Trout fishing season opens Saturday in three DuPage preserves
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Certain things are worth waiting in line for.
Among local fishing enthusiasts, that list apparently includes the Saturday, April 6, launch of the spring rainbow trout season.
DuPage County Forest Preserve officials predict numerous cars and trucks will be lined up well before the 6 a.m. opening of the gates at the three DuPage lakes stocked with trout.
"By the morning, it's shoulder to shoulder on the shore line," said Scott Meister, the district's natural resource management coordinator.
Fortunately, there will be plenty of rainbow trout waiting for the anglers' hooks.
Workers recently dropped about 2,200 trout into Silver Lake at Blackwell Forest Preserve near Warrenville. Pickerel Lake at Pratt's Wayne Woods Forest Preserve near Wayne received between 1,600 and 2,000 fish, and Grove Lake at Wood Dale Grove Forest Preserve near Wood Dale was stocked with 800 to 1,000 fish.
The stocked trout weigh at least a pound and are 12 to 15 inches long.
Meister said he doesn't expect the fish to survive very long.
"Trout is a very popular fish," Meister said. "The fish are a good size, and they're good eating. I would say the majority of our fish are removed from our lakes within the first two weeks."
That explains why an estimated total of more than 1,200 anglers were at the three lakes by 7 a.m. on opening day last spring.
Still, one local boat dealer says it's possible to fish and avoid the crowds.
"You don't need to be there on Saturday," said Tony Kosi, owner of Water Werks II, located at 3S450 Route 59 near Naperville. "You're better off going after the first couple of days."
While the "foolish fish" get picked off early, Kosi said there still will be plenty of trout to catch later.
"You can see schools of them in the middle of summer," he said.
Whether you plan to go trout fishing on Saturday or after the opening day rush, officials stress that there are a few things you need to remember.
You must possess a valid Illinois fishing license with an inland trout stamp in order to fish. However, anglers who are 15 years old or younger, legally disabled or Illinois residents on leave from active duty in the armed forces don't need a license or stamp to fish.
Fishing licenses and trout stamps can be purchased from area sports equipment stores and bait shops. A 24-hour sport fishing license is $5.50, and the trout stamp is an additional $6.50. Meanwhile, the minimum fine for fishing without a license is $75.
And when you're fishing, a daily catch limit will be strongly enforced. Officials say the creel limit is five trout per day with no length restriction.
As for the question of where to fish, Meister says Silver Lake, Pickerel Lake and Grove Lake all offer great fishing opportunities. And all three are going to be crowded on opening day.
"To me, it's a matter of distance," he said. "The three lakes are kind of spread out across the county. Fish at whichever lake you're closest to."
For a free copy of the district's "Fishing in DuPage County" guide with regulations, depth maps and species lists for 30 lakes at 18 different DuPage County forest preserves, call visitor services at (630) 933-7248 or email email@example.com. A copy of the guide also can be downloaded at dupageforest.org.
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