The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold six open houses in March and April to update the public on accomplishments and goals for management of trout streams in southeastern Minnesota.
Fed by the cold water of natural springs, the valleys of southeastern Minnesota are an anglerís paradise, with more than 700 miles of trout streams. Ecologically sensitive, and popular with anglers from around the upper midwest, these streams require special attention to assure that they remain healthy and productive.
The DNR in 2003 worked with anglers and other interests to develop a 12-year strategic plan and a 6-year management plan to maintain the recreational and biological values of these coldwater resources. Now, at the midpoint of that 12-year period, the DNR is reporting on its progress and fine-tuning plans for the next six years.
The DNRís 2004-2009 management plan for southeast trout streams included four major goals related to angling opportunities, habitat improvement, research and monitoring, and public information. Accomplishments for this period include:
∑ Added 20.26 miles of angling easements on 20 streams.
∑ Reintroduced native brook trout in 17 streams.
∑ Implemented tiered trout fishing regulations to increase angling opportunities.
∑ Assessed fish populations in 68 streams.
∑ Published 68-page booklet highlighting angling opportunities.
∑ Intensified long-term monitoring program to better evaluate factors influencing annual variability of trout populations.
While retaining the four major goals of the earlier plan, DNR fisheries staff has identified a number of opportunities for further improvements in their management of southeast Minnesotaís unique coldwater resources for the next few years, including:
∑ Increase angling opportunities.
∑ Accelerate acquisition of angling easements.
∑ Explore simplification of angling regulations.
∑ Secure new funding for habitat improvement.
∑ Enhance research and monitoring efforts.
∑ Augment information on DNR Web site.
Copies of the draft management plan can be found on the DNR Web site at www.mndnr.gov/areas/fisheries/lanesboro/index.html.