The Iowa DNR has released their winter Trout stocking program schedule for 2014. These fish are stocked in waters where they will not survive through the summer. Trout require cold waters throughout the year. Stocking these fish in the winter provides more suitable water temperatures. These trout are stocking strictly for anglers to catch. There is zero expectations for creating a reproducing population.
State law requires that you have a valid fishing license and Trout stamp to fish for and posess trout.
For more information on Trout fishing in the state of Iowa, click here.
Trout Stocking Schedule:
Jan. 18, Blue Pit, Mason City, 11 a.m., 2,000 trout
Jan. 18, Bacon Creek, Sioux City, 1 p.m., 1,500 trout
Jan. 25, Petoka, Altoona, Noon, 1,500 trout
Jan. 25, Scharnberg Pond, Spencer, 1 p.m., 1,500 trout
Feb. 8, Ada Hayden Pond, Ames, Noon, 2,200 trout
The last couple weeks of goose season in Iowa come with the toughest conditions. Low tempuratures and blistering cold wind chills can make goose hunting a challenge. However, if you can find them, the hot action will help you forget how cold it is.
Regular goose hunters know that there are 3 areas to find geese. The roost water, the loaf water, and the fields. You don’t want to hunt the roost because that will drive the birds away from your area. The loaf and the fields are where its at. The problem with the field hunting late season is geese generally feed one time per day during this time of year. Field hunts can still be very productive, but some times, on clear and sunny days, the geese don’t really start heading out to the fields until after shooting hours have expired. With the exception of snowy or overcast days, you may only have a matter of minutes to hunt geese in a field on a sunny winter afternoon. Many successful goose hunters head to loaf waters for great late season action.
Even though they are not going out to feed, you may see geese in the air at any time of the day during the late season. These geese are generally jumping from water to water. Geese will roost in one area and then fly to loaf in another. They will also jump from loaf area to loaf area. I don’t know if their feet get cold or if they just want to stretch their wings, but either way, they will hop from water to water throughout the day. This is a huge advantage for the hunter because there is limited open water in Iowa this time of year.
Areas with current will generally hold open water late into the winter. Some areas never freeze. However, when hunting these areas use caution. Ice over running water is very unstable, and you can find yourself in a life threatening situation in a hurry.
Another option is to make you own open water. If you have access to a private pond that you are familiar with, an Ice Eater can be worth its weight in gold. It can be kind of a chore at first, but once your are set up, the rewards are worth it. After opening up a pond in an area with a high goose population, it only take a matter of a day or two.
The most important thing to think about when hunting water late in the season is, Safety First. Don’t turn a good time into a tragedy.
2013 has come and gone. The most fidgid of Iowa’s days are upon us. While many of Iowa’s outdoorsmen and women have hung up their gear in anticipation of warmer days, many of us will brave the cold to continue to pursure our passion.
Over the years, I have learned through trial and error, the best ways to enjoy hunting and fishing through Iowa’s cold winters. The most obvious was actually advise I got from my Mother, ” Dont’ go outside without your hat and mittens”. The others I have picked up along the way.
One technique I started utilizing many years ago when duck hunting on single degree days. Several thin layers are better than a couple thick layers.
A good base layer is tough to beat. I have found that Drake Waterfowl offers some of they best layering systems on the market. Along with providing more warmth on colder days, I feel like I have more mobility in the field.
After I feel I have enough thin layers to match the conditions I am facing, I rely on hand and foot warmers. In my opinion, every late season outdoor enthusiest should keep a stock of these on hand. They are inexpensive and really work. On really cold days, I like to wear cargo pants over my base layers and under my outter layer. I will drop hot hands in the cargo pockets and stay tostie warm for hours. Additonally, the adhesive foot warmers placed on the bottom of my socks keep my toes warm even when I am sitting still. I have also found that, when the foot warmers are not avaliable, the hand warmers can be dropped in the toes of my boots and do just as good if not a better job. If you take your time and do it right, they do not make for uncomfortable walking.
The key to enjoying the Great Iowa Outdoors in winter months is being able to stay comfortable. So layer up, grab some hot hands, and get outside. There is still pleanty fun to be had before the thaw.