Win-Cres Chapter History
The Win-Cres Chapter of Trout Unlimited began its mission to protect and conserve the Southeast Minnesota trout steams in June of 1977. Dedicated trout fishermen from La Cresent and Winona joined together with the goal of preserving our great resource for future generations. Folks like the Mahlke brothers, Otto Haake and Virgil Laak began to meet at Lake Park Lodge in Winona and plan improvement projects for area streams. The chapter targeted Little Pickwick Creek and spent over 13 years making improvements to the small stream. Since that time, the list of stream improvement projects has grown to include nine streams. Rush Creek has received the most amount of Chapter effort after Little Pickwick. The Whitewater Region, Pine Creek, Garvin Brook, Torkelson Creek, Daley Creek and Weisel Creek are just a few places Win-Cres projects can be found. The Win-Cres chapter has worked in conjunction with the MN DNR and other area organizations, including the Hiawatha and Twin Cities chapters of TU, to preserve and protect our regions cold water resources. Thank you to the dedicated stewards of our resource: Tom Church, Chuck Sheperd, Jack Ambuhl, Ken Seebold, Ken Patzner, Mike Jeresek, Stan Spooner, Otto Haake, Virgil Laak, Mark Reisetter, Jim Clark, Rich Enochs, and the Mahlke brothers along with many others for their willingness to help preserve a treasure for the future.
June 2020 Chapter Update
Win-Cres members appreciate living in the Driftless Area more than ever. As the coronavirus sweeps through the nation, we have been largely spared by the infection, though the economic toll is apparent everywhere. We have unparalleled opportunities for social distancing on area streams. A few hours on the water does a lot to relieve stress and put things into perspective.
The spring caddis hatches were the most prolific ever seen by some area anglers, despite the challenges of competing with 20 naturals on every cast. The fish are plentiful, and in good condition. There was no spring flooding, so natural reproduction should be good this year.
We offered fly tying classes for John Weaver’s middle school students, an enthusiastic and energetic group. The stay-at-home orders forced cancellation of two outings with Robbie Ebner’s Goodhue Fishing Club.
Agribusiness: With an estimated 500,000 Minnesotans drinking water from contaminated wells, the MPCA once again failed to live up to its name. The agency declined to reconsider a prior decision to approve the massive expansion of the Daley Farms milking operation near Lewiston. Only Winona County ordinances keep the expansion at bay. Conservation-minded people need to turn out for the November elections.
Win-Cres is trying to work our way through the new thicket of DNR requirements to do some stream work. At this writing, it is likely that we will be mowing trails again this year (13 miles last summer). We are hopeful that we can remove some of the log piles left on the banks of area streams by last summer’s floods, to make some currently unfishable stretches again fishable.