Anglers will be able to fish more of the Vermillion River for more than just fun when trout season rolls around this spring.
New regulations approved last week by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will expand the area in which anglers will be allowed to keep the rainbow trout they reel in. Under the old regulations, all of the river except about two miles within Farmington city limits was restricted to catch-and-release fishing. The new rules expand from Highway 3 to Highway 52 the part of the river in which the fish can be harvested.
Brown-trout fishing in the Vermillion will be strictly catch-and-release under the new rules, and a new catch-and-release season will extend through Oc.t 15.
DNR east metro fisheries manager TJ DeBates said the brown trout population in the Vermillion is self-sustaining, but rainbow trout are stocked each year with the idea they will be caught. Most of the stocked fish are put in the river at Rambling River Park, but DeBates said there is evidence they spread well beyond city limits.
The idea behind the change is to encourage people to make better use of stretches of the river where the DNR and other groups have done a lot of work to restore habitat.
“We’re just really trying to highlight some of the great work that’s being done down there,” DeBates said last August. “We want people to get out there. We want people to fish on the stream. We want there to be a good product for them to catch.”
The DNR will install signs between now and the trout opener to help people identify the differences between rainbow and brown trout. They will also add no-trespassing signs to address concerns raised by some homeowners along the river. Anybody can walk in the river if they enter the water from public land, but they are not supposed to get out of the water on private property. Some homeowners have said they already have problems with people trespassing on their land and sometimes causing damage to the riverbank.
“Hopefully we can work with them to address those issues just by having the proper signs up,” DeBates said.
Starting this spring, the DNR will stock additional rainbow trout in the Vermillion, and add the fish in a wider area. Previously, the baseline for stocking was 1,000 fish, though the DNR frequently added more when they were available. Now, the baseline will be 3,000 to 4,000, DeBates said.
“There’s going to be a lot more fish, and those fish will be able to be spread out,” DeBates said. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to get folks out there and utilizing that state land.”