100 Best: Whitewater River

Location: Southeast Minnesota

Type of stream: Spring fed Freestone

Angling methods Fly, spin

Species: Browns, rainbows, brookies

Access Easy

Season: Year-round Supporting

Services: Rochester, Elba

Short take: But it’s dry cold, and the trout don’t seem to mind

Handicapped access: None

Closest TU Chapter: Hiawatha, Win Cres

The Whitewater River contains no rapids only riffles famed for mid-day midge hatches on sunny days in the dead of winter. Generally speaking, they come off from noon to 2 p.m. Flies are tiny, #18 - #24. In pools, a nymph fished oh-so-slowly with a strike indictor will attract browns to 14 inches and more. Dressed with fleece, fingerless gloves, and 5 mil neoprenes, anglers seem undeterred by the frigid temperatures. In that southeastern Minnesota lies in Köppen’s hot summer humid continental climate classification, you can expect your share of 90° days. Summer sees ample hatches of mayflies and caddis. A box well stocked with terrestrials is a must.

Water temperatures remain remarkably consistent in the 50 miles of trout water contained in the three branches, as well as two tribs that come in lower…Beaver Creek and the other Trout Run. All are very similar in their gravely riffles, gentle sandy silt floored pools, and occasional turn around a rare bit of outcropping rock. Bushes often overhang banks. Tall cottonwoods shade much of the stream. Anglers who are precise and patient with short casts will to well. The upper reaches hold brook trout. Their habitat grades into rainbow water. But in the main brown trout dominate the watershed. While some large 18-inch plus fish are landed each year, browns in the 10- to 12-inch range are typical.


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