Outdoors: Trout opener is Oct. 19
By BOB MACIULIS For Sun-Times Media October 11, 2013 7:48PM
The countdown is on!
There is less than a week remaining until one of the most anticipated outdoors events on Illinois’ calendar — the trout opener — kicks off a new season.
The inland catchable trout season opens at 5 a.m. Saturday. Some 43 ponds and lakes throughout Illinois recently were stocked with more than 75,000 hatchery-raised trout. Those waters had been closed to the public to allow the fish to assimilate to their new environs.
Three tips to help you fill the bucket for a Friday night trout fry were gleaned from articles we have published over the years in our Outdoor Notebook magazine.
First, these are trout that were raised in ponds and raceways at hatcheries. While they quickly will learn to identify the various forage available in the wild — from airborne insects to larvae, small minnows and redworms washed into the water during fall rains — their instinct to feed still is tied to the pelleted food they were fed at the hatchery.
Using small pieces of commercially prepared trout bait that is available at most bait shops is the best starter bait. Use a tiny treble hook, even as small as size 12 or 10, and ball the bait around it.
Tiny hooks need only 2- or 4-pound test mono — the thinner its diameter, the better.
Some old-timers swear by bits of Velveeta cheese. Guess what? It works wonderfully!
Float that bait below the smallest bobber (float) needed to keep the bait suspended.
Consider that trout raised in hatcheries generally move in schools — either clockwise or counterclockwise.
If they grew up moving clockwise against the current forced into their pond or raceway at the hatchery, they will continue to follow the left to right route. They move in schools ranging from a handful to large groups of 50 or more, bouncing along the shoreline, slipping off into deeper offshore water, then bouncing back to the shoreline.
If you see anglers setting hooks to the right of you and the trout are moving clockwise, brace yourself because they soon will be at your feet.
Don’t chase the fish. Let them come to you.
Finally, bring a cooler filled with ice cubes. Trout flesh is delicate and they spoil quickly if left on the bank or on a stringer in warm water. Put them immediately on ice and you will have the finest fish fry in memory.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that some hunting areas at the Marseilles State Fish and Wildlife Area will be closed periodically in October and November to allow for military training.
The Illinois Conservation Foundation said the 2014 ICF wall calendar will be available by Nov. 1. If you relied on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ OutdoorIllinois wall calendar for hunting and fishing season information, you’ll definitely want to pick up this calendar. Order at www.ilcf.org.