Location: Southeast Minnesota
Type of stream: Spring fed, freestone
Angling methods Fly, Spin
Species: Browns, Brookies
Season: April—Sept. Supporting
Services: Lanesboro, Rochester
Short take: A very good stream becomes great
Handicapped access: None
First, a little clarification. Minnesota has at least two Trout Run Creeks. There’s the tributary in the Whitewater watershed in Winona County and the other which flows into the North Branch of the Root River 20 miles south in Fillmore County. We’re talking about the latter one here. Trout Run Creek ranks seventh among the top ten brown trout streams in Minnesota with more than 200 brown trout per mine according to a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in 2011. Heading the list was the nearby Rush River system in southwestern Minnesota.
Trout Run rises on the prairie south of St. Charles and it flows almost due south for 13 miles to the Root River, itself a prime trout and smallmouth fishery. Access is easy and ample and MDNR has acquired numerous easements for angler use. Most anglers consider Troy, where Winona County Road 6 comes in from the east, to be the top of the best mileage. Banks are frequently undercut and draped with vegetation. When the sun is on the water, you’ll find fewer fish in the open. In summer cast terrestrials upstream against the bank.
The Hiawatha and Win Cress chapters of TU are devoted stewards of Trout Run Creek. In the past few years they, along with MDNR and support from TU’s Driftless Area Restoration Effort, have resulted and protected almost a mile of badly eroded stream bank. Skyhook, lunker, and cantilever structures provide cover for browns. Rock veins, weirs, and current deflectors re-establish natural stream flows. Flat rock and boulders have been emplaced to provide feeding lies. Armored cattle crossings have been installed. All together Trout Run Creek is a model of how TU chapters and collaborating conservation agencies can take a very good trout stream and make it great.