AMES, Iowa — Tuesday morning central Iowa broke a new record low for this date at one degree. The last time it was this cold, was in 1986. This early winter weather has the Iowa Department of Natural Resources scrambling, making sure they give anglers a chance to reel in some fish on the open water before it’s too late.
Every fall the DNR stocks a few lakes in central Iowa with rainbow trout, providing a special season for these cold-water fish. This year they had to do something they’ve never done before at some locations, move up the stocking dates to beat the weather.
Usually, trout stocking for Lake Petocka in Bondurant and Ada Hayden Heritage Park Lake in Ames takes place in mid-November, but this year instead of stocking this Friday the 15th, the DNR had to quickly get the fish in the lake late last week before this cold weather possibly makes the lakes dangerous.
Biometrician Jeff Kopaska says this cold weather through the middle of this week leaves the possibility of these lakes actually freezing and creating dangerous thin ice. So they chose to rush and get 1,500 trout into Bondurant’s water and another 2,200 in Ames. He said this is the first time the DNR had to move up these particular stockings, but it was important to beat the weather.
“We will have another event in January or February where we stock trout for ice fishing as well, so with this we have opportunities for people to fish with open water before it freezes and once that first ice comes there will still be plenty of trout in here until we put some more in later,” Kopaska said.