Spring is beginning and, depending on a person’s particular inclination, there are a number of indicators. For my wife, who gardens, the signs are the crocuses, tulips and daffodils emerging from their winter rest. For me, it is the opening of the shipping channels to the Great Lakes’ big ships that signals fishing season is just around the corner.

One season opens April 12 — trout season on the Forest Preserve lakes in Cook County. We are very fortunate to have two of the lakes Cook County stocks each year right in our backyard — Axehead Lake at Touhy Avenue and River Road and Belleau Lake, just west of I-294 off Busse Highway. Both of these lakes provide outstanding fishing access around the entire lake. With the County restocking each year, there are always trout available.

Getting gear ready for trout fishing does not have to entail a trip to L.L. Bean for fancy waders or a split bamboo fly rod. While it is possible to fly fish for trout at these lakes, a basic fishing rod and light line will work fine. A light action rod and four-pound test line are the only things really necessary. Tie on a small hook (say #10 or #12) and small bobber (and I mean small). Rather than using an artificial fly for bait, it is a lot easier to bring a small can of yellow corn. String a couple kernels on the hook, set the bobber 20″ to 24″ up the line to start and cast it out.

I would recommend fishing the north end of the lakes, going in the later morning when the sun has had a chance to warm the water a little. Be very watchful. These young trout will pop that corn off so fast a fisherman has to be quick — very quick. Once they are hooked, these little fighters are a lot of fun.

So those who are looking for an early start to fishing do not have far to go.