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Catching Stocked Trout In Urban Lakes: How?


STL Matt

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So I am a beginner anyhow, and most probably it's my clumsy casting or some other beginner mistake, but I've noticed every time I hit the St. Louis winter trout lakes, I'm not the only one not catching fish. At first I thought maybe it was a matter of showing up too late after stockings, but I went out to Carondelet Park today only two days after they put 1000 trout in (saw a good few dead ones floating around in the leaves) and of the twenty or so guys out there on various rigs I never saw a single fish pulled in.

I've tried small nymphs under an indicator, and I've tried stripping in wooly buggers. Been out in the daytime and in the evening. Nuthin'. Any advice how to catch these guys? I thought hatchery trout were supposed to be easily fooled...

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So I am a beginner anyhow, and most probably it's my clumsy casting or some other beginner mistake, but I've noticed every time I hit the St. Louis winter trout lakes, I'm not the only one not catching fish. At first I thought maybe it was a matter of showing up too late after stockings, but I went out to Carondelet Park today only two days after they put 1000 trout in (saw a good few dead ones floating around in the leaves) and of the twenty or so guys out there on various rigs I never saw a single fish pulled in.

I've tried small nymphs under an indicator, and I've tried stripping in wooly buggers. Been out in the daytime and in the evening. Nuthin'. Any advice how to catch these guys? I thought hatchery trout were supposed to be easily fooled...

These are hatchery trout. Think about what they are use to seeing and eating. They have grown up eating pellet food that has a smell to it and maybe they have seen some eggs. If you are fly fishing try using a fly that resembles these items. Glow balls, egg patterns, and what I call dog food flies (pellet flies) might work a little better for you. Most of the people I hear about fishing these stocked ponds are successful on power bait and cheese bait. Make sure you are using light enough tippet also. Try 7x to see if it increases your bite chances. You will have a little more fun fighting the fish on lighter line too. Good luck to you and keep us updated on your success.

A Little Rain Won't Hurt Them Fish.....They're Already Wet!!

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Ozark Trout Runners

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Jigs under an indicator followed by eggs work the best for me at the Urban lakes. I fish them on the bottom. Stripping only works at night and when the wind is up a bit....otherwise forget about it. I would use Olive, Black/Yellow, or White jigs. For glo balls orange or peach has worked the best. Zebra midges work ok at times as well.

It can be tough to compete with the all the power bait guys at Carondolet and that lake gets cleaned out pretty quickly. Your best bet is Forest Park before Feb 1st. Lot's of fish, C/R, and a great group of regulars. The bucket brigrade will be out in full force this weekend (no longer C/R)...so it will be a madhouse.

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I'm not sure how deep these lakes are but you may want to try sinking lines.

Chironomids and scuds are often things overlooked. Fishing these on a static line or even a super s-l-o-w strip work. Blobs are good stocker flies. Try brighter colors like everyone is suggesting. Most lake flies have a lot of motion in them. Long marabou tails and dubbing bodies.

Lakes are a mystery, every time you go to one it's like a new puzzle. Fast retrieves, slow retrieves, no retrieve? You never know. Find structure, weed beds, a little log, drop offs.

"Its clearly Bree time baby!"

Member: 2009 U.S. Youth Fly-Fishing Team. Competed Czech Republic. 7th Place Team

Member: 2010 U.S. Youth Fly-Fishing Team. Competed Slovakia. 4th Place Team

Member: 2010 U.S. Youth Fly-Fishing Team. Competed The America Cup. 4th Place Team

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Here locally, olive nymphs, primrose and pearl, brown bead heads, and crystal streamers have produced well. There have been warm days that produced a rise and a CDC Hares Ear did the trick.

"Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously."

Hunter S. Thompson

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The city lake are no more than 4'. I was told this by a firefighter friend who said that's the maximum they're allowed to be due to being safe for rescuing someone in the water. So I'd guess a sinking line wouldn't be necessary.

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Since I am a self admitted addict for trout fishing, and my preferred method is with the fly rod, here are some of the things that have worked. Currently I live in Tucson, AZ --yeah the desert, so you figure not much trout fishing. Except only 3 hours away I'm in the White Mnts at 7000 to 9000 ft with many lakes and nice streams, and in the winter months G&F stock local lakes with trout. I had lived in Topeka KS for 20 years and Lake Shawnee, a little lake over by Lawrence, and a lake at Ft Reilly were all stocked with trout. So to feed my addiction I spent too many hours chasing and playing with the trout in these locations. But what fun is an addiction if you can't enjoye it?

As mentioned, wollyburgers, simi seal leaches, wet / nymph attractor patterns (size 10 gray - black - reddish patterns) oversize renegades that will sink(tied wet or soft hackle or weighted) -- you can tie a small pheasant tail #14 --#16 16 - 18 inches behind these patterns and then strip to find the right speed and depth.

Under an indicator fish a nymph or 2 nymphs set up --- hares ear, pheasant tail - bead head or not, copper johns, princes, zebra midges, be flexible. One day they want black the next it has to be white--just keep trying different flies and presentations. They may want it still, or slightly twitched.

I really like using small marabou jigs under and indicator. 1/64 1/80 1/100 oz jigs. If it is windy great - let mother nature help you jig is along- I've had fish take the jig as it sat just moving up and down with the waves. I've also had to jig the rig back to me in short strips and pauses, mini twitches and even fast retrieves. I like white, black, olive and black+ yellow, light brown.... again play with the right colors.

But one of my most effective methods has been to rig 1/2 of a trout worm ---yes those scented rubber worms you see at the parks---under an indicator and slowly work it back to me. I KNOW THIS IS NOT FLY FISHING....I'M SURE PURISTS ARE GASPING FOR AIR RIGHT NOW, BUT THEN AGAIN WE ARE TALKING ABOUT PUT AND TAKE STOCKED TROUT.

I've been using this approach for 20+ years on these stocked fish...it works! You have to let the fish run with the worm for a second or two, this requires some trial and error -- so as not to get the worm swallowed, yet long enough to get most of the worm in the mouth. reason for using 1/2 or less of the worm. At first out her in AZ nobody had seen a trout worm ---- thanks to Berkley and the internet even the bait chuncker,s have been using trout worms under a bobber.

If you get lucky enough to find the trout working along the surface or just under ---try soft hackle patterns, fished in the top foot or so of the lake.

Good Luck

Thighlines & Singing Reels

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Don't worry about "not being fly fishing"... According to purists I haven't been fly fishing in more than 4 years haha

"Its clearly Bree time baby!"

Member: 2009 U.S. Youth Fly-Fishing Team. Competed Czech Republic. 7th Place Team

Member: 2010 U.S. Youth Fly-Fishing Team. Competed Slovakia. 4th Place Team

Member: 2010 U.S. Youth Fly-Fishing Team. Competed The America Cup. 4th Place Team

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  • 10 months later...
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Well guys, almost a year later I finally got to try your ideas out. In the meantime there was an unfortunate incident involving probably some beer and poor canoe navigation on the eleven point resulting in a broken rod, and hence another year of mostly spin fishing. But my girlfriend got me a new fly rod for christmas and I took it out to Jefferson Lake in Forest Park and did like you said, floating minijigs and leeches and stuff under an indicator. And sure enough, fish! Thank you! Next step is to figure out how to cast a fly more than 20 feet...

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