Stream Trout Basics - Part 1

Basic Information, Seasons, & Regulations

A collaboration of efforts from Chris Cook, Dylan Napoleone, Trevor Slifka, and Blake Tollefson

Organized by Blake Tollefson

It’s been a long winter to say the least. The long term forecast is showing signs of spring, but the large majority of lakes are still locked up across the ice belt. Spring is definitely in the air, and the minds of anglers are quickly switching gears towards the soft water season.

Depending on where you live, most game fish seasons will likely be closed for another month or so. However, many states offer open water opportunities for trout during the spring. Despite cold temperatures, trout remain relatively unaffected. Untouched streams typically lead to hungry trout.

Several states across the country put a great deal of effort and funding into ensuring fishable populations of trout are readily available for anglers. Stocking programs typically commence operations in the spring, so opportunities for fresh trout are in abundance at the beginning of the season.


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulates trout fishing throughout the state. Minnesota regulations require a trout stamp in order to fish in regulated streams and lakes. The stamp is an additional $10 and revenue is put into managing long term trout habitat and stocking.

The Gopher State runs two separate trout fishing seasons. The early catch and release season runs from January 1, 2019 to April 12, 2019. During this timeframe only specific streams in the Southeastern portion of the state are open. The regular season kicks off the following day and runs until September 29, 2019.

Minnesota Inland Trout Regulations:


Trout fishing in the state of Wisconsin is regulated by the Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Per WDNR requirements, a $10 trout stamp must be added to an angler’s license in order to fish for trout in designated lakes and streams. Revenue earned from trout stamps is used for trout fishing management and stocking programs.

The Badger State’s early catch and release season runs from January 5, 2019 to May 3, 2019. During this timeframe, only artificial lures are allowed. Most streams are open during this season, but refer to the current regulations to ensure your water is open to fishing. The harvest season runs from May 4, 2019 to September 30, 2019. These regulations only apply to inland stream trout. For more information on Great Lakes trout refer to the WDNR regulations.

Wisconsin Inland Trout Regulations:

New Hampshire

The state’s fishing seasons are regulated by the New Hampshire Fish and Game. The Granite State does not require any additional stamps or licenses beyond a standard fishing license.

New Hampshire runs separate seasons for stocked rivers and streams versus wild rivers and streams. Both seasons kick off on January 1, 2019. The stocked trout season runs until October 15, 2019, but the wild trout season ends on Labor Day.

Both seasons are open for harvest, however, be sure to check the local regulations for more detailed information.

New Hampshire Inland Trout Regulations:


The Green Mountain State’s trout fishing program is managed by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. No additional stamps or licenses are required to legally target trout throughout the state of Vermont.

The state offers a significant number of natural streams and puts a great of resources into preserving and managing existing trout habitat.

Funding is also provided to ensure less adequate water bodies are stocked with trout as well.

The 2019 season runs from April 13th to October 15th.

Vermont Inland Trout Regulations:


Trout fishing in the state of Connecticut is regulated by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Within the last year, DEEP implemented a trout stamp requirement which requires the angler to purchase a $5 add-on. The stamp is necessary to fish in any Trout Management Area, Wild Trout Management Area, Trout Park, or Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Area, or if you plan to harvest trout from any Connecticut fishery. The revenue from the new stamp goes to trout management and helps the Department increase opportunities for trout and salmon fishing.

The 2019 inland season kicks off on April 13, 2019 and runs until February 29, 2020.

Connecticut Inland Trout Regulations:

Stay tuned for the next blog on stream trout tips and techniques!

Chris Cook, Dylan Napoleone, Trevor Slifka, and Blake Tollefson

Chris Cook


Instagram: @nh_hardwater

Dylan Napoleone


Instagram: @dylannapoleone11_

Trevor Slifka


Instagram: @tslifka_

Blake Tollefson


Instagram: @btollefsonfishing


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