DNR stocking efforts help ensure diverse angling opportunities
For some, trout angling is an ice fishing tradition combining fun, family time outdoors and — if luck is good — something for the frying pan.
Although walleye, pike and panfish are the species targeted by most Minnesota ice anglers, stream trout on inland lakes can be targeted starting Saturday, Jan. 14. Stream trout species that anglers can catch in lakes include brook, brown, rainbow and splake. Approximately 40% of anglers who purchase a trout stamp in Minnesota fish inland lakes managed for stream trout. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages seven natural lakes and three mine pit lakes in the Grand Rapids area for stream trout. Designated trout lakes include Camp Four, Deepwater, Erskine, Kremer, Lucky, Moonshine and Pickerel lakes, along with Kinney, LaRue and Tioga mine pit lakes. Designated trout lakes are typically stocked with trout once per year in the spring or fall.
Staff from the DNR and the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board stocked trout from the Spire Valley, Crystal Springs and Lanesboro state fish hatcheries into nine of the Grand Rapids area’s ten designated trout lakes this year:
- Camp Four Lake, 11 miles northeast of Chisholm, received 375 yearling brook trout.
- Erskine Lake, 13 miles northeast of Bigfork, received 2,740 fingerling splake.
- Kremer Lake, 16 miles north of Grand Rapids, received 3,600 yearling rainbow troutll.
- Lucky Lake, 14 miles north of Grand Rapids, received 600 yearling brown trout.
- Moonshine Lake, 17 miles north of Grand Rapids, received 500 yearling rainbow trout.
- Pickerel Lake (McCarthy Beach State Park), 15 miles northwest of Chisholm, received 335 yearling splake.
- LaRue mine pit in Nashwauk received 1,500 yearling rainbow trout.
- Kinney mine pit in Kinney received 2,400 yearling rainbow trout.
- Tioga mine pit, three miles south of Cohasset, received 2,100 yearling rainbow trout.
- Deepwater Lake will be stocked in 2023.
“Stocking these stream trout species offers trout angling opportunities and the chance for fresh fish for the dinner table,” said Matt Ward, DNR Grand Rapids assistant area fisheries supervisor. “The area’s trout lakes offer unique ice fishing experiences, with water clarity allowing anglers to see the bottom in 20 feet of water on some lakes.”
Ward noted that each species of stream trout may behave differently from one another and differently during summer and winter seasons. He said he recommends doing a little pre-fishing homework and bringing a variety of baits. Good options include small artificial baits with a fish scent, live leeches, worms, wax worms and frozen minnows. Live minnows aren’t allowed on designated trout lakes.
Seasonal trout fishing on the lakes above requires an annual angling license and a trout stamp. Anglers fishing trout these lakes with a 24- or 72-hour angling license are not required to purchase a trout stamp. Fishing hours for stream trout on inland waters run from one hour before sunrise to 11 p.m. The 2023 winter season for anglers on the lakes listed above is from Saturday, Jan. 14, through Friday, March 31, while the summer season is from Saturday, May 13, through Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023.
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 page and in the Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook.