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Frequently asked questions about rainbow trout management in Minnesota's Portion of Lake Superior.

Minnesota Steelhead Management:
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Mn DNR creel surveys
Lake Superior Area has continued its annual spring and summer creel surveys. The spring creel targets anglers fishing rivers and near river mouths on 17 Lake Superior tributaries and has recently added McQuade Harbor, whereas the summer creel focuses on those angling primarily by boat on Lake Superior. Annual completion reports for both creel surveys are available on the Lake Superior web page. 

Shorewide catch rate (fish/angler-hour) for unclipped steelhead and
clipped rainbow trout equal or less than 16" from '92 - 2012 spring creel surv
eys 

In 2011, the spring creel was conducted from April 8th - May 22nd. The total number of angler-hours (a-hrs) was 45,641, the third highest since the survey began in 1992. The estimated catch of steelhead was 5,754 and the second highest over the past 21 years. The estimated catch of Kamloops was 2,668. The catch rate for steelhead was 0.126 fish/a-hr (7.9 hours/fish) and the catch rate for Kamloops was 0.058 fish/a-hr (17.2 hours/fish)

Beaver Dam Managment Update
Duluth Area staff annually conducts a fall aerial survey of beaver activity within the Knife River watershed. When required, beaver trapping and dam removal is contracted with the US Department of Agriculture. The Blackhoof River is also assessed for beaver activity by canoe. The 2011 and 2012 flights were conducted on October 27th and October 31st, respectively.

info provided by the MN DNR

Rainbow Trout management summary for Minnesota waters of Lake Superior  2015 - Most current
"This document is an annual report on activities related to the management of rainbow trout in the Minnesota waters of Lake Superior and its tributaries."

North Shore
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Rainbow Trout management summary for Minnesota waters of Lake Superior  2010  "This document is an annual report on activities related to the management of rainbow trout in the Minnesota waters of Lake Superior and its tributaries."

Blackhoof River
In the fall of 2011, 11 beaver and 7 dams were removed from the anadromous portion of the Blackhoof River. Ten beaver and 8 dams were removed in 2012.
Knife River watershed
A total of 32 beaver and 42 dams were removed from the main tributaries of the Knife River after completion of the 2011 flight.
Fry and Fryling stocking
A total of 389,682 steelhead fry and 76,506 frylings were stocked in 2011, and 393,537 fry and 62,187 frylings were stocked in 2012. Stocked fish originated from either the Knife River captive broodstock or returning French River unclipped feral broodstock

Evaluation of smolt stocking in the Knife River
An evaluation of stocking location for hatchery-reared clipped steelhead yearlings in the Knife River has concluded. The primary objective of the study was to determine if stocking the upstream reaches rather than near the river mouth would increase the imprinting and/or survival rate prior to smoltification, which would decrease straying and increase the number of adults returning to the Knife River.  Approximately 20,000 hatchery yearlings were stocked upstream of the trap in the mid-section of the Knife River watershed and 20,000 were stocked directly downstream of the trap from 2003-06.

Thirty-seven percent of juveniles stocked upstream of the trap were implanted with coded wire tags (CWTs) while those stocked downstream of the trap were not. Overall, 17.5% of all juveniles stocked were implanted with CWTs.

Of the 760 maxillary-clipped adults sampled from 2005-2011, 11.7% possessed CWTs, a significantly lower percentage than that of yearlings stocked with CWTs. The adult return rate for yearlings stocked near the mouth was 0.6%, compared to 0.1% for those stocked in upstream reaches. Lower return rates and potential competition with naturally reproduced smolts are reasons stocking yearlings in the upstream reaches of the Knife River is not recommended. Further  details are found in Ward et. al (2012).

info provided by the MN DNR
info provided by the MN DNR
info provided by the MN DNR

Flood Damage to the French and Knife River Traps
The June 2012 flood caused major damage to the both the French and Knife River traps. The French River juvenile and adult traps sustained damage to grates and screens and both required considerable debris removal, but both have been repaired and are ready for spring activities. The reservoir upstream of the juvenile trap completely filled with sediment and had to be cleaned out to maintain the water source for spring spawning operations at the French River Area Office.  Damage to the Knife River trap was so extensive that the trap was not operational in the fall of 2012 and will not be operational in the spring of 2013. Official estimates have not been acquired, but repair would likely cost $200,000-$300,000. The final decision to repair or completely remove the trap has not been made yet. 

Research Projects
Archival Tags, Stable Isotope Analysis, and Bioenergetics Modeling The archival tagging study which began in spring 2006 was completed in March 2012. The purpose of this study was to determine the habitat used by Kamloops and steelhead in Lake Superior, to reveal similarities or differences between their habitat use, and to help anglers pursue these fish.

photo provided by the MN DNR

Steelhead data you should have!
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Upstream Posted Boundaries and Fish Sanctuaries on North Shore Streams Tributary of Lake Superior. 

Streams not listed have no upstream boundary and are subject to below-boundary regulations throughout their length.

North Shore - Upstream Boundry Locations

 Locations - click here

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