The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Waterville Area Fisheries Office stocked 1,500 yearling Rainbow Trout, which is the full usual allotment, in St. Peter Trout Ponds ahead of the annual Minnesota stream trout fishing opener Saturday, April 17.
It will get another 1,500 about a week after the first allotment, then another 2,000 trout will be stocked in later weeks for a total of 5,000, so there will be plenty of fishing opportunities in St. Peter Trout Ponds, also known as Paul’s Creek. The trout are about a pound each, which is a good eating size.
The three ponds are fed by ground water springs which keep the water cold and clean to provide a good environment for trout.
“It’s very popular with local anglers,” said Waterville Area Fisheries Supervisor Craig Soupir, who assisted with the stocking Thursday afternoon. “It’s pretty easy to have 100 people down her for the opener. We stock them catchable size so people can catch them right away in a put-and-take fishery. It’s pretty unique for southern Minnesota to have a trout fishery like this.”
Beyond St. Peter Trout Ponds, the DNR has hundreds of trout fishing locations on public land, or with public easements, for anglers to use.
That includes nearby Nicollet County Seven-Mile Creek, along Hwy. 169 between St. Peter and Mankato, which was to be stocked with 300 adult brown trout on Friday, April 16.
DNR trout fishing maps provide a good resource for anglers looking for alternate locations to fish for trout: dnr.state.mn.us/fishing/trout_streams/south_mn_maps.html.
The trout are raised at the Lanesboro State Fish Hatchery and transported to St. Peter Trout Ponds by Waterville Fisheries in special tanks fitted with oxygen supplies.
“A few days prior to the trip the trout are kept off food to reduce stress during transport, so the fish are typically hungry and ready to feed shortly after stocking,” Soupir said. “These trout are relatively easy to catch, so it’s a great opportunity for anglers of all types, and especially kids!”
Be sure to check the DNR’s fishing handbook for license and trout stamp requirements. Ages 16 to 89 must have a fishing license. A trout stamp is required except for ages 18-64. Fishing began at sunrise Saturday.