Two popular trout streams protected in northeast Iowa

By Sarah LeBlanc on February 27, 2017 in Blog

Coldwater Creek WMAWith the acquisition of two Winneshiek County properties, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is helping improve trout habitat and expand the public use of trout streams in northeast Iowa. 

Until recently, areas along two of the state’s highest quality trout streams were conditionally open to the public based on an informal agreement between the property owners and the Iowa DNR. 

By purchasing just over 96 acres along Coldwater Creek, INHF hopes to increase the size of the Coldwater Creek Wildlife Management Area by 30 percent, protecting valuable habitat and ensuring the stream remains accessible to the public. This area is popular for trout fishing because of its natural supply of brown trout and stock of rainbow and brook trout. 

A little less than half a mile of Coldwater Creek flows through the property, which also contains woodland, grassland and cropland. How the surrounding land is treated is especially important since trout need high quality water to survive. 

An area along part of North Bear Creek, one of the highest quality trout streams in northeast Iowa, according to a former DNR Fisheries Biologist, will also be protected. The stream is surrounded by cropland and natural area, which includes native woodland and restored prairie. The North Bear Creek access will also be transferred to the Iowa DNR for future management. 

“Both landowners had an agreement with the DNR to allow public fishing access on there already,” said Heather Jobst, INHF senior land conservation director. “And in both cases, the landowner passed away without any permanent agreement in place. INHF had the chance to protect great habitat and also ensure Iowans can experience these places into the future.”