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Stockpile of brown trout resulting in big catches

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Updated: May 13, 2013 6:43AM



In what struck me as a moment of serendipity, Indiana stocked 47,000 3-inch brown trout on Wednesday at Buffington Harbor near East Chicago Marina. On March 30, two huge browns were caught around East Chicago.

Larry Kornas landed a 25.6-pound brown from shore at the marina. Jack Fiorio, a St. John youth, boated and released an even bigger 40-incher (likely the Indiana record) while fishing with his dad Joe east of the marina.

I wondered if there was a connection between those big browns and the stockings of browns, which Indiana has done since 2002 in cooperation with the Illinois DNR.

“It certainly helps,’’ Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said. “I do think the bigger impact is the spring near-shore fishery of the 4-6 pounders. I think those big browns are coming down from the Milwaukee area. (Though) I would love to take credit for those big fish. The state record in 2006 was probably not an Indiana stocked fish — too large in four years. I suspect that fish was from an Illinois stocking around 2000 or so.’’

Glen Duesing caught the Indiana record (29.03 pounds) on April 2, 2006.

Indiana’s stocking of browns is done to improve near-shore fishing. Stocking locations have rotated between Buffington, Michigan City and Port of Indiana. It was Buffington’s turn this year.

Stocking isn’t the only reason for the good brown fishery. The plethora of round gobies, which browns and other predators have learned to eat, also helps.

“Definitely,’’ Breidert said. “I do think they are feeding on gobies and shad near shore. I think that is helping them grow. I suspect that is the case in Milwaukee as well. I would think that would be part of that food component for them. The browns and the smallmouth (bass) and the largemouth (bass), near-shore species, are taking full advantage of gobies.’’

He said even lakers in spring are feeding heavily on gobies.

Turkey hunting: Staff at both LaSalle and Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Areas reported seeing and hearing plenty of turkeys gobbling, despite the long, cold spring.

LaSalle property manager Ken Bisacchi said a JAKES event (a youth program of the National Wild Turkey Federation) will be held there, beginning at 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

He said it will begin with listening to birds in the field, then coming inside for talks on safety, techniques and regulations. There will be call kits to put together, a chance to pattern guns and a scavenger hunt on things likely to be seen during a morning hunt.

Call 992-3019 for details.

Fishing notes: Weather continues to stun both fish and fishermen, from 70 degrees on Tuesday to 20 degrees cooler the next couple days. ... One hot spot is a bit of drive. Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said fishermen are doing well for keeper sauger and white bass below the Norway and Oakdale dams. ... On good days, staff at Willow Slough report fishermen doing well on bluegill. ... Bisacchi said a few pike are being caught in the Kankakee River and some bass at Black Oak Bayou.

.. . On Lake Michigan, it has been weather based. When fishermen get out, they are catching some coho, browns, steelhead and smallmouth. ... Capt. Bob Poteshman, with two Confusion Charters boats at East Chicago, has hope. “I don’t think the bulk of the fish are on the south end of the lake yet, but they are coming,’’ he said earlier this week. “Water needs to clear.’’



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