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.

Fall 2021 Chapter Update

Southeast Minnesota has been spared the drought that plagued the northern part of Minnesota.  We have had near normal rain, but it has fallen in several three to five-inch downpours.  Our streams have near normal flows and are full of fish.  Most of the trout are in the 10 to 14-inch range.  There are a few 18 inchers out there.  And a report of a 24 incher being caught, possibly apocryphal.

It has been an active summer for Win-Cres members and friends.  We continue to work to  protect and improve the resource, and support new fishermen and fisherwomen.  We have:

  • Mowed about 1.5 miles of trails along Garvin Brook, which we regard as our home water.
  • Removed brush and small trees  along the upper reaches of Cedar Valley Creek, in anticipation of habitat improvement (HI) work over the next few years.
  • Built lunker structures for projects on both upper Rush Creek and Wisel Creek.  See accompanying article about the cooperative three chapter effort on Wisel (page XX).
  • Supported the Women Veterans Fly Fishing Retreat at Whitewater State Park.  Win-Cres members and friends provided 20 fly boxes with 25 flies each to the veterans.  Members also provided fly tying and casting instruction to this high spirited group of women.
  • Knotweed control.  We have been spraying the highly invasive Japanese Knotweed on Garvin Brook each fall for 5 years.  We have kept the plant from spreading, but have not eradicated it.  Some of the stands have been sprayed yearly, with little visible effect.  This year we tried a different approach, injecting the stems directly with herbicide.  This appears to be more effective, as the injected stems did not flower and many dropped their leaves.  Since the herbicide works on the root system, we will have to wait until next summer to see the full effect.
  • Helped the landowner remove old fencing and wire from a 1990s Win-Cres project site.

I am grateful to our dedicated members and friends for their generosity of spirit.

Chuck Shepard

Join us on our next project!

Contact the Win-Cres Chapter

Chuck Shepard, Chapter President

shepard@hbci.com