St. LOUIS, Mo.—You don’t often see a rainbow in the middle of winter . . . unless of course it’s at the end of your fishing line.
During winter months, the metro St. Louis area is a great place to fish for rainbow trout, thanks to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) winter trout program.
Winter trout season for MDC’s St. Louis Urban Fishing Program starts in November. That’s good news for trout chasers who now to need drive only minutes to pursue their passions rather than hours to a Missouri trout park.
During cold-weather months, MDC normally stocks nearly 40,000 rainbow trout each year in 12 St. Louis City and County lakes, Union City Lake in Franklin County, as well as in five lakes in the August A. Busch Conservation Area on Route D in St. Charles.
“MDC will stock rainbow trout November through February,” said MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Denise Otto. “These trout are spawned and raised in MDC hatcheries.”
Anglers will be pleased to know that there will be no reductions for the 2021-2022 winter trout program.
In addition, MDC will continue to add several brood stock lunker trout—some as large as 10 lbs.—into the mix at its urban winter trout lakes, including the ones in August A. Busch Conservation Area.
Area lakes stocked with winter trout include:
- Carondelet Park Boathouse Lake in St. Louis
- Gendron Lake in St. Ann
- January-Wabash Lake in Ferguson
- Jefferson Lake in Forest Park
- Koeneman Park Lake in Jennings
- O’Fallon Park Lake in St. Louis
- Suson Park’s Island Lake and Carp Lake
- Tilles Park Lake in St. Louis County
- Union City Lake in Union, Franklin County
- Walker Lake in Kirkwood
- Wild Acres Park Lake in Overland
- Vlasis Park Lake in Ballwin
- August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area lakes 3, 21, 22, 23 and 28
Between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31, some lakes are catch-and-release only, and some are catch-and-keep. After Feb. 1, trout may be harvested from all lakes. Anglers can find information on specific winter trout lakes statewide at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zd5, or check regulations posted at the lakes. All trout anglers between age 16 and 64 must have a valid Missouri fishing permit to participate. Anglers wishing to catch and keep trout must also possess a trout permit regardless of age.
MDC provides a chance for anglers to keep on top of trout stocking efforts in the St. Louis area.
“The fish stocking hotline is a very popular resource for St. Louis area anglers,” Otto said, “the hotline is updated immediately after we finish stocking for the day. The number is toll free from anywhere in the St. Louis area. A recorded message lets anglers know when and where fish were stocked, total number stocked, and species stocked.”
Anglers are encouraged to call the hotline at 636-300-9651 to get the latest information.
“Nothing beats fishing at one of Missouri’s four trout parks or many Ozark streams,” said Otto, “however, these close-to-home opportunities make it easy for a quick trout fishing excursion after work, or during a busy weekend. With rising fuel costs these close-to-home opportunities are more important than ever.”
For information about fishing, go online at https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/