The biggest of the trout were unloaded by net so the crowd could see, with some weighing as much as 6 or 7 pounds, to the delight of the onlookers. Afterward, the remaining trout were funneled into the water through a long, plastic tube and the fish stayed mostly in the shallows while adapting to their new home, occasionally splashing and thrilling the younger onlookers. A couple trout were even nipping at each other’s tails.
The lake will now be closed to fishing until 6 a.m. Nov. 3 to allow the fish time to disperse, giving trout anglers ample time to get their gear ready and purchase a trout license.
There are several ways to target trout, but it helps to have the right line. Trout have terrific eyes, making a light line a necessity. Four- to 10-pound test fluorocarbon or Leland’s Lures Trout S.O.S. Line work well for a leader line, and I typically use 10-pound braided line for the main line as it has high sensitivity and low stretch. My personal preference is Sufix 832 Advanced Superline in high-vis yellow for the main line as it helps me see the line and know if something is running with my lure.
There are a variety of lures and baits specially made to target trout, depending on how you want to fish for them.
Mepps spinners, Vibric Rooster Tails and Little Cleos are great for anglers who prefer to actively fish, as trout will eagerly chase them down while running in the shallows. Yakima’s Mag Lip lures also work well either retrieved or trolled, and they’ll readily chase a curly-tailed grub on a crappie jig, as well.
Berkley PowerBait Floating Mouse Tails work well when fished suspended under a float or just off the bottom on a drop shot, as do Berkley’s PowerBait trout dough or nibbles, salmon eggs, minnows, wax worms and pieces of corn. Freshly stocked trout will typically stay close to shore and run in shallow water, so keep that in mind when setting the depth of your bait.
Fly fishing is a popular option for trout, but not everyone owns a fly rod or knows how to use one. Another option is to tie a dry fly onto your line on your regular rod and reel and use a bobber as weight to cast the line out. Give it about 18-24 inches of space from the bobber to the fly and slowly reel the jig and bobber back toward you. This works similarly to fly casting and can catch top-feeding trout fairly well.
Fishing guide Clyde Holscher said in an interview last year that he also likes to use Ned Rigs to go “bass fishing for trout” and will sometimes cut the Z-Man TRD stickbaits in half to make it more bite-sized for the trout. He also uses Pro-Cure scent on the plastic to help draw in fish.
“If you’re bank fishing, be very patient,” Holscher said in that article, “because they’ll come through, and if whoever’s to the left or the right of you 40 yards catches a fish, get ready. They’re coming through any minute. Until those fish are harvested or weeded out a little bit, that’s just the way it is.”
Local angler “Catfish” Cody Hatridge says he likes fishing PowerBait either off the bottom or under a bobber, adding that he uses Rooster Tails a lot, as well. He says there are many reasons he likes to trout fish.
For those who’ve never caught a trout before, they may be surprised at just how slippery they are to hold onto. Trout are covered in a protective slime coating that helps prevent them from getting sick. Anglers are often told to wet their hands before handling a trout to keep the membrane from coming off if they are going to catch and release fish.
Anglers will need to purchase a trout license for $14.50 through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism or at sporting goods stores. Licenses can be purchased online through the KDWPT’s website, http://www.ksoutdoors.com, and can be set to be automatically renewed. Licenses now last 365 days from their purchase instead of ending with the calendar year, meaning anglers will only need to purchase one permit this trout season. The daily creel limit is five trout per day with a possession limit of 15.
Heated dock to open Nov. 1
For those wanting to go trout fishing but not wanting to endure the cold weather, there’s some good news.
Lake Shawnee’s heated dock will reopen Nov. 1 and remain open through March 31. Anglers will be able to fish inside the dock from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day except for Christmas and New Year’s Day, when the dock is closed, and when the lake is closed to fishing because of trout stockings.