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. [singlepic id=1625 w=360 h=280 float=right]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.
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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.