For some, it’s a springtime tradition combining fun, family time outdoors, and — if luck is good — something for the frying pan.
Although walleye were the species targeted by most northern Minnesota anglers starting May 15, the date also coincided with the fishing opener for stream trout on inland lakes. Species defined as stream trout include brook, brown, rainbow and splake.
Approximately 40 percent of anglers who purchase a trout stamp in Minnesota fish inland lakes managed for stream trout. Grand Rapids area fisheries manages three mine pit lakes and seven natural lakes for stream trout. The DNR typically stocks trout in these lakes once per year. Stocked waters include Kremer, Lucky, Moonshine, Erskine, Camp Four, Deepwater, Pickerel, LaRue, Tioga and Kinney lakes.
In May, DNR staff stocked trout from the Spire Valley, Crystal Springs and Lanesboro state fish hatcheries into five lakes in the Grand Rapids area:
- Kremer Lake 16 miles north of Grand Rapids received 3,600 yearling brown trout.
- Erskine Lake 13 miles northeast of Bigfork received 1,700 yearling rainbow trout.
- Camp Four Lake 11 miles northeast of Chisholm received 375 yearling brook trout.
- Pickerel Lake (McCarthy Beach State Park) 15 miles northwest of Chisholm received 1,425 yearling rainbow trout.
- LaRue mine pit in Nashwauk received 1,000 yearling rainbow trout.
“Stocking these stream trout species in the lakes in our area offers trout angling opportunities, good scenery while fishing, as well as fish for the dinner table,” said Matt Ward, DNR Grand Rapids assistant area fisheries supervisor. “It’s a unique angling experience, with anglers either socializing in groups of camping chairs along shore, carrying in a canoe, or fishing solo from kayaks.”
Ward noted that each species of stream trout may behave differently from one another as well as between summer and winter seasons. He recommends doing a little pre-fishing homework and bringing a variety of baits. Good options include artificial soft plastic baits with a fish scent, live leeches, worms, wax worms and frozen minnows. Live minnows cannot be possessed on designated trout lakes. Fly anglers also experience success, especially early or late in the day.
To fish for trout in these lakes, an annual angling license and a trout stamp are required,
(or a 24- or 72-hour angling license, which does not require the trout stamp). Fishing hours for stream trout on inland waters run from one hour before sunrise to 11 p.m. The 2021 summer season for anglers on these lakes is from May 15 through Oct. 31, and the winter season is from Jan. 15 to March 31, 2022.
Anglers can find stocking and fish survey information using the DNR Lakefinder. More information about fishing for stream trout in lakes can be found on the DNR fishing webpage and in the Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook.