Fishing & Hunting

Southeastern Minnesota trout streams

The streams of southeastern Minnesota are very different from North Shore streams. Most rise from springs and thus are cool in summer. The limestone and alluvial soils in drainages make the streams hard, nonacidic, alkaline and very productive. Whereas the North Shore streams have relatively few aquatic insects, the southeast streams produce frequent hatches of mayflies, caddis flies and midges-all providing food for trout.

Nonetheless, southeast trout streams do have problems, most related to agriculture. Fence-to-fence grain farming on the uplands and pasturing of the river bottoms contribute to land erosion and sedimentation of the streambeds. This fine sediment covers the gravel runs and riffles that trout need to spawn and invertebrates need to survive. The clearing of shoreline trees takes away the underwater root wads and fallen trees in which trout find cover from current and predators. Finally, many of these streams simply aren’t very large, and large trout find little cover. So, while the best of these streams may produce up to 300 pounds of fish per acre-excellent production by any measure-18-inchers may be scarce except as figments of the imagination.

Because the chemistry and productivity of these streams are good, trout respond well to some kinds of habitat improvement. For example, the use of planks and boulders to build artificial overhanging banks increases big-fish cover, as does the placement of boulders in channel. Riprap prevents bank erosion. Wing dams and other current deflectors keep silt from key areas.

Brown trout are the trout best suited to the southeast streams. In the best of these rivers, such as Trout Run (in Winona and Fillmore counties), browns are self-sustaining. In other streams, such as the South Branch of the Whitewater, natural reproduction is augmented with stocking. In a few streams, spawning habitat is extremely limited, and the trout fishery is maintained entirely by stocking. Most people fishing these streams would regard a 14-inch brown as large, though some trout occasionally exceed eight pounds.

Some small southeast tributaries support wild brook trout; other streams are stocked with brookies. Some strains of rainbow trout have been tried in these creeks. Unfortunately, rainbows tend to migrate to larger, less suitable water so success with this species has been limited.

Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Iowa Trout Fishing

Iowa’s trout program consists of 48 catchable rainbow, brown and brook trout fisheries, seven special trout fisheries, three winter  trout fisheries, and 28 put-and-grow trout fisheries. Most of these must be maintained by stocking because successful natural reproduction of trout occurs in a few Iowa waters. Six trout fisheries, however, offer excellent angling opportunities for catching wild, naturally sustaining brown or brook trout populations. These various types of trout fisheries have been developed to enable the trout angler to select the types of trout fishing preferred.

On your next outing in Northeast Iowa, plan to visit one of Iowa’s three trout production facilities- Manchester, Decorah, or Big Springs. The grounds to each facility are open to the public year round from sunrise to sunset. Fisheries employees are present during office hours to answer your questions pertaining to all of Iowa’s fisheries programs as well as current trout stream conditions.

A pond at Big Springs Hatchery, near Elkader, has been specially designated as a fishing pond for kids ages 12 and under. The pond has easy access and is stocked weekly to provide young anglers with a likely chance of reeling in their first trout. All kids must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult angler. Additional rules are posted at the pond.

Source:Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Hunting in Minnesota

Finding a great place to hunt is often as challenging as the actual hunting itself. Minnesota hunters are fortunate that the search is not nearly as difficult as it is in many states, where public land is rare. The most commonly hunted public lands in Minnesota are state wildlife management areas (WMA), state forests, national forests, and federal waterfowl production areas (WPAs).

For more information on hunting, visit Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Houston
MN
507-896-3000

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Fort Atkinson
IA
563-534-7145

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Preston
MN
507-327-4276

Minnesota's Trout Capital on the South Branch of the Root River! Call or email Mel to book guided trips. Guided Trips, Flies for Area Streams, Gear, Tackle, Local Info, Fly Fishing Lessons, Wader Repair