SAND CREEK — Trout habitat improvement continues on an already high-quality trout stream flowing into the village of Sand Creek just south of where Barron, Dunn and Chippewa counties meet.
The Wisconsin Clear Waters chapter of Trout Unlimited and the state Department of Natural Resources recently combined to improve conditions for trout on a newly acquired Sand Creek easement.
The project, just completed, is between two previous stream restoration sections of the waterway.
Sand Creek runs southwest for 7.5 miles from near the Barron County line just west of New Auburn to the village of Sand Creek, where the stream joins the Red Cedar River.
“Sand Creek is well known locally for the potential to produce trophy brown trout,” said Joseph Gerbyshak, a DNR fisheries biologist in the Eau Claire area.
Sand Creek is a Class 1 trout stream. In Wisconsin, Class 1 trout waters are considered high quality for trout with a sufficient natural reproduction of wild trout. Streams with that designation have a no-minimum size, five-fish bag limit regulation.
But from 10th Street downstream for 1.5 miles to the Red Cedar River — a section of stream that includes this year’s habitat project — Sand Creek has a special trophy fishing regulation in place to protect its unique resource, Gerbyshak said.
The trophy regulation stipulates a one-fish bag limit with an 18-inch minimum size, and only artificial lures are allowed.
There is a state fisheries parking lot on the stream off of 1342nd Avenue just to the west of the village of Sand Creek. From the parking lot upstream, for 4,700 feet, a continuous easement provides fishing access to the public, Gerbyshak said.
Trout rehabilitation work has been completed on all of that stretch of water.
“The rehabilitation project enhances Sand Creek’s ability to provide clear water as a feeder stream to the Red Cedar River,” Wisconsin Clear Waters president Dick Duplessie said.
The project included placing large rocks and other structures in the water for overhead cover for trout, along with seeding and mulching along stream banks.
Project funding and contributions have come from the DNR, Wisconsin Clear Waters, Xcel Energy, Dunn County Fish and Game, and the Chippewa Valley Outdoor Resources Alliance.
Dave Greschner writes about the outdoors and sports for the Rice Lake Chronotype, which is owned by APG Media of Wisconsin.