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Six tips for cold-weather trout fishing

Six tips for cold-weather trout fishing from the Iowa DNRIf you want to fish this winter in Iowa without stepping out on the ice, check out northeast Iowa’s trout streams, which rarely freeze and are open for fishing year-round. Or if you’re not able to make the trip, we stock a number of urban lakes statewide with trout for a new fishing experience through the ice.

If you’re angling for trout this winter, here are some tips:

Trout streams
Go small for winter stream trout.
Small jigs, midges and wooly buggers - black in color - work great, along with small black spinners and raps that imitate minnows.

Go wild.
Many northeast Iowa streams offer plenty of wild brown trout, along with the holdover stocked fish throughout the winter into spring.

Take it slow.
Fish still need to feed in the winter, but they aren’t as active and won’t travel as fast or as far to strike. That means presentation is key during winter - move, cast and retrieve, being precise, slow and easy.  If using an indicator, downsize that as well.

Urban trout
Freeze it up.

Unlike trout streams, winter fishing for trout in stocked urban ponds is done through the ice. Typical ice fishing equipment should be used, and bait your hooks , ice jigs, etc., with waxworms and don’t forget  jigging spoons.

Get flashy.
Try jigging spoons, small black spinners and raps that imitate minnows. Add some flash to your presentation.

Fish keep close to home.
Fish close to the stocking area early on. As the fish become accustomed to their new home, they begin to spread out. Fish close to the surface, as that’s where trout are used to feeding.

Learn more about Iowa’s trout streams, including maps and stocking schedules. Explore more tips and info on our Iowa Fishing board on Pinterest.

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