On October 11th Kasey Yallaly Senior Fisheries Biologist with the DNR presented a tentative proposal for changing creel limits for trout. Kasey’s territory is Pierce, St Croix, and western Dunn Counties and is actively involved in managing habitat and fisheries research for the Kinnickinnic, Rush, Trimbelle rivers, as well as other smaller streams and tributaries.
Kasey’s presentation began with a brief history of fish populations and water quality over the past 30 plus years. The Rush river throughout the 1960’s through the early 2000’s was almost entirely a stocked fishery. Stocking ended in 2007 as a result of improved water quality resulting in enough natural reproduction to support a self-sustaining trout population.
As the wild trout population has grown the stream regularly rates in ithe top with fish per mile for the entire Driftless region. The Kinnickinnic as well is in the top percentile in fish per stream mile. The Trimbelle, currently a class 2 stream with some support coming from stocking, may soon be moved to class 1 with a strong naturally reproducing trout population.
This is a real success story with regard to our cold-water fisheries; however, the DNR’s concern is that due to the incredible reproductive rates we are seeing higher fish densities in the 10-12 inch range and fewer “quality” fish in the 13-17 range. For instance, in the Rush, 85% of all fish are in the 6-12 range, and that number is 75%-90% in the other Pierce County streams. The current harvest limits on the Rush, Trimbelle and others is 3 fish 12 inches or larger. The Kinni size regulations currently state 5 fish under 12 inches. Kasey’s proposal is to change these regulations to 5 fish under 12 inches, 1 over 12 inches may be kept. The intent is to increase harvest of smaller fish and protect more of the larger fish. This would apply to all streams in Pierce and St Croix counties except, Cady Creek, Pine Creek, Willow River and the upper Eau Galle River. This is an initial proposal and most likely would not occur until 2026.
A meeting of this type is a great example of Kasey’s commitment to providing quality fishing and sound habitat management for all of us and we greatly appreciate her efforts and fish management knowledge. Additional information will be forthcoming as these proposals make their way through the WDNR regulation process. If you have additional questions regarging these proposed regulation changes, Kasey can be reached at: Kasey.Yallaly@wisconsin.gov, or by phone at, 715.977.7354.
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 tributariesin 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!).
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
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
Johnson, D. Kent
KinniCC Board of Directors
Mid-Missouri TU Chapter (MO)
R4F Film Festival Team (2022)
River Sky Drones
TU Driftless Area Restoration
Silver >$1K – 5K
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)
Joyful Baseflow Fund
Lee Wulf TU Chapter (IL)
Marinette TU Chapter (WI)
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
Dahm, Peter & Linda
Fischbach, Lawrence & Candy
Network for Good
Ritzinger, Mark & Jean
River Falls School District
WIN-CRES Chapter TU (MN)
Collaboration Partners(These partners have provided a letter of support and/or technical assistance)
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
Kinni Conditions Facebook Group
Kinnickinnic River Land Trust
Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission
North Woods & Waters of the St Croix Heritage Area
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 email@example.com
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.
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 largest 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).