Elkhorn Lake stocked with trout for winter fishing
On Friday, Holton Parks and Recreation director Mike Reichle helped officials from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism stock 1,000 trout in Elkhorn Lake at Rafters Park for anglers to come and catch starting on Saturday.
This marks the fifth year that the City of Holton has worked with KDWPT’s Community Fisheries Assistance Program (CFAP) to stock Elkhorn Lake with trout in the colder months of the year, as trout tend to thrive in colder waters. But what Reichle appreciates more is that it’s gotten more people to come to Elkhorn to fish.
“It’s fantastic. There are more anglers at Elkhorn than we’ve ever seen before because of this trout program,” he said. “This lake was hardly used before we started in with this program. Now, we’ve got them out there waiting for the trout to be delivered.”
Elkhorn will be stocked with another 3,000 trout this winter, with Reichle noting that 1,500 more trout will go into the lake each month over the next two months. The annual trout fishing season began Saturday and continues through April 15, 2015, he added.
Another draw for the trout program at Elkhorn involves the tagging of six fish, Reichle said. Anyone who catches a tagged fish during trout season may bring the tag to Holton City Hall to claim a prize of $25 in “Chamber Bucks” and a $25 gift certificate from Holton Parks and Recreation.
CFAP stocks both of the city’s lakes — Elkhorn and Prairie Lake — with fish, and the cost of getting fish put into the lakes is covered mainly through state fishing license sales. The program has also provided the city with grants to make improvements at the two lakes, such as the fishing dock that was built in recent years at Elkhorn.
Trout are generally recognized as a “stream fish” and are most often found in rivers or streams that allow for migration to larger bodies of water that allow for spawning. However, it has been noted that Elkhorn Lake in late fall, winter and early spring months provide the fish with ideal temperatures for survival — preferably 62 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler.
Elkhorn Lake is classified as “Type 2 trout water,” meaning that trout permits are required for fishing or possessing trout during trout season, which runs from Nov. 1 through April 15. After that, KDWPT officials noted, trout permits are not necessary, but the daily limit of five trout is still in effect after that point.
Trout can be caught with live bait or artificial lures, such as jigs or spinners, or by using fly-fishing or drift-fishing techniques. Although trout are known for sometimes taking live bait from the bottom of a stream or lake, many consider it preferable to float bait just off the bottom, and when using artificial lures, it is recommended to fish near cover, such as tree roots, rocks or overhangs.
A light-action rod with a four to six-pound test line is considered by many to be the best rod to use for trout fishing. Furthermore, the best time for fishing for trout in lakes is between first light and mid-morning.
All Kansas residents ages 16 to 74 and non-residents 16 and older must have a valid fishing license. Trout permits may be purchased at KDWPT offices, most county clerk offices, licensed vendors such as Walmart or online at kdwpt.state.ks.us/License-Permits
The four-acre Elkhorn Lake is considered a community lake by KDWPT. Other fish in the lake include bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, bass and walleye. For more information on the lake and the city’s other parks and recreation facilities, contact Reichle at 364-9000.