Early Inland Trout Stream Season opens in the Driftless this weekend

If you’re like us, you’re looking forward to moving on into a brighter 2021. What better way to celebrate and embrace the new year than to get out on the water to your local trout stream. Winter trout fishing can be some of the most rewarding and relaxing times of the year. For those that haven’t tried it, you’re missing out. Winter season offers dramatically lower crowds, less brush, and more tranquility. No promise on fishing success, as they are often more spooky and less active in the winter. In this post, we offer some guidance on the winter season and regulations.


Early Inland Trout Season for SE Minnesota, Catch and Release Only: 1/1/21 – 4/17/21; Dodge, Goodhue, Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha, Winona. Most State Parks.

Minnesota inland trout stream season is closed in the Fall outside of a few state parks like Whitewater State Park and city limits like Lanesboro. It’s better than nothing, but the crowds can be pretty tough. However, the season opens back up in early January for most of South East Minnesota. Be sure to read the regulations at the link above for specific information.


Early Inland Trout Season for Wisconsin, Catch and Release Only: 1/2/21 – 5/7/21; Most of SW Wisconsin. See the map and further reading on regulations below.

Wisconsin’s inland trout season closes on October 15 most years. Between Minnesota and Wisconsin, the fall offers pretty sparse options. So, the combined season opener for both states this weekend should come as a well-received opportunity offering plenty of water to explore.


Continuous Trout Stream Season; All of Iowa, with some gear restrictions and catch and release restrictions for select streams. See the regulations at the link below.

Iowa is the only Driftless state offering a full continuous trout stream fishing opportunity. There are some gear restrictions on select streams like Waterloo Creek and Bloody Run Creek, and some streams are restricted to catch and release. The link above has all the specifics.


Looking for a good map? All three states have various maps and resources that are all useful in their own way. Wisconsin has nice PDF maps by county of trout streams and an interactive online map of regulations, while Minnesota generally only has PDF maps. At TroutRoutes, we offer our comprehensive interactive maps for free on our website at the link below. And if you are looking for more, you can always check out our mobile app for the best smartphone maps of the Driftless.

TroutRoutes Interactive Online Maps

Our new (and free) online trout stream maps show everything from stream names, easements, public lands, trails, even fly shop locations. Check our latest blog post on this new effort.