Start of stream trout season may be too cool for fish schools

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This weekend is the start of stream trout season in Minnesota, but fishing may be difficult. 

 “It’s going to delay a lot of the fishing opportunities and the fishing season might not start as early as people want to, and it might delay the success of anglers early in the season,” said MN DNR Lake Superior Fisheries Management Office Fisheries Specialist Nick Peterson.

In addition to the flooding impacts, having so much snow melt into streams and rivers may make the water temperature too cool for the fish.

“With the spring flows being as high as they are now and with as much snow as we have in the woods, what that is going to do is keep the rivers colder, longer. And a lot of times the return of the adults to spawn is triggered by water temperature,” said Peterson. “So with as much snow as we have in the woods, the rivers are going to stay relatively cold for a longer period of time until a lot less snowpack can leave the upper sections of the watersheds. And then those river temperatures can continue to rise at a faster rate, which will draw in more fish at that point.”

Extra caution is needed when fishing this spring. 

“You definitely want to be aware of the conditions of each river that you’re on. Every river is not the same and likely won’t respond the same, but there’s probably going to be a lot of shelf ice anchor ice around the edges of the stream,” said Peterson. “And just be very careful around the high flows and try to avoid them, if at all possible. Particularly when you’re crossing the river or trying to cross the river, make sure you’ve got a partner with a nice sturdy stick or some good footing and don’t risk it if you don’t have to cross the rivers.”