By T. Scott Boatright
Rainbow trout are not a native species to Louisiana, but they are considered a fun and exciting fish to catch.
And now there are plenty to be found in Lincoln Parish.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries began stocking 17 sites across Louisiana with adult-size rainbow trout, including Elmore Mayfield Park in Ruston and City Park in Grambling on Tuesday.
While rainbow trout are native to rivers and lakes in western North America, their popularity as a sport fish has increased stocking efforts throughout the U.S. The LDWF stocks this cold-water species when water temperatures cool off during winter months.
Water has to be at least 68 degrees or lower for trout to survive, so fishers are encouraged to keep their catch and stock up their freezers so the trout will be harvested before temperatures begin warming up.
There is a five fish per day trout catch limit in Louisiana.
The LDWF’s trout-stocking initiative is part of The Get Out & Fish! Program funded by the Sport Fish Restoration Fund, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant program that provides grant funds to states across the country as well as the District of Columbia and insular areas fish and wildlife agencies for fishery projects, boating access and aquatic education.
Anglers 18 years old and older must possess a Louisiana fishing license when fishing in any Louisiana public waters. Licenses are available for purchase online at https://louisianaoutdoors.com/
According to takemefishing.org, it’s best to pick a medium-weight one that’s about six or seven feet in length and pair it with a spinning reel and four or six-pound monofilament line.
Those fishing for trout will also need to stock up on sinkers, swivels, hooks and bobbers.
Trout are said to strike at both live bait and artificial lures. Live bait to use includes insects like crickets as well as minnows, fish eggs and nightcrawlers.
Because stocked trout are likely to have been raised on corn pellets, they have a natural attraction to it. Rigging a kernel of corn on a hook is fairly straight-forward. The easiest way is to thread the hook down the middle and double back on the kernel so the hook is tucked in. This will help prevent the rig from snagging while on the bottom of the lake or river.
Outdoorlife.com says the best artificial lure for rainbow trout fishing is a Trout Magnet. Rather than a standard round ball jig, the magnet body attaches to an angled dart-style head.
The body is mealworm-shaped and comes in a variety of colors and the unique head allows the lure to swim and weave, even in currents, with effectively no effort from anglers using them.
For additional stocking information, including specific locations, the stocking schedule, and tips and tricks to catch rainbow trout, go online to www.wlf.louisiana.gov/GOF.