TALKIN WITH DOKKEN: Fishing for rainbow troutBrad Dokken answers the question: Are there any other lakes in the area that one could fish for rainbows on their own, and how does fishing for trout through the ice differ from, say, panfish?
By: Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald
Q. I read recently in the Herald that the Red Lake Indian Reservation has now opened up four lakes for guided rainbow trout fishing trips. Are there any other lakes in the area that one could fish for rainbows on their own, and how does fishing for trout through the ice differ from, say, panfish?
A. North Dakota stocks rainbow trout in several small lakes across the state, along with the Turtle River at Turtle River State Park throughout the spring and summer months when water levels are adequate. By far, the best trout fishing in the state — especially for larger fish — can be found in the Missouri River System. In 2012, for example, all but one of the state’s 41 Whopper Club entries for rainbow trout came from the Missouri — mostly from the Garrison Dam Tailrace.
In Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources also stocks numerous lakes with trout — not only rainbows, but brook trout, brown trout and splake, a hybrid cross between a brook trout and a lake trout. Lake trout, a denizen of deep, cold water, also are stocked in parts of far northeast Minnesota.
The best trout fishing opportunities can be found in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, where season for trout opened Dec. 29.
Closer to the Red River Valley, several lakes in Beltrami and Hubbard counties, including Benjamin Lake near Blackduck, Minn., and Newman Lake near Bemidji, are stocked with trout, but current regulations prohibit fishing them during the winter season, which this year begins Jan. 12 in inland waters and continues through March 31. The restriction applies to all lakes in Becker, Beltrami, Cass and Crow Wing counties and all lakes except Blue Lake in Hubbard County. The closure doesn’t include lake trout, a species that’s not found in most of the affected lakes.
When it comes to inland waters, the area near Grand Rapids, Minn., is pretty hard to beat for do-it-yourself trout fishing opportunities. A trout stamp is required to fish trout in all state-managed waters.
If lake trout are your passion, numerous lakes in northwestern Ontario, including Crow Lake near Nestor Falls, Ont., and Whitefish Bay on the Ontario side of Lake of the Woods, are among the more popular destinations and offer excellent fishing.
Based on my admittedly limited experience, every species of trout I’ve caught puts up a great battle on hook-and-line. Expect line-peeling runs and expect to lose a few fish either at the boat or the bottom of the hole. Rainbow trout are known for their acrobatics, and all trout species are notorious for twisting and turning, which makes them difficult to land.