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Trout fishing begins Saturday
Thursday, October 15, 2015 Chicago Tribune by Frank Vaisvilas
Thousands of people are expected to visit forest preserve lakes in the area beginning this Saturday to fish for rainbow trout, according to Steve Silic, a fisheries biologist for the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
"Cars will start lining up at the entrance before sunrise (when the parks open for fishing)," he said.
The trout fishing lakes in Cook County had been closed this week as workers for the forest preserves and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources restocked the county's lakes with nearly 7,000 pounds of trout in preparation for the fall fishing season.
Silic was busy all day Thursday overseeing the restocking of trout at several lakes, including 1,255 pounds that were added to Axehead Lake in Park Ridge and 1,000 pounds that were added to Horsetail Lake in Palos Park.
He said fishermen will line the banks of the lakes shoulder-to-shoulder in some areas Saturday morning to catch up to five of the one-pound trout to grill.
"Rainbow trout is a delicious fish that people like eating," Silic said.
He said that while the most popular species to fish for in the state is probably large-mouth bass it takes a unique skill set to fish trout.
"It's more difficult to reel in than bass," Silic said. "It takes more finesse in the technique. … They have a softer bite so you have to be careful in reeling them in."
Although the trout in the county's man-made inland lakes are farm-raised, and Silic said baiting is relatively easy for the pellet-fed fish, it still takes fishermen with some experience to catch them.
"That's why we call it fishing not catching," he said.
Silic recommends anglers arrive early in the season as much of the trout will be depleted from the lakes in two to three weeks.
But he said some trout might still be available well into the winter and some people try ice-fishing but "it is fishing at your own risk."
Inland lakes in the county are 20- to 40-feet deep and Silic said it is illegal to enter the water to fish but some boat rentals are offered on some lakes.
An Illinois sport fishing license with an "inland trout stamp" is required for anglers 16 and older. A list of all the fishing lakes in the county can be found at www.fpdcc.com/recreation/fishing.
Frank Vaisvilas is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.