Lanesboro area

Fishing

Lakes


Houston County

Beaver Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, rainbow trout, white sucker, American brook lamprey, creek chub, southern redbelly dace, blacknose dace, Johnny darter, fantail darter, and slimy/mottled sculpin

Management Plan: Surber (1920) described Beaver Creek as the most important stream in Houston County. The lower 4.5 miles is not designated trout water. Schech’s Mill dam is located at stream mile 6.61. The area upstream of this dam to the confluence of East and West Beaver creek (0.79 miles) is mostly impounded. Limited habitat improvements have been completed on Beaver Creek. Most trout cover is provided by aquatic vegetation and deep pools. Overhead cover is limiting. Brown trout fingerling stocking has been reduced in the upstream most reach from 12,500 to 9,000 fish. Rainbow yearlings (1,300) are stocked to provide a small put-take fishery.

Comments: Beaver Creek downstream of Schech’s Mill has been a popular site for photographs for articles pertaining to southeast Minnesota trout fishing. This area is not under state angling easement.

West Beaver Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, brook trout, white sucker, American brook lamprey, central stoneroller, creek chub, southern redbelly dace, blacknose dace, longnose dace, fathead minnow, Johnny darter, fantail darter, slimy sculpin, and brook stickleback

Management Plan: West Beaver Creek is managed for both brown and brook trout. Brook trout management is emphasized in the headwaters. Both species are maintained through natural reproduction as the last stocking of brown trout fingerlings was completed in 2002. The most recent management plan was updated in 2008 and will again be updated in 2018. Total pounds of trout/acre is relatively low in downstream stations, mostly likely due to a lack of appropriate habitat and degraded stream conditions. Once you are upstream approximately a mile from West Beaver’s confluence with East Beaver Creek the trout population can be substantial. Numbers of brown trout >12 inches is good both up and downstream from Skifton Bridge. Brook trout can also be caught in this area. Larson’s Tributary produces some nice brown trout each year with a number >16 inches. Brook trout populations are most dense in the headwaters.

Comments: A recent state angling easement was purchased with a walk-in in the most downstream reach. A habitat improvement project was completed on this water in 2012.

East Beaver Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, brook trout, white sucker, creek chub, blacknose dace, central stoneroller, fantail darter, Johnny darter, slimy sculpin, and brook stickleback

Management Plan: East Beaver Creek is entirely within Beaver Creek Valley State Park. It is one of our coldest and most challenging trout streams. The water can be so clear as to give the impression that the trout are suspended in air rather than water. This makes for challenging trout fishing as no move you make goes unnoticed. A large habitat improvement project was completed in 1970 and again in 1986. By 1995 many of the habitat improvement structures were not functioning as designed and additional work was performed at this time. The stream has been managed as a wild brown trout fishery since 1984. Total trout biomass exceeds 200 lbs/acre in several areas. Estimated numbers of brown trout >12 inches in length routinely exceed 150/mile.

Comments: Because of the excellent access and the fact that the stream does not become crowded with anglers, East Beaver Creek had very high aesthetic values within the park. This stream was also part of the sculpin reintroduction program and research studies conducted by University of Minnesota graduate students.

Badger Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, brook trout, white sucker, creek chub, southern redbelly dace, northern redbelly dace, blacknose dace, longnose dace, bluntnose minnow, fathead minnow, common shiner, bigmouth shiner, central stoneroller, black bullhead, burbot, green sunfish, orange spotted sunfish, Johnny darter, fantail darter, central mudminnow, and brook stickleback

Management Plan: Surber (1920) described Badger Creek valley as free of all forest with steep open hills. A local farmer informed Surber that prior to the Civil War (1860’s), Badger Creek was “a famous little trout stream and efforts have been made to keep it stocked up to the present.” However, Surber, in the same document, indicated that Badger Creek would be suitable for restocking with sunfish and made no mention of the suitability of stocking trout. Johnson (1949) indicated that heavy erosion and lack of shade and deep pools limited for trout habitat. A habitat improvement project was completed in 1970 in the upstream portion of the creek. Badger Creek is maintained as a wild trout fishery. Brown trout stocking ceased in 1972 while brook trout stocked stopped in 1974. By 1975, a “tremendous” trout population had been established. Brown trout biomass exceeds 150 lbs/acre in the upstream most areas of Badger Creek. Estimated numbers of brown trout >12 inches have been >100/acre in recent assessments. Brook trout are available however their population is very limited in number. Tributary 6 contains a number of nice brook trout.

Comments: Much of the upper watershed is under MNDNR Forestry ownership.

Crooked Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, golden redhorse, white sucker, common carp, creek chub, longnose dace, central stoneroller, yellow bullhead, central mudminnow, northern pike, rock bass, bluegill, black crappie, green sunfish, yellow perch, logperch, Iowa darter, sauger, freshwater drum, American brook lamprey, longnose gar, and brook stickleback

Management Plan: Crooked Creek was first surveyed by Surber in 1921. The mouth of Crooked Creek on the Mississippi was moved from one mile south of Reno to one mile north of Reno. No mention of the presence of trout was given in this survey. Crooked Creek was resurveyed several times with the most recent in 2001. Two major tributaries, South Fork Crooked Creek and Shamrock Creek, have been impounded for flood control in the 1960’s. Habitat improvement projects have been completed in 1974, 1978, and 1984 to stabilize stream banks and increase overhead cover. Brown trout fingerling stocking has recently been reduced from 24,500 fish to 20,000 fish to meet current recommended stocking rates. Rainbow trout yearling stocking has also been reduced from 1,500 fish to 500 fish in Reach 3 (Freeburg upstream to mouth of South Fork Crooked Creek). Rainbow trout fingerling stocking remains at 5,000 each year in both Reach 3 and 4 (Freeburg upstream past mouth of South Fork Crooked Creek to Hwy 249). Assessments in 2000 indicated that estimated numbers of brown trout >12 inches ranged from 26 to 89/mile upstream of Freeburg. Total brown trout biomass ranged from 51 to 104 lbs/acre. Brook trout become available upstream of the mouth of South Fork Crooked Creek with the most abundant populations in the headwaters.

Comments: Separate management plans have been written for Clear Creek, South Fork Crooked Creek, Shamrock Creek and four unnamed tributaries.

South Fork Crooked Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, rainbow trout, white sucker, common carp, blacknose dace, longnose dace, creek chub, bigmouth shiner, brassy minnow, fathead minnow, bluntnose minnow, central stoneroller, yellow bullhead, black crappie, bluegill, green sunfish, and brook stickleback

Management Plan: The earliest stream survey for South Fork Crooked Creek was conducted in 1958. An impoundment (called R-3) is located at stream mile 1.42 and was built in 1971. The impoundment warms the lower end of South Fork but also provides a warmwater fishery in the reservoir. Rainbow and brook trout have been sporadically stocked throughout management history. Brown trout fingerling stocking was discontinued in Reach 4 (most upstream area) because natural reproduction was found to be more than sufficient in maintaining the population and brook trout are now being reintroduced to the area.

Comments: R-3 impoundment (the reservoir dividing Reach 1 and 3) provides a warmwater fishery for those interested in largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill and channel catfish. R-3 has its own management plan. In 2008, largemouth bass abundance was very good at 18.8 fish/hour with 56% of the fish exceeding 12 inches in length. Currently active management of R-3 is lacking and will remain so until litigation over the access road (Link Hill Road) is completed and the public allowed access.

Ball Park Tributary

Species Present: Brown trout, white sucker, and brook stickleback

Management Plan: Ball Park Tributary is a small important coldwater source for Crooked Creek. Angling easements were purchased on this tributary to protect the riparian corridor and maintain this tributary as a nursery area for brown trout spawning from Crooked Creek.

Comments: Ball Park Tributary does not have its own management plan and is typically included in assessments and surveys with Crooked Creek.

Bee Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, white sucker, creek chub, southern redbelly dace, blacknose dace, longnose dace, slimy sculpin, brook stickleback, black bullhead, and American brook lamprey

Management Plan: Bee Creek extends 2.36 miles into Minnesota. The designated trout stream leaves Minnesota into Iowa where it is called Waterloo Creek. Brown trout fingerling stocking has been discontinued in Bee Creek because of the excellent natural reproduction taking place within recent years. A long-term monitoring station is located on this stream and is assessed every year in the spring. Riparian condition on Bee Creek is relatively good with an abundance of wooded areas. Trout cover is abundant in most of the stream. Recent trout population assessments indicate numbers of brown trout >12 inches have been >300/mile. Numbers of recruit (YOY) brown trout have been high. Total brown trout biomass typically is >150 lbs/acre. Headwater areas produce some of the nicest brook trout. Bee Creek is currently managed using the general southeast Minnesota angling regulation of 5 trout of any species in the bag limit with only one of those >16 inches total length. No gear restrictions are imposed on this water.

Comments: Rainbows in this stream come upstream from Iowa (where Bee Creek is called Waterloo Creek) as they are not stocked by MNDNR.

Winnebago Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, white sucker, northern hog sucker, creek chub, common carp, blacknose dace, longnose dace, common shiner, bluntnose minnow, bigmouth shiner, spotfin shiner, suckermouth minnow, fathead minnow, central stoneroller, yellow bullhead, central mudminnow, burbot, northern pike, bluegill, Johnny darter, fantail darter, slimy sculpin, and brook stickleback

Management Plan: During the first survey in 1958 (Huber), only the upstream most 7.8 miles of stream were deemed suitable for trout. Currently the upstream most 14.8 miles are managed for trout (Reach 2 and 3) though the lower 6.3 miles of this section are somewhat marginal trout waters (Reach 2). Winnebago Creek is stocked with 15,750 brown trout fingerlings annually in the upstream most 8.5 miles (Reach 3). In addition, 1,050 rainbow trout yearlings are stocked annually in Reach 3. A long-term monitoring station is located in Reach 3 and is assessed every spring. Recent assessment of the trout population in the long-term monitoring station indicate that total brown trout biomass is typically >220 lbs/acre. Estimated numbers of brown trout >12 inches was 187/mile in the last assessment (2010). Currently Winnebago Creek is managed using the general southeast Minnesota angling regulation of 5 trout of any species in the bag limit with only one of those >16 inches total length. No gear restrictions are imposed on this water.

Comments: Winnebago Creek enters the Mississippi River in New Albin, Iowa. Camp Winnebago has been the location of a popular outdoor education program that the Lanesboro Fisheries office participates in each year doing electrofish demonstrations for 4th and 5th graders.

Daley Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, brook trout, white sucker, common carp, creek chub, southern redbelly dace, blacknose dace, longnose dace, common shiner, fathead minnow, brassy minnow, central stoneroller, Johnny darter and brook stickleback

Management Plan: The most recent assessment reported an estimated brown trout abundance of 796 fish/mile with 147 fish/mile > 12 inches where a habitat improvement project was completed in 1996. This habitat improvement project included 116 LUNKER structures along with 12 log cribs, 4 Hewitt ramps and numerous cover rocks. Natural reproduction has been good and stocking of brown trout fingerlings was discontinued in 1977. The Daley Creek management plan has recently been changed to emphasis brook trout following our Long-Range Trout Stream Plan to increase the number of streams that are managed for brook trout in southeast Minnesota. The creek has been stocked with 7,000 brook trout fingerlings annually now for three years beginning in 2008.

Comments: Angling easements begin at stream mile 0.53 and continue upstream. An assessment in 2012 will be completed to evaluate the brook trout reintroduction.

Swede Bottom Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, brook trout, white sucker, creek chub, blacknose dace, southern redbelly dace, fathead minnow, mimic shiner, central stoneroller, green sunfish, black bullhead, Johnny darter, and brook stickleback

Management Plan: The management plan for Swede Bottom Creek was last updated in 2008. All 3 reaches of the stream are managed for brook trout at this time. Brown and brook trout were last stocked into Swede Bottom Creek in 1979. The angling easement downstream of the road bridge is in very poor condition and is planned for stream corridor improvements. No brown trout were sampled in the most recent trout population assessment. Estimated numbers of brook trout during this assessment were as high as 422 adults/mile with 82/mile >10 inches.

Comments: Swede Bottom Creek is a difficult stream to fish but can provide some excellent brook trout fishing in the right conditions.

Thompson Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, white sucker, golden redhorse, shorthead redhorse, northern hog sucker, creek chub, southern redbelly dace, blacknose dace, longnose dace, golden shiner, emerald shiner, weed shiner, river shiner, bigmouth shiner, spotfin shiner, brassy minnow, silvery minnow, fathead minnow, central stoneroller, black bullhead, yellow bullhead, central mudminnow, burbot, northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegill, green sunfish, pumpkinseed, logperch, Johnny darter, fantail darter, slimy sculpin, American brook lamprey and brook stickleback

Management Plan: This stream was first surveyed by Surber in 1920. He reported that the stream had little value as trout water. Severe flash flooding causing water levels to rise 16 ft overnight occurred on June 18, 1920. Spring flows have increased around the time the survey was completed in 1986 and this has contributed to the success of Thompson Creek as a trout stream. Most past management of this stream was focused on stocking and Thompson Creek is currently stocked with 7,500 brown trout fingerlings on an annual basis. Other limiting factors include the dominance of sand as a substrate in areas downstream and elevated water temperatures in the same area. Recent assessments (2007) indicate that total brown trout biomass ranges from 25 to 66 lbs/acre. Estimated numbers of brown trout >12 inches range from 0 to 16/mile. Brook trout biomass is highest in the headwaters and was last estimated to be 41 lbs/acre.

Comments: Thompson Creek is also called Dexter Creek and Indian Springs by locals.

Sullivan Creek

Species Present: Brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, Chinook salmon, white sucker, fathead minnow, blacknose dace, longnose dace, creek chub, slimy sculpin, green sunfish, and Johnny darter

Management Plan: Sullivan Creek was deemed unsuitable for trout during the first survey in 1920 because of the frequency of damaging floods. Stocking has not taken place since 1989 when 5,000 brown trout fingerlings were released. Most recent assessments (2001) indicate that Sullivan Creek has a total brown trout biomass ranging from 12 to 72 lbs/acre with the greatest number of brown trout in the angling easement area downstream. Total brook trout biomass ranged from 3 to 21 lbs/acre with the greatest number of brook trout near the headwaters.

Comments: The rainbow trout and Chinook salmon in the “species present” list above was sampled in 1991 and escaped from the fish hatchery on several tributaries of this stream.