Splash down

Trout get new home in valley

Tim Ohmann hands a net filled with brown trout to Jim Levitt Wednesday afternoon for stocking in Brown’s Creek. Ohmann and Levitt were one of two DNR crews stocking trout in the creek at two locations. Levitt said the DNR stocks Brown’s Creek with trout each spring. (Gazette photo by Erik Sandin)

On a day not fit for people to do much outside, hundreds of new St. Croix Valley residents made themselves comfortable in their new home.

Two Minnesota Department of Natural Resources crews spent Wednesday afternoon stocking brown trout in two sections of Brown’s Creek near McKusick Lake and the Oak Glen Golf Course.

DNR Fisheries Specialist Jim Levitt said the agency releases brown trout in Brown’s Creek every spring to boost the creek’s fish population.

“It’s because of fishing pressure. They get caught out,” he said.

Another reason the DNR stocks brown trout in the creek is because the hatchery fish struggle to reproduce.

Levitt and DNR staffer Tim Ohmann stocked the creek at a site across McKusick Road from the golf course. The fish were between 1.5 and 2 years old and weighed an average of a half-pound, Levitt said.

The fish stocked in Brown’s Creek Wednesday will live in a creek rehabilitated by the Brown’s Creek Watershed District to promote trout survival. Trout prefer cool bodies of water.

“Brown trout are a little more tolerable of warmer water than rainbow trout,” he said.

Another natural impact on Brown’s Creek trout is the beaver, according to Levitt. Beaver dams on the creek slows the flow and warms up the creek’s water.

But Levitt said the brown trout stocked in the stream Wednesday are large enough to be caught by anglers when fishing season opens May 11.