisherman. Back when they were about 6 years old I told my brother (their father) I would take them fishing. he told me he doubted I would be able to keep them interested long enough to turn them into fishermen. So, what I did was go get a bunch of leaf worms, we went to the pond and my brother watched as I gave them each a pole with about an inch of red worm on it and then let them cast out about 4-10 feet from shore. My brother thought I was nuts but soon found out that he couldn't even relax as they were catching little bluegill faster then he could bait their hooks. EVERY cast had a little bluegill in about a minute. Granted the fish were only a couple inches long but the “action” was fast enough to keep their attention and kids had a blast (not to mention they learned about catch and release as well) I explained to my brother that when it comes to teaching kids (that age) to fish it's quantity instead of quality of the fish you want to catch. Needless to say, my nephews now think I'm the greatest fisherman that ever walked the earth and they are now avid fishermen since their first fishing trip they caught dozens of fish in very little time and never had a chance to lose interest. Of course as time goes by they are developing patience and now enjoy the fishing even if they aren't biting every minute. They now realize that if they want to catch that/those big one(s) they need to be patient, but they will always remember catching all those fish on their first outing! Every summer they can hardly wait for their fishing trip with Uncle Carl!

I am not sure what to say to this article. This was my first year fishing the inland trout opener and I decided to try out Axehead Lake. The crowd was large and yes it was not easy to get a spot if your got there after 7, but it was not impossible, and I did not see anyone fight or squabble over a spot. I saw 4 or 5 people leave with there limit but did not see anyone leave with more (which in honesty could have been due to the total drop off of bites after sun up. I saw several children fishing, and was happy to see several people with disabilities fishing happily. Since this is a project that is funded by angler money, I do not see why there is so much animosity over it as it allows many people who may not have the physical ability, freedom of time, or knowledge of local waters to have an occasion to catch some fiesty fish.

I'm not sure what to say either. I didn't read anywhere that this was, or should be, for kids only. Let me guess, your kids didn't catch any so it everyone elses fault. Stick with bluegills.

My point was pretty clear in the first comment: "As long as they are stocked in lakes and ponds, I'm a big fan of the program, but I draw the line on river systems."

That's a bigger problem than many realize, for the reasons I stated earlier.

A study was done on trout introductions in smallmouth streams, and it was documented that smallies will leave the pool trout inhabit.
In a flow like Rock Creek, will this non-native species affect their spawning?

Just a poor environmental decision.

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That was 12 years ago, forget it. Lets our kids catch their first fish.

The few hundred pounds of trout released into the few creeks around the state cannot support a sustainable population of trout. They also, will die off towards the late spring months due to the higher water temps.

More or less the state is just feeding the few anglers to fish the stocked creeks, and the native fauna.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on April 3, 2009 5:35 PM.

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