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Minnesota DNR stocks trout in area streams just ahead of the opener

Minnesota DNR Fisheries staff placed trout in Scheldorf Creek, Redwood River on Tuesday.

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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Windom Area Fisheries Assistant Supervisor Nate Hodgins places trout in Scheldorf Creek, northwest of Windom in Cottonwood County, on Tuesday morning.
Special to The Globe

WINDOM — Staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fisheries office in Windom beat the wind to stock a Cottonwood County stream with brown trout just days ahead of Saturday’s trout fishing opener.

Nate Hodgins, Windom Area Fisheries assistant supervisor, assisted in stocking Scheldorf Creek — accessible via private land easements — with about 450 brown trout, all between 12 to 16 inches in length and the perfect size for a trout fry.

“We stock these streams annually, about the same time every year,” Hodgins said of trout stocking, which also took place at Camden State Park, southwest of Marshall. “We try to get them in three to five days before the trout season opener.”

That’s enough time for the fish to get acclimated to their new surroundings and begin to feed again. It’s also a short enough period that the fish won’t completely disappear upstream or downstream.

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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fisheries staff stocked 450 brown trout ahead of Saturday’s trout opener. Afterward, they performed the same task in Camden State Park near Lynd.
Special to The Globe

“Typically they’ll stay around for about a month,” Hodgins said, noting that the trout stocked in Scheldorf Creek were near the junction of Cottonwood County roads 13 and 56, about eight miles northwest of Windom via the river road. “Trout are very temperature-specific — they try to find cool water refuge.”

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Trout stocking around the state has taken place for years, dating back to when the trout program originated. Prior to site-specific stocking, most trout fishing opportunities existed in southeast Minnesota and along the state’s North Shore.

“Those are the Blue Ribbon trout streams in the state,” Hodgins said. “There are a few (places) in southwest Minnesota and western Minnesota, near Ortonville, that have trout, and Lake of the Woods has brook trout up there.”

The brown trout stocked in southwest Minnesota on Tuesday came from the DNR Fisheries hatchery at Lanesboro. Hodgins said the fish were loaded onto a truck and delivered to Scheldorf Creek. From there, the truck went to Camden State Park, where approximately 2,500 trout were stocked in the Redwood River, and then on to Hutchinson to stock five streams in that area.

“The Ortonville office picks up their fish at Camden State Park,” Hodgins said.

When the trout season opens Saturday, licensed fishers will be allowed to keep up to five brown trout, with just one trout of 16 inches or more in length.

Hodgins said people use different flies and presentation to try to match whatever critters may be hatching in the water at the time.

“These trout are pretty aggressive,” he said. “They’re coming off feed at the hatchery, and pickings can be tough from time to time. The trout may find minnows to eat, so using that as bait is good, otherwise, Hodgins said he’s used spinners or twisters on a jighead — something with a lot of flasher action — to catch trout.

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