I checked the Mequon-Thiensville Fishway Camera website this morning and got a big surprise. A picture of a native Coaster Brook Trout swimming upstream in the Milwaukee River.
This would not be so shocking to find in a tributary of Lake Superior, but I never imagined a Brook Trout would be swimming up the Milwaukee River. It goes to show that tearing down dams really does allow a river to support more wildlife.
If Grafton and West Bend would tear down their decrepit dams these Coasters would have a true shot at making their way up to Brook Trout spawning habitat in the Northern Kettle Moraine headwaters. Can you imagine the Milwaukee River being home to the only native anadromous salmonid? How cool would that be? Could West Bend become the Coaster Capital of the Midwest?
A Coaster Brook Trout swimming past the fishway camera in the Milwaukee River in Thiensville, WI
The July Edition of “Wisconsin Trout” arrived in my mailbox yesterday and the cover article relates to the TU National meeting for 2013 taking place in Wisconsin. I think the secret is getting out about the incredible trout fishery we have here in Wisconsin. Shhhh.
There’s another good write-up by WITU State Council Chair Kim McCarthy about his trip to Canada to fish, during which he reflects on how good we’ve got it in Southwest Wisconsin.
Wi Trout Unlimited July 2012 Page 1
Wi Trout Unlimited July 2012 Page 3
The Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited chapter organized a work day Saturday morning on a stream in Dane County. Stephen Rose and I went out to lend a hand. There were 34 volunteers clearing Buckthorn, Box Elder, and Honeysuckle away from the stream corridor, and in 3 hours we cleaned out over 1,000 feet of streambank. This section of the stream went from a choked up mess to a wonderful place to chase after trout and take in the beauty of a spring creek.
(Click on the picture below to see 13 more pictures from the cleanup day)
SWTU Cleanup - Photo Copyright James Beecher, 2012
Kurt Welke, the Fisheries Manager for the South Central Region of Wisconsin, was on hand and working hard. He set aside some larger tree trunk sections that would be placed in a section of the stream that was wide, shallow, and silty. He said that the trunks would be used to alter the flow of the water to create faster flow, which would scour away the silt, deepen the stream, and oxygenate the water.
SWTU will be holding two more maintenance/cleanup projects this spring. One on March 17th and one in April. If you’re interested check out the chapter’s website at http://www.swtu.org/, or contact Conservation Committee Chairman Steve Wald (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
It feels really good to help transform an unusable section of stream into a beautiful trout fishing destination. Each section of stream we improve provides another trout fishing destination for all of us to enjoy. Come on out March 17th and help improve your trout fishery!