01 May 2010 /
I’ll take any reason to be near flowing water, trout and the bugs they eat. The Citizen Stream Monitoring Program that the folks at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency put together affords me an opportunity to be closely connected to a stream I live near. Once a week (or as often as I can) and after rain events I get in the truck and drive with no rod or reel, just a bucket, my camera, thermometer, clipboard and turbidity tube. I enjoy checking up on the trout that reside at each of the two locations I monitor.
With the exceptional weather this spring site monitoring has been kind of dull, gin clear water most of the time and despite over half an inch of rain each of the last two days this stream shows little sign any precipitation fell.
Recently the MPCA sent out 1st year monitors their Volunteer T-Shirts and I’ll proudly strut mine around everywhere I go, look for it in the upcoming season’s trout fishing photographs. Site #1 was 52 degrees at 10:30am and the trout were about, some nicer looking browns but the few brookies I noticed last year must be in a different spot, perhaps they’ll return. Since this first site runs along a highway I tend to spend time picking up the road trash from the rip-rap. I personally think rip-rap is hard enough to look at, it’s a much harder pill for me to swallow when it’s littered with random road trash. A few bug photo’s were taken as I like to check on most aspects of the trout environment. Ephemerella nymphs along with a large amount of free living caddis are enjoying this clean water, and the trout in turn enjoy them, for lunch. Site #2 had very similar results, same water temp, same bugs, similar in most respects. I choose to monitor two sites because it gives me an opportunity to see what, if any effect a mile of farm fields downstream of site #1 has on the water quality.
I highly encourage those of you who live near water or visit it often to contact the MPCA and sign up for this program. They send you (free of charge) all the necessary materials, including the rain gauge that I look at every day of my life, as well as the turbidity tube and all data sheets, all they ask is you visit the water and let them know what is going on. It is our responsibility as frequent users of the cold water resource we have in Southeast Minnesota to be good water stewards, be vigilant and take an active role in maintaining the streams you love.
Tags: Citizen Stream Monitoring Program, Clean Water, CSMP, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, MPCA, The Winona Fly Factory, Turbidity
08 Oct 2009 /
I visited my two CSMP sites yesterday to take my last set of data measurements for the season and to spy on the trout that hold at my site. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency asks volunteers to record daily rainfall totals as well as weekly visits to the stream site and after significant rainfall events. Looking over my data there was little to do in September as a nearly three week long dry spell made visiting my sites easy as each time the water remained gin clear. I was hoping that with the recent rain we’ve had the stream would look a bit different but even the few inches we have gotten hasn’t done much, didn’t even bump up the flow level. The trout look good and I was pleased to see the fish have grown over the last few months, there is now atleast one fish over 14 inches residing here and a brookie moved in which is excellent (note the brightly colored fins). I hope it’s a female, my thought is that it is with a shorter face and a wider gut. I will be turning in my data sheets and my rainfall measurements electronically with the data submission forms that the MPCA has conveniently put up on their website here. Also if you live near water and would be willing to take the time to record a few basic measurements contact the MPCA about volunteering, there is way too much water in Minnesota for the MPCA to keep track of it all and it should be our job as users of the resource to ensure that it is frequently monitored and maintained the same way we would approach poachers and other non-beneficial behavior when say a DNR CO isn’t around. Water-Stewards, Be One. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: Clean Water, CSMP, MPCA, The Winona Fly Factory, Volunteer Work
14 Aug 2009 /
Quick visit to my CSMP sites today at noon over lunch, took pictures quickly. Water temp 61-62 degrees. No rain just weekly visit, I’ve been trying to go on Thursdays. Note: several fish are showing sings of growth, three fish are getting to be good size. All brown trout although this creek has brookies in it, oh and I kicked up a blue heron trying to get dinner on my way out.
Tags: CSMP, MPCS, The Winona Fly Factory, Voulnteer Work, Water Stewards
Fished early this morning attempting to find Trico’s hatching. Water temp was 56 degrees upon arrival and the stream was tea colored making for good conditions but no real hatch to speak of. I saw a rising trout and put a Trico pattern on it for a strike but a miss on the hook set. I was hoping for more from the trico’s but no luck so I swapped for a nymph rig. Caddis and Sparkle Larva on my line makes for a deadly fly factory.
I left the camera battery at home which may have been a blessing in surprise as the rain began at alittle before 9am and did not let up, I can see myself getting it soaked. I fished with my soon to be brother-in-law this morning who has only fly fished for trout once before. He did well and I only had to tie a few knots, for the most part Joel was on his own. The rain let up and the sparkle larvae out fished the caddis larva five to one. I took seven trout from a single run of twenty feet, that was sweet. I’m catching fish after fish and I look over and Joel has a fish on, and what a fish! He took the size prize landing a 15in brown for his second trout for the day. We left at noon walking out in the mud and rain, I loved it. The streams need the water, so does my garden. At home I checked the rain gauge at 6am when I left the house, nothing. By 2pm we’ve had more than a half an inch of rain which is more precipitation than we’ve had since I started taking daily measurements on July 1st. I will have to swing by my CSMP site tomorrow.
Tags: Fly Fishing, MN, Rain, Reports, Southeast, The Winona Fly Factory, Trico
16 Jul 2009 /
I visited my CSMP sites today for my weekly visit and took this photo of the fish that inhabit the area near my first location. I counted close to twenty fish, all brown trout, as I sat watching from behind the concrete wall. I’m pleased that I haven’t found much in the way of trash since I was here last. As the site is near the roadside I expect to see a fair amount of trash accumulate in the rocks that form the bank closest to the road. I took my typical readings and during periods of no rain it remains fairly constant, recently a rain fall event of .39in found the stream transparency to be affected even the next day. This stream will remain quite clear most of the time and to get more accurate measurments of stream transparency the MPCA sent me a longer transparency tube. At 100cm, what seems crystal clear may not actually be as clear as you think.
I decided to sample and monitor a second site downstream from this site at a bridge location to see the difference between the two sites as rain fall events occur. I have added a second data sheet and will include the second set of data when turning in the total summers data. I have begun to really enjoy this time near the stream and the trout, with fishing not typically on my mind I find I approach the fish wanting only to observe, get to know my new friends and after a while I might have names for a few of them, at least the biggest brown.
Tags: Brown Trout, CSMP, MN, MPCA, Southeast, Trout Stream
30 Jun 2009 /
After assessing my location to potential testing sites and with the information provided by Wendy B. I chose a site within fifteen minutes driving from my doorstep (if I make the street lights). The site is on a stream that the MPCA has never received data from, is close to home and has a few albeit small trout but trout to watch just the same. Sites are usually at road crossings but they don’t have to be and because the three road crossings that were potential options all turned out to be shallow skinny riffles with no depth or fish for that matter I chose this site which is very close to the road that follows the stream.
Once onsite I took a visual assessment of the water and collected a sample from mid depth without kicking up sediment and poured the contents into the provided transparency tube. The MPCA sends a standard 60cm tube but for situations like mine where the water stays clear they can send a 100cm tube, I’ll be looking into this. I took a water temp and finished the data collection before collecting most of the trash along the roadside. I removed a large plastic fertilizer bag from the stream while picking rocks to find bugs. Picking rocks from the riffles upstream of the site location I found a large amount of mayfly nymphs in there very early instars, its like the streams around here go void of nymphs for a small time before they grow.
I will be visiting this place often so I will get a chance to get to know the fish that live near the wall. Close to twenty brown trout live in the deeper water near the concrete wall that gives me my reference point for the stream level measurement and although they are small they are still very fun to watch. I creep up from behind the concrete wall and peer over, they never see me coming, from this vantage point I can see them picking items from the drift. Trout, and fish in general for that matter, are just plain cool to look at.
The potential to catch one of these fish is there but the water is crystal clear and I have a feeling will be so most of the time, one reason to stay on top of rain events to get transparency data right away.
Tags: MPCA, Stream Monitoring, The Winona Fly Factory, Volunteer Work, Water Quality
25 May 2009 /
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency works with volunteers that live near, or visit often, water that needs monitoring. Volunteers request a kit and work with the MPCA to choose a good testing/assessment site for which to collect data. I received my CSMP Kit yesterday.
- Instructions/Data Sheets/Laminated Cheat Sheet for Field Work
- Rain Gauge with Mount
- Transparency Tube
The Minnesota Pollution control agency uses data collected regularly by volunteers to help assess the water quality of the lakes, rivers and streams. I will be choosing a regular site to visit weekly and daily after significant rain occurrences. Using the transparency tube I will take measurements that help determine the turbidity of the flow at a specific time. Recording this over time I believe helps the MPCA assess the streams reaction to rain runoff. The MPCA sends volunteers a collection envelope each fall to gather the data sheets.
Part of the deal with this is daily rain fall readings logged and sent in with the stream assessment data. To make the job of taking a daily reading at a similar time easier I placed the rain gauge along my walk to the truck out our back door. I will keep the data sheets in the truck and record each morning when I get in. Deciding an optimal assessment location on a stream within 20 miles of my doorstep is the goal for next week. Photo’s and information to come later.
Tags: CSMP, MPCA, The Winona Fly Factory, Voulnteer Work