More than 350,000 rainbow and brook trout will be heading to streams in 12 northeast Iowa counties over the next six months. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources began its weekly stocking runs on Tuesday.

The three trout hatcheries – Decorah, Big Spring and Manchester – spend one and a half years to grow the fish to stocking size of one-half pound. 

“Our stocking trucks will be going to different streams each day until the end of September when the announced stocking period ends,” said Mike Steuck, supervisor for fisheries in northeast Iowa. “We will hit as many locations as possible but not likely all because some of the stocking trails are too soft for our trucks.”

Trout will be stocked through October, but when and where is not announced.

Many anglers have already been out pursuing trout that spent all winter in the streams eating bugs and sharpening their survival skills making them more difficult to catch.

For the angler who is more novice than expert, Steuck said the key is to use light line and small tackle and to try to blend in to the background.

“These fish come off the stocking truck hungry and ready to bite, but trout have really good eyesight so you don’t want to announce your presence by wearing bright clothes or by using large tackle,” he said. “Toss your lure upstream and allow the current to bring it to the hole. Try a #4 spinner in gold, silver or black.  For live bait, I would use a red wiggler or wax worm on an ice fly.”

There are other commonly used baits, like corn, marshmallows or scented baits.


Required Licenses and Fees

Anglers age 16 and older will need to have a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout. Children under 16 years of age may fish for and possess trout if they fish with a licensed adult who has paid the current trout fee and they limit their combined catch to the daily limit of five trout.

If the child wants to fish for and keep their own limit, they only need to purchase the trout fee. 

Funding to support the stocking program comes from the sale of fishing licenses and trout fees.