The winter trout-fishing catch-and-release season opens Tuesday on selected streams in the southeast and goes through the end of March when all streams will be open for catch-and-release fishing.

The regular season when fish may be kept opens April 13.

In winter, all hooks must be barbless.

About 135 miles of trout water on 38 stream reaches in southeastern Minnesota are open. They are fed by warmer groundwater, which is consistently about 48 degrees so streams are cooler in summer, warmer in winter. Many streams remain nearly ice free all winter.

The best days are often when the air temperature climbs into the 20s, said Steve Klotz, DNR fisheries supervisor in Lanesboro. "It's more a function of keeping your equipment from freezing up and not so much that the trout are just being tight-lipped," he said. "Explore some water that you haven't fished, and you might find a new favorite stream."

The DNR is proposing to open all streams in the winter and drop the barbless restriction, but those rules, if adopted, won't go into effect until later this year or next year.

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