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The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) trout stocking program offers an exciting late-winter opportunity for anglers. The program stocks fish at more than 30 sites across Kansas, offering fast action when other fishing can be slow. Relatively mild temperatures this January and February prevented the usual freezing that many of these trout waters experience in winter, making water temperatures and access to trout ideal. And anglers are taking advantage of the situation.
Trout bite on a variety of lures, jigs, and flies. They also take live bait and prepared bait, especially colorful pinch-on types. Most Kansas trout fisheries allow a creel limit of five fish per day, but because some regulations including lure or bait restrictions vary by location, be sure to read posted information at each site or read the regulation summary before fishing.
Kansas trout season runs Oct.15 through April 15. During this time, trout are stocked as often as twice a month at each fishing location. Most fish are 10 to 12 inches long, but contracts stipulate that a certain percentage of bigger fish be included. This gives Kansas anglers a chance to hook a trophy trout that might weigh 5 pounds or more.
During the trout season, trout anglers must possess a special permit in addition to a fishing license. This annual trout stamp costs $12.50 and is valid statewide. All trout anglers must have this stamp, which pays for the program. The exception is trout anglers 15 and younger, who may fish without a trout stamp but are restricted to a daily creel limit of two trout. With a trout stamp, youth anglers may take a full creel limit.
In addition, some areas stocked with trout called Type 1 Waters require a trout permit for all anglers 16 or older, whether they are fishing for trout or not. Other areas called Type 2 Waters require a trout permit only for anglers fishing for or possessing trout. In addition to being posted, a list of these waters may be found in the 2012 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold or on the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com. Click Fishing/Fishing Regulations.
Rainbow trout, native to cold waters, can thrive in Kansas winter pools. However, after spring warm-up, most trout cannot survive in Kansas. The exception to this is the Mined Land Wildlife Area Lake #30, near Oswego, with deep waters cold enough to allow year-round trout fishing. On this area, a trout stamp is required year-round.
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