New Kinni Monitoring Reports

Two new Kiap-TU-Wish monitoring reports are now available in our Coldwater Science Library

“The Thermal Impacts of Kinnickinnic River Hydropower Dams and Impoundments in River Falls, WI, and Recent Thermal Benefits of the Lake Louise Drawdown”

Author: Kent Johnson, Kiap-TU-Wish Chapter

Summary:  This report summarizes 29 years of Kinnickinnic River temperature monitoring by Kiap-TU-Wish, describing the temperature monitoring network, the thermal impacts of Kinni dams and impoundments (1994-2020), recent (2021-2022) Kinni temperature improvements after the Lake Louise drawdown in 2020, the ongoing thermal impact of the Junction Falls Dam and Lake George, and plans for future temperature monitoring, as a part of the Kinnickinnic River Monitoring Plan, created in 2021 and implemented in 2022. Kiap-TU-Wish has graciously supported this critical temperature monitoring network, as we seek to understand the thermal impacts of stormwater, dams, and long-term climate change on the Kinni in River Falls.

Kiap-TU-Wish temperature monitoring sites on the Kinnickinnic River and tributaries in River Falls, WI

“Kinnickinnic River Macroinvertebrate Monitoring: Past, Present, and Future”

Authors:  Kent Johnson, Kiap-TU-Wish Chapter, Clarke Garry, Professor Emeritus,
UW-River Falls

Summary:  In Wisconsin, the use of aquatic macroinvertebrates for evaluating stream health was initiated by Dr. William L. Hilsenhoff at UW-Madison in 1977, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has long employed macroinvertebrate monitoring to characterize stream condition. This report summarizes the results of recent (2022) macroinvertebrate monitoring conducted at 6 sites on the Kinnickinnic River (Upper, Lower, and the new Kinni through Lake Louise), with a comparison to the river-wide macroinvertebrate monitoring conducted by Dr. Clarke Garry in 2002.  After a gap of 20 years, Kinni bugs and bug-whisperers provide an update on Kinni health, then and now.  Plans for future (2023-2025) macroinvertebrate monitoring at additional Kinni sites are also described.  As with all Kiap-TU-Wish projects, volunteer support was critical for this one.  Kiap-TU-Wish, KinniCC, and UW-River Falls volunteer time was a key to success, and Kiap-TU-Wish and KinniCC provided funding for detailed bug identification (in Latin, nonetheless!).

Net-spinning Caddisfly (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae)

Illustration by Janice Nelson Johnson

Kent Johnson (L) and Reid Dawald, KinniCC Stream Team member (R) at the “new Kinni” monitoring site in the former Lake Louise (2022 photo by Dr. John Wheeler, UW-River Falls)

Skip’s Loose Threads

Skip’s Loose Threads, May 1, 2023

It’s been a brutal Winter! Too much snow, too much cold, too much inside. About all you can do is organize fly tying stuff, put parafin on already lubricated ferrules, and think about prior years when Winter fishing was fun and possible. I remember a Winter day on the South Branch of the Root when I found out that felt soles are a magnet for snow. Every step I took, I gained an inch in height! At least until my added length made it impossible to stand.

A few days past, I was looking at my fly rods, wishing I had the Sage 4711LL which now belongs to my younger son who lives in Colorado. At that time, I also owned an ultra light weight Sage 279LL which had a ring and hood reel seat, instead of the screw-locking one installed on the 4711LL, and that memory caused me to recall an incident where it failed.

Several years ago, I was in Aspen, Colorado to play the harpsichord in performances of all six of Bach’s Brandenburg concertos. I had been asked by my violinist friend Jaime Laredo to join him in this project. I had been to Aspen before, and was aware of the free trolley that made a round trip through town every half hour or so. At the end of the trolley line was Slaughterhouse Road, where a stone foot-bridge spanned the Roaring Fork. One bright, sunny afternoon, when rehearsing was done, I gathered my fishing gear, stepped onto the trolley, and was driven to the bridge. The trolley man asked me when I would be done, and I asked him when his last trip to the bridge would be. He said 9pm, and I told him I would be at his turn-around spot at that hour.

When I arrived, PMD spinners were laying eggs in the shadows that the bridge cast on the water, little yellow mayflies dancing vertically under the stone arch. I had brought two rods in my case: the Sage 4711LL and an almost eight-foot two weight, a Sage 279LL. Pretty soon I was thigh-deep in the Roaring Fork, casting to rising Rainbows under the bridge. I had an audience, too…hikers on the footpath parallelling the river stopped to watch. I’d tied on a long 6X tippet, and had turned the two pawls in my reel to provide the least possible resistance to a hooked fish. The reel was a Hardy-built Orvis CFO123. I had just hooked my third trout, when the hooded butt cap fell off the rod into the water, followed in quick succession by my reel and the little knurled ring that secured the front reel foot. I reached for the line, and with the rod tucked under my arm, managed to net and release the fish. I could see the reel in the clear water, but every time I moved my feet, the water clouded up. The audience was getting larger, with a few scantily-clad teenage nymphs just downstream of me. I started to pull on the fly line, but the reel on the bottom just revolved and let out more without moving. I hoped my fly line to backing knot was good. I wondered how much backing was on the reel. I tried to spot the butt cap and ring in the water to no avail. Eventually, after ten minutes or so of frustration, I just reached down with my right arm and picked up the reel off the bottom, retreated to shore thoroughly soaked, thankful for the warm sun, even though all the bugs were in the deep shadow. Still wet, I made it back to town on the next trolley. The trolley man laughed when I told him my story. When I got back to the Twin Cities, I sent the little rod to Sage on Bainbridge Island to be refitted with a new butt cap and knurled ring. Cost me eighty bucks. To this day, I don’t know why the glue under the butt cap decided to dry out. Was it the altitude? By the way, the Bach Brandenburgs went very well, thankyou. 

Update on campaign to remove Kinni Dams

Update on campaign to remove the Kinni dams

Recent Developments:

This fall, the City of River Falls agreed to engage the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) for their support of a dam removal project, via their Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Program. TheCOE project would involve removal of both dams and restoration of a one-mile reach of the Kinni.  n November 2022, the River Falls City Council voted to proceed with the initial COE feasibility study, at an estimated cost of $800,000. The COE will assume responsibility for the first $100,000 of the study, plus one-half of the remaining $700,000, leaving the City responsible for covering a $350,000 share.

To address some budgetary concerns that the City of River Falls communicated to stakeholders, Kinni Corridor Collaborative, Inc. (KinniCC), Trout Unlimited, and other community partners pledged a contribution of $175,000 (half of the City’s $350,000 share) to help fund the COE feasibility study.  To date, stakeholders working with KinniCC has raised $90,000 toward this goal, leaving a gap of $85,000 to fill by early 2023.

If you do not already know, the KinniCC is a community-led, non-profit (501(c)3) organization working with the City of River Falls and other stakeholders to implement the Kinnickinnic River Corridor Plan (KRCP), while preserving the river’s ecology and beauty.

As everyone knows, the Kinnickinnic River is a recreational treasure for our area, and we really need your help at this time to ensure the feasibility study proceeds by considering a generous donation. The KinniCC has set up a donation sight at Mighty Cause for this purpose. Thanks for your consideration.

Sponsors, Donors, and Partners

Platinum >$20K

Babcock RI Trust

Bye, Goff & Rohde Partners

Kiap-TU-Wish Chapter (WI)

Red Bottom Boat 2.0

Twin Cities TU Chapter (MN)

Wisconsin TU State Council

Gold >$5K-20K

Flygare, Tovah

Johnson, D. Kent

KinniCC Board of Directors

Mid-Missouri TU Chapter (MO)

Morrison, Sean

R4F Film Festival Team (2022)

River Sky Drones

TU Driftless Area Restoration

Silver >$1K – 5K

Benevity Fund

Blackhawk TU Chapter (WI)

Central WI TU Chapter (WI)

Coulee Region TU Chapter (WI)

D & C Brockway Charitable Fund

Elliott Donnelly TU Chapter (IL)

Frank Hornberg TU Chapter (WI)

Hanson, Amanda

Joyful Baseflow Fund

Lee Wulf TU Chapter (IL)

Marinette TU Chapter (WI)

Most, Betty

Peterson, Christina

Southeast WI TU Chapter (WI)

Southern WI TU Chapter (WI)

Vanden Bloomen, Dennis

Welter, John “Duke”

Wild River TU Chapter (WI)Wissota Hospitality/Country Inn

 Kinni Friends < $1K

Amazon Foundation (Smile)

Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop

Brilliant Impact

Chambers, Rob

Dahm, Peter & Linda

Falls Theatre

Fischbach, Lawrence & Candy

Garry, Clarke

Goff, Steve

Horvath, Gary

Hub 70

Network for Good

Ostrow, Winston

Potts, Jack

Prin, Tom

Ritzinger, Mark & Jean

River Falls School District

Topple, Ben

WIN-CRES Chapter TU (MN)

Collaboration Partners (These partners have provided a letter of support and/or technical assistance)

  • American Rivers
  • Ecological Restoration Institute /     CAFEs– UWRF
  • Express Pro Employment Services
  • Feuerhelm, Langer & Nelson, CPA
  • First National Bank – River Falls
  • Friends of the Kinni
  • Friends of Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks
  • Freshwater Collaborative (UW System)
  • Grow To Share
  • Hope 4 Creation
  • Illinois State Council TU
  • Inter-Fluve
  • Kinni Conditions Facebook Group
  • Kinnickinnic River Land Trust
  • Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission
  • Meyers Creative
  • MGI Consulting
  • MightyCause
  • North Woods & Waters of the St Croix Heritage Area
  • Photography By Wurm
  • River Alliance Wisconsin
  • River Falls Chamber of Commerce
  • River Falls – Neighbors For Intentional Growth
  • River Management Society – Midwest Chapter
  • St Croix Valley Community Foundation
  • The Prairie Enthusiasts – St Croix Valley Chapter
  • Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • United States Fish & Wildlife Service

Thanks To Saturday’s Workday Volunteers

Thanks to Saturday’s Workday Volunteers

Randy and four volunteers turned out Saturday morning to begin clearing buckthorn and box elders from the area around the DNR fishing access parking lot just upstream of the Hwy 35/65 bridge on the Kinni. Pictured are Loren Haas, John Skelton, and Dave Gregg. Also helping but not sticking around for the photo op was chapter member Joe Paatalo. The clearing work being done here is to provide a service learning opportunity for the 4th grade students from Greenwood Elementary who will turn out for an afternoon later this fall to drag the brush to one or two bonfires for burning. The students currently participate in Trout in the Classroom through our chapter.

On the day of the event, students will be split into two groups with one group learning about riparian corridors and stream entomology while the others haul brush and then switching off later. We got a good stat on Saturday but, Randy could certainly use the help of a few more volunteers. Lets face it folks, the buckthorn and box elders are growing at a faster pace than we with the help of the DNR are removing them. In places, the jungle just gets thicker and thicker each year. Watch for an email midweek containing details for next weekends workday.

Contact Randy Arnold, Kiap TU Wish Habitat Volunteer Coordinator for more information at

Stream Survey Report: 2022


The Baldwin DNR Fisheries crew surveyed a total of 64 trout stream sites this year on streams in Pierce, St. Croix and western Dunn counties. The surveys went well with the weather cooperating and very few large runoff events. 

Overall, trout densities in most streams are very stable compared to long term averages. Total trout densities were lower relative to last year, due in large part to the high natural reproduction in 2020 and 2021 making total trout numbers extremely high in 2021. 

In most streams, natural reproduction was low this year compared to long term averages but adult trout numbers were high in part due to the 2 large year classes of trout from the large hatches in 2020 and 2021. 

The drop in trout densities experienced this year is likely a good thing and nothing to be concerned about as trout densities in 2021 were likely higher than carrying capacity for most of these streams and competition for resources was high. With relatively lower trout densities and low natural reproduction this year, we should likely see a jump in size structure in the near future. 

Some additional trends resulting from our survey work this year were drops in brook trout densities in streams where both brook and brown trout occur. In many brook trout dominant streams, however, densities and natural reproduction are up from previous years. There is also promising news from the Cady Creek brook trout restoration project which shows brook trout densities higher than in previous years and densities that are finally higher than brown trout densities. 

The Willow River Race Branch looked better than ever with good numbers of adult brown and rainbow trout. This year seemed to be the year of large brook trout in our surveys with a few fish larger than 13 inches captured in several streams. 

We surveyed 11 trout habitat improvement projects for post-habitat evaluations and all of them look great as far as trout densities and natural reproduction with densities higher than prior to project completion in all projects. Overall, the trout populations are in great shape with many aspects to look forward to in the near future.

Rush River Stream Survey

On August 15, we were welcomed with a perfect day to assist WDNR Fisheries Biologists with their annual stream shocking survey at trend sites on the Rush River. We started out at Stonehammer and finished up at Vino in the Valley. The larg￾est brown trout was 21″with a handful over 15″. It’s quite a sight watching tubs of trout being measured and released. We were accompanied by local dairy farmer Tim Colbenson who jumped right in to learn what we do. A big thanks goes out to Kasey and Joe for trusting in us to help them out and witness their dedication to our cold water fisheries.

From left to right on the back row: Jaylen Pavloski
(volunteer), Jeff Jackson (WDNR Baldwin), Dave Drewiske (TU
volunteer), Joseph Gerbyshak (WDNR Eau Claire Fisheries
Biologist), Kasey Yallaly (DNR Baldwin Fisheries Biologist),
Sam Jacobson (WDNR Baldwin Fisheries Technician), Nick
Kriewald (WDNR Eau Claire Fisheries Technician), Barbara
Redmond (TU volunteer), Mary Lilly (TU volunteer)
Left to right front row: Parker Verdon (TU intern),
Andrew Mehus (Buffalo County/WDNR intern), Ben Belt
(TU volunteer), Matt Andre (WDNR Eau Claire Fisheries
Technician) Not pictured- Matt Simonson (WDNR Eau Claire
Fisheries Technician), Tim Colbenson(Ti-Shi Dairy).