Trout season set to open in Illinois

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 31, 2017 12:15 am

CLAYTON, Ill. -- Tim Scott didn't stay in one place long.

He wanted to gauge what kind of success he might have catching trout at Siloam Springs State Park, so he took advantage of mild conditions last Saturday to cast his line from as many different spots as possible.

Admittedly, it was work. He packed up his gear and moved it each time he decided to try to a new location. Yet, the reward was learning where the trout might be bedding or feeding or lurking.

"It's knowledge," Scott said. "That's all it is. The more knowledgable you are, the more likely you are to catch fish. I believe that."

With a significant number of anglers expected to invade Siloam Springs this weekend for the opening of the Illinois spring trout season, knowledge of the lay of the land is critical.

"It doesn't mean I'm guaranteed to catch fish," Scott said. "But it does give me confidence that I can find them."

So where were the trout biting?

"I can't tell you that," Scott said. "That's my secret. I earned that."

Maybe so, but there aren't any guarantees the fish will be biting in the locations he expects.

Saturday's temperatures, wind conditions and overall forecast could impact the trout activity. This week's steady dose of rain is expected to have ended by 5:30 a.m. Saturday when the spring season officially begins, and temperatures are forecasted to be in the low 60s with partly sunny skies.

"That sounds like prime fishing weather," Scott said. "You might see me out there when I'm done fishing. I'm not telling anyone where I'll be."

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources stocks more than 80,000 rainbow trout each year in bodies of water where trout fishing is permitted during the spring season, and an additional 80,000 trout for the fall season.

The Illinois catchable trout program is funded by those who use the program through the sale of inland trout stamps, and there will be 52 ponds, lakes and streams open for the spring season.

The IDNR makes trout fishing illegal until the spring season opens at 5 a.m. Saturday. Anglers attempting to harvest trout prior to that date are subject to citations from the Illinois Conservation Police.

All anglers must have a fishing license and an inland trout stamp, unless they are under the age of 16, blind or disabled, or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces. The daily catch limit for each angler is five trout.

For more information about all site regulations, anglers should contact individual sites that will be stocked with catchable-size trout. Not all sites open at 5 a.m. on opening day. Anglers are reminded to check the opening time of their favorite sites prior to the opening date.

Siloam Springs State Park is one of three sites in West-Central Illinois that allows trout fishing. Horton Lake in Nauvoo State Park and Kings Park Pond in Pittsfield also have been stocked.