By Larry Pape
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Each fall trout make a migration to city park ponds and state parks lakes across Nebraska.
Some find their way from the Grove Trout Rearing Station near Royal to Stanton Park Pond in Falls City. Others migrate to Riverside Park Pond near the zoo in Scottsbluff from Rock Creek State Fish Hatchery near Benkelman.
By truck and trailer, more than 50,000 10-inch rainbow trout find new homes in 43 easy-to-fish locations around Nebraska in mid-October.
Wherever you are in the state, there likely is a trout fishing location within 50 miles of you.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s website – OutdoorNebraska.org – includes a Fish Stocking Reports page that lists all of the trout stocking locations for fall of 2020. The delivery dates depend on lake water temperatures, but generally they fall between Oct. 5 and Oct. 15 and will be posted before stocking occurs. This page also contains a tool that allows you to search the history of any fish stocking in Nebraska in the past 20 years.
A map titled Waters Containing Trout is also available on the website. From the website front page, the top banner has a link titled Maps. This leads to a link called Public Fishing Areas, and a map that lets you define what types of fishing you are interested in, including Waters Containing Trout. Note that this maps shows the location of all types of trout waters, including spring stocking sites and streams where trout occur year-round.
Many of the locations where these trout are stocked are classified as Family Friendly Lakes. You can find these lakes listed in the current Fishing Guide, and as one of the Public Fishing Area maps. These locations are considered safe, comfortable and have great fish catching potential. They will include a combination of barrier-free fishing piers, fishing trails, groomed park areas, concessions, playgrounds and picnic areas. Bring a comfortable chair, friend and snack to make a fun day of it.
Trout generally will be found in open water away from the shoreline. Start fishing your chosen lake by floating bait under a bobber. Sometimes trout stay deep, so fish on the bottom if the bobber method isn’t working.
Canned corn, small worms and dough baits work well. Casting a shiny spinner or spoon also is very effective at luring trout. Knowing how and where to fish comes with experience, but by observing or asking other anglers about what is working, you can improve your catching odds.
If you are just getting into fishing and want more details, a helpful resource is Game and Parks’ Going Fishing Guide, available at OutdoorNebraska.gov/howtofish. For information on Fish Stocking, including the dates of upcoming trout stocking, OutdoorNebraska.gov/fishstockingreports.
Photo: More than 50,000 10-inch rainbow trout will be stocked in 43 waters across Nebraska in mid-October. (Nebraskaland Magazine/NGPC)