Outdoor Corner: The Rainbow Trout have arrived

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Gabe Landry from Gonzales caught this rainbow trout fishing with his dad and brother.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Alaska as my oldest daughter, Kaycee was stationed at Eielson Air Force Base just outside of Fairbanks. On those trips came my first opportunity to fish for rainbow trout and land my first one ever. My youngest daughter Gabby lives in Colorado, which has allowed me to catch some there as well.

But thanks to a really poor fishing day in a parish to the north of us and the efforts of some of our local officials, we don’t have to travel that far to partake in an opportunity to catch a rainbow trout.

A few years ago Goosie Guice (co-host on Ascension Outdoors TV) made a trip to one of the BREC ponds in Baton Rouge as they stocked rainbow trout during the winter time. One thing led to another that caused us to look into the possibility of getting that to happen in Ascension Parish.

We approached then Parish President Tommy Martinez about the possibility of that happening here. He directed us to our councilman at the time, Chris Loar, and the rest is history.

The first year of the stocking program netted the bank anglers 500 rainbow trout. They are purchased from a fish hatchery in Missouri and trucked to wherever they are purchased. A hose is connected on the truck and placed in the pond. A valve is opened causing the water and trout from the holding tank into the water.

Stocking always takes place in the winter as rainbow trout are cold water fish. The water temperature has to get in the low 50’s before they are shipped and stocked. The fish last until spring until the water heats up above 70 degrees. At that time their chance of survival becomes very slim.

Another interesting fact about trucking the fish came as a shock to me as I brought a rod and reel to the pond the day they were put in for the first time. I asked one of the guys that were getting ready to dump the fish if he thought the trout might bite as soon as they got in the water.

The gentleman replied that he didn’t know for sure, but they hadn’t been fed for eight days before they were shipped. He explained that the fish would get sick if they had anything in their stomachs so they should be very hungry.

Last week the process started over again as 1700 hungry rainbow trout were unloaded in the pond behind the Trade Mart building at Lamar Dixon courtesy of our parish government spending our tax money pretty wisely in my opinion.

This gives folks that might not have a boat or any other means of taking a fishing trip the possibility of catching a much desired fish that are fun to reel in and especially good to eat. More on the eating part a little later.

Rainbow trout are pretty aggressive feeders and not terribly hard to catch. But they are fish and don’t bite sometimes as good as others. Artificial baits work well sometime and is my preferred method. Small spinners work well, but a variety of small bass lures such as a rattle trap are effective.

Bait on a hook is the most productive, being the preferred method of most folks and easiest for a kid to use. A sinker heavy enough to cast out with a small hook is pretty much all you need to catch them.

Bait selection is pretty unusual. Marshmallows (minis) work extremely well--that’s right, marshmallows! Especially pink, but white and green will work as well. Canned corn and night crawlers will work pretty good too. They will probably eat just about anything with smell.

The most popular is the manufactured baits available at just about any tackle store. Berkley produces Power Bait and Gulp in pink, orange and chartreuse colors that are in different shapes, even corn. Salmon eggs that are pink or orange are effective as well.

The pond is very accessible to get around and plenty of room for bored kids to run and jump if they get a little antsy. I highly recommend a few hours of trying this out even for someone with little or no fishing experience. The folks fishing around you will be glad to give you tips if you are a little uncertain of just what to do.

Last week I made my first trip to Lamar Dixon and the pond to try my luck fishing for those rainbow trout along with my brother, Alan. We both started off fishing with small spinners as they usually work. I brought some night crawlers as a backup just in case.

As fate would have it, neither of those baits worked out for us as I hooked only one trout on the spinner but it threw the bait. There were a few folks out fishing that were having better fortune than us using orange or chartreuse Berkley Power Bait including a dad with his two young boys.

After watching them and others catch a few, Alan headed to Cabela’s to get some of the same tackle. We didn’t tear them up but we did end up with four nice trout for the table.

You can certainly filet the trout and fry them like usual, but pan frying them is my personal favorite. It does take a little extra work as the fish need to be scaled to leave the skin on. The scales are very small like a flounder so a little extra effort is needed to make sure all the scales are removed.

After scaling the fish, cut the head off and remove the guts. Slice the belly all the way to the anal fin as the stomach has plenty of tasty flesh that is easy to get off the bone. Place the fish in a horizontal position and mark or cut the fish in half-inch segments from top to bottom.

The cooking process is pretty easy. Season both sides of the fish pretty liberally with salt, pepper, and lemon pepper as it helps crisp the skin and is needed for proper seasoning. Use butter and olive oil in a very hot cast iron skillet to crisp the skin. Two to three minutes on each side is all that’s needed to cook that tender flesh.

The taste is really incredible and makes all the effort you put in worth your time. Not to mention the good time spent in the outdoors, especially with kids. Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard, be safe in the outdoors and may God truly bless you!

Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at

Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting: 3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman’s League meeting held at Chef KD’s on Highway 74 starting at 7 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

APSO Shooting Range: The rifle range on St. Landry Road is open to the public year-round on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., or safe shooting light.

Squirrel season: Through Feb 28 daily bag limit 8 possession 24.

Rabbit season: Through Feb 28 daily bag limit 8 possession 24.

Quail season: Through Feb. 28, statewide, private lands only. Daily bag limit 10 possession 30.

Fishing For Tucker Team Bass Tournament: Save the date! The 9th Annual tournament is scheduled for February 2, 2019 at Cabela's in Gonzales.

La-Bass/Anything Outdoors Bass Tournament: Save the date! Feb 16 at Doiron’s Landing Stephensville, La $100 per boat. 75 percent payout to anglers and 25 percent to benefit Anything Outdoors Helping Kids.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at