Greetings! Hope you all have been getting out and enjoying some of our areas awesome trout streams this summer. I have been fishing here and got in a bit of fishing on a family trip out West. This summer we headed out to Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks. First off, I will not be planning a summer trip out West in advance anymore. Nowadays for popular national parks, reservations to stay in the park must be made a year in advance. Our Yosemite reservations were cancelled the two previous years due to Covid and were almost cancelled this year due to fire. A week before we left, they opened the park entrance that we needed. Too stressful! From now on, a week before heading out, we will get out a map, see what areas of the West are not burning, under 100 degrees for day- time highs, and what rivers still have water in them.
I’ve often said, I fish out West not for the fishing (hard to beat up to 8000 fish per mile around here), but for the change in scenery. On my hike to the Merced River one morning a bear sauntered past not 25 yards away. A few minutes later a couple of mule deer and I played a game of “chicken” on the trail. I won when they ceded the trail when we got within five yards of each other. While casting I missed a few strikes when distracted by the sunlight lighting up Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. Focusing on task at hand, I did manage to catch a few nice fish. Midges were on only thing on the menu and only in the slow water. Luckily, if you can catch fish in our neck of the woods, you can catch them anywhere, and lessons learned on midging trout in the Kinni, applied to the Merced as well. BTW, if you go out to this area for fishing in August, I would concentrate on the Kings River, the other streams and lakes were getting pretty low and warm.
There have been lots of things going on this summer. Read about the proposed biodigester in Roberts, racetrack in River Falls, the possibility of the Junction Falls dam coming out much sooner than we thought, and about our September meeting /gear swap! Hope to see you there and we can catch up and swap fish tales!
RipRap has undergone a lot of changes in the recent past. After we lost our free printing and with the rising cost of postage, we decided to end the paper copy and email it to all members. The work of editing and layout is a laborious process, so we moved to publishing bimonthly. With the longer lead times, RipRap could no longer be easily used to update members on chapter events. RipRap will now enter a new phase. It will consist of brief emailed updates of chapter events, reports, and stories, with links to the full-length offerings on our web page. I’m a bit sad to see the old RipRap go, but excited for this new format that will allow us to be unshackled from page restraints, allowing for more words, photos, and now videos!
Our May 4th chapter meeting was at Rush River Brewing and featured our chapter awards. In case you missed our meeting, I want to give you a recap.
Randy Arnold singled out seven work-day volunteers who tallied at least 10 outings; during this past winter, most of those were under adverse conditions — see Randy’s article on page 3. Thanks so much to these seven and all the others who participated in our work days. We heard at the April chapter meeting how much the DNR appreciates your efforts, as does my backcast.
John Kaplan was awarded the Silver Trout award by the chapter. John and I joined the KIAP board at the same time nine years ago. My first memory of John was when we showed up at a stream monitoring workshop given by Kent Johnson. I got to know John as we carpooled to the Trimbelle and back to Glen Park for the training. John really took that training to heart and has been Kent’s right hand man ever since, installing and maintaining loggers, downloading the data, and championing the use of the WiseH2O app that is now being adopted by all of TU. I also got to know John on those cold January mornings when we would leave at 5 am, often in a snow storm, on our “spawning run.” Picking up eggs at the 7 Pines Hatchery in Frederic, delivering them to all the TIC classrooms, and giving a presentation at each one. I couldn’t have done it without my “co-pilot.”
Tom Schnadt was awarded the Gold Trout award. Tom has been a long-time board member and recent past president of KIAP. I got to know Tom as a board member when he was president. Tom gave you the freedom to find your passion in the chapter and then did everything he could to help you nurture that passion. He was so supportive of Trout in the Classroom and later Bugs in the Classroom when we first started up. He has been a huge advocate of youth education, starting up our inclusion in the Pheasants Forever Youth Day and Rocky Branch ECO Day. He seems to be just as involved in the chapter after “retirement” and I am afraid that I lean on him too much. When Covid struck, Tom was instrumental in allowing us to pivot to an on-line auction when we did not have the banquet as an option. He has headed up the 4×100 raffle and been crucial for our presence at the Fly Fishing Expo. He still volunteers for TIC, BIC, ECO Day, Randy’s workdays, and whatever else we come up with. He is great at getting others to volunteer as well. After all, who can say “no” to Tom?
I want to point out, in case you did not see in the latest issue of WI Trout, that our ex-offico president/board member, Scott Wagner, was given the Leadership award by the Wisconsin State Council. This award was well deserved. As I try to fill his big shoes, one could not have a better mentor as president. He is always there for me and willing to pick me up every time I stumble. I couldn’t do this job without him. Thanks, Scott!
Things You Ought To Know – a lot of stuff going on. We need you!!!!
First off, drag isn’t always evil. I have found that a little twitch when the fly is upstream or skitter when the fly floats past you can elicit a strike during upper Kinni stonefly hatches the past couple of weeks. A size #16 caddis seems to do the trick. Proof:
We will present our chapter awards at our May chapter meeting. You can nominate someone in the following categories:
Gold Trout Award Given to chapter member who has served as a Board Member or Chapter Officer. Given in recognition of long-term leadership and service to the chapter.
Silver Trout Award Given to chapter member, non-member, or deserving entity or organization. Given in recognition of making an outstanding contribution to the conservation of coldwater streams and their watersheds.
Certificates of Appreciation May be given to chapter members, non-members, or other organizations of entities. Award is presented for service contributions to chapter sponsored activities that are significant, but do not rise to the level of the Gold Trout Award or Silver Trout Award.
Nominations can be submitted to the Chapter President or a Board Member with a written description of why the nominator believes the nominee is worthy of recognition.
We will have a board member opening after Aprils meeting. We are going to miss John Kaplan! If interested contact Greg Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have plenty of need for volunteers in the near future! We need you! Please help the chapter make these events a success!
Workday this Saturday – March 5th, 7:30 until noon, the worksite is on the Upper Kinni at the DNR parking lot on Hwy 65, between Hwy 65 between Quarry and Liberty Roads. We would appreciate any amount of time you can put in. Contact Randy Arnold at email@example.com.
River Falls Earth Fest – Glen Park: Kiap-Tu-Wish will have a booth at the event that takes place on Sunday April 24 from 2:00 – 5:00 P.M. Volunteers are needed to educate at our booth as well as assist at a fly casting station and fly tying demo area. We are also hoping to have a small display of some of the insects found in the Kinni. Volunteers needs are for the following:
-Overall Booth – The usual answering questions about Kiap and helping those sign-up for areas they might be interested in learning more about. -Fly Casting – Help assist people with basic fly casting instruction. -Fly Tier – I’m sure the setup will be simple but if someone with skill was interested in planning on assisting people tie a basic pattern. Contact Greg Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Rocky Branch Elementary ECO Week needs volunteers to assist kids with bug capture and ID on the lower Kinni, April 28th to 1:30-3 pm. If you struggle with bug ID, like me, no worries – Dean Hansen will be there! If interested contact Greg Olson at email@example.com
Bugs in the Classroom! We need to help Dean Hansen show, handle and identify aquatic insects to grade school kids at the following locations: Monday, May 2nd, Greenwood Elementary (River Falls) 9-10:45 am. Monday May 2nd, Amery Intermediate school 1:15 to 3 pm Tuesday, May 3rd, Rocky Branch Elementary (River Falls) 10:00 am-12:25 pm and then 1:30-3pm If interested contact Greg Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RIVER FALLS FLY FISHING CLINIC This year’s Fly-Fishing Clinic, sponsored jointly by Kiap-TU-Wish and River Falls Parks and Recreation, is set for Saturday, June 4th, from 1:00-9:00 in Glen Park. We’ve been conducting this clinic for years and we know that it’s always popular; we expect about twenty students. The clinic will cover casting, knot tying, entomology, fishing strategies and wading safety. The chapter will provide supper during a break at 5:00, and guided fishing in the evening. Our chapter members are invited to join us as instructors, mentors, guides and supper servers. Mark your calendars for June 4 and volunteer by contacting Mike Alwin at email@example.com or Brian Smolinski at firstname.lastname@example.org. I guarantee you’ll have fun.
TCTU-KIAP Joint Kinni Funraiser – a reminder to check out the website and donate! Let’s make sure to get all of the $15,000 TCTU match. Talking to Duke Welter last night… well you know Duke, he suggested that we give $10 for every outing we have taken on the Kinni. I told Duke, I’m not sure I can take out a second mortgage on the house and sell a car or two. Anyway, you get the picture – we all fish and love the Kinni, lets meet the fundraising goal!
To donate, click here To learn more about this project on the TCTU website, click here.
Upcoming chapter meetings – more on these to come, but the April 6th meeting will be a short business meeting followed by presentations by Kasey and Nate! The May meeting we will present chapter awards at Rush River Brewing!
Whew! Like I said – a lot going on and we need your help to make it a success! I just listed volunteer opportunities that had something for everyone! Have a great weekend and try adding some drag to those stonefly presentations!
First off, I want to thank all KIAP members and supporters for everything they have done this year to help our Kinni restoration efforts. Through grants and your donations we donated $75,000 of the chapters money to this cause. The generous organizers of R4F then donated half of their proceeds to our chapter, close to $9000, to be used for the project.
Now our friends at TCTU have stepped in and are doing a tremendous job to increase fundraising efforts, so we can meet our goal of raising $200,000 by November of this year. We have teamed up and TCTU created a joint Kinni fundraising page for our chapters. What’s more, they have pledged to match donations up to $15,000. Let’s make sure we can get the full match!
Please check out the eloquent appeal from Bob Luck, TCTU president, the video by member Chris O’Brien, and the joint fundraising website below.
Shortly after moving to the Twin Cities some 30 years ago, my wife and I crossed the Kinnickinnic River at the Highway 35 bridge just north of River Falls. “I’ve heard of this river,” I said, “It’s one of the most famous trout streams in the country.” A few weeks later, she gave me a fly rod for my birthday, and her life hasn’t been the same since. In those days, I spent most of my time on the Upper Kinni, where the current flows deep and smooth. I could get onto the water within 5 minutes of parking my car—an important consideration given my young family and a full-time job.
Fish rose willingly to hatches of Caddis, Blue-wing Olives and Sulfurs, and sometimes they even took my fly. Recently, with more time on my hands, I’ve been hiking down into the gorge to fish the riffles and pools of the lower river. No road crosses the river for seven miles, and humans share the corridor with Osprey, Eagles, Fishers and even Black Bears. A river like this within an hour’s drive of 3 million people is nothing short of a miracle, and one of the reasons I boast that the Twin Cities is the best big metro area in the country for trout anglers.
In the next 12 months, we can make this amazing river even better. Two dams were built in River Falls in the early 1900s. The impoundments created by these dams raise summer water temperatures on the lower river as much as 5 degrees. Fish are unable to migrate between the lower and upper rivers. Since a severe rain event in June 2020 damaged the Powell Dam, silt built up over the past hundred years has been flowing into the lower river, threatening to smother the cobble stream bed, an important habitat for spawning and aquatic insects. In 2018, the City of River Falls voted to remove the dams and restore the river. Early this month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepted the city’s request to cancel the power generation license for the Powell Falls Dam, clearing the way to remove the dam and begin restoring the streambed next winter.
After 100 years, there is a lot of restoration work to do! Public funds will pay for approximately 2/3 of the restoration, including removal of all structures and basic soil stabilization. However, private donations will be needed to fully restore the river and create a mile of publicly accessible trout water in the bed of the former impoundment. That water, by the way, has the bones to be one of the sweetest stretches of the river. Lots of riffle/pool sequences, and some deep runs for the monsters to lurk. The South Branch, a brook trout stream, flows into the Kinni here. Rumors are swirling of enormous brook trout being caught in this stretch last summer by some bold pioneers who didn’t wait around for the rest of us to discover it.
Twin Cities TU and our partners at the KIAP-TU-WISH chapter in Wisconsin are collaborating with a variety of organizations to raise funds, and we are asking for your help. Between now and May 20th, we plan to raise at least $15,000 in donations from our members to restore the Kinni. This will be matched by a $15,000 grant from our chapter account. The TCTU Board is deeply committed to this effort: Every single board member has pledged a contribution, and we have already raised over $5,000. We hope you will join us!
I would like to start off with a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who participated in our 4 x 100 drawing and on-line auction. The auction brought in $9,104, the drawings $4,670, and with a donation of $300 from TCTU , the total gross amount donated is $14,074!
This was our most successful fund raiser ever and discounting expenses, we netted $11,871 for the chapter. Thanks so much to everyone that donated items for the drawing and auction. Special thanks to Tom Schnadt for once again doing an incredible job on the drawing and thanks to the auction committee that included: Tom, Scott Wagner, Ken Hanson, Ed Constantini, Dave Johnson , and Matt Janquart.
This issue of RipRap kicks off an incredibly active spring for the chapter! R4F, the River Falls Film Fishing Festival, starts things off on March 4th at Tattersall in River Falls, which we will be helping out with. Get your tickets now! The Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo will be March 18-20 in St. Paul and we will have a booth there. Covid kept us out of the schools for the past couple of years, but Dean Hanson and Bugs in the Classroom will be back in April! Fingers are crossed with hopes we can help out with the trout release days for Trout in the Classroom as well. Rocky Branch Elementary will be collecting aquatic insects from the Kinni for their ECO Day and we will have our booth set up at the River Falls Earth Day celebration at Glen Park.
We are looking forward to launching our Stream Girls program for the Girl Scouts in May and will be helping to launch a fly fishing class at UW-RF. Hopefully, the city of River Falls fly fishing clinic will be back on too.
Of course, Randy Arnold is continuing to host brushing days every Saturday and is organizing some youth service days around this activity as well. Fundraising for the Kinni restoration is on-going too. Whew!!! We are an active chapter, and we are able to take all this on, because of your involvement. If any of these activities sound like something you would like to help out with, please reach out to me at: email@example.com.
Oh yeah, the fishing should be heating up too! Hoping that BWOs will be on the menu soon!
Happy New Year! I hope that you and your families were able to spend some quality time together over the holidays and that Covid infections were avoided. It appears that we are definitely not over the pandemic.
On a positive note, I want to wish Kiap-TU-Wish a Happy 50th Birthday!!! That’s right, 2022 marks our 50th year in existence. Take a moment to think about our trout fishery back when our chapter was founded in 1972. The Kinnickinnic and Rush rivers were still being stocked, and offered nowhere near the fishing we have today. Rivers such as the Trimbelle, South Fork of the Kinni, Eau Galle, Cady, Pine, Plum, and Gilbert were not on most anglers’ radar due to poor fishing. Look how far we have come in 50 years! Think about what we have accomplished! The good ol’ days are here and now! That list of rivers I just mentioned will continue to be added to because of you. Without your donations, grant writing, fundraising, education efforts, and boots on the ground hard work, our fishery would not be nearly what it is today.
We did not let the pandemic stop our efforts last year. We continued to have chapter meetings in a hybrid format – online and in person. Our chapter newsletter, RipRap, continues its legacy of excellence. When we couldn’t have our holiday banquet in person, we had it online, complete with raffles and auction. Members still stepped up to support the Hap Lutter Appeal. Trout in the Classroom and Pheasants Forever youth programs still went on. People showed up for volunteer work days. We assisted the DNR on Cady, Gilbert, and Plum. We continued our important stream monitoring programs, which are used to make decisions by the DNR and also by the City of River Falls. Speaking of which, we continued to work with the city and KCC on dam removal and the subsequent restoration efforts.
I would love to be around for our 100th birthday, but family medical history, and the fact I would be 102, make that very unlikely. I do know that the chapter will still be going strong, taking on the challenges that will come with an increasing population and a warming planet. I also know that we will succeed and that my grandchildren will be trout fishing in our waters. I know that because of what our chapter has accomplished in the past 50 years, what we are currently trying to accomplish, and the efforts we have planned for the future. Most importantly, I have come to know this chapter and its members. We are a chapter of doers, of generous donors, hard workers, and intelligent team players with a wide variety of skills. Take a bow, Kiap-TU-Wish members, and here’s to another 50 years!