Adopt-A-River Program moves forward

This past winter, as most of you probably saw, we had a poll on this blog asking for your feedback on which river would be a good fit for Minnesota Steelheader (MS) to Adopt through the MN DNR Adopt-a-River program.  A big thanks to all of you who took the time to vote and/or contact us with your comments and opinions

The Poll recently expired and after collecting the data we received a tie with the two highest votes gong to the Sucker River and the Devil Track River.  The Baptism River was a close second.

Through the course of the poll we received a variety of comments and opinions as to which river would be the best fit for us.  We received feedback from interest in helping rivers from the Lester River all the way up to the Flute Reed River- a pretty impressive span. 

Reiterating what we stated previously, our selection process needed to focus on a few key elements: level of visible trash/pollution, accessibility for a diverse group of volunteers, and overall steelhead habitat.  All the rivers that were in the poll have the steelhead habitat so that pretty much cancels itself off as a primary focal point. 

The river accessibility element on the other hand varies dramatically along the North Shore and deserved a close look.  We have a diverse group of  friends at MS, from your teenagers to veteran anglers in their 70's. Selecting a river that requires some major hiking or wadding in tough conditions could dramatically limit the amount of volunteers able to assist for stream-side clean-up.  The distance up the shore is also a factor. With the majority of the Steelhead fishing done South of Grand Marais, it is questionable whether we will have an adequate volunteer staff willing to make the journey for a clean up day in the upper shore area.

Finally we have the trash/pollution element.  This is obviously the biggest factor in our decision. Our Field Staffers referred to years of mental notes as to what river consistently has had an issue with trash along trails, river, parking area etc.  We also looked at which river would also get a fair amount of  tourist pressure throughout the year.  We all know that the trash thing is not just from careless anglers, tourist play a role in this as well.

Now I know some of you voiced your opinion on some pretty sweet Steelhead rivers, but the trash/pollution was not as bad as some other rivers. Sure the fishing may be more pristine, maybe fewer anglers,  and  more awe inspiring, but we are are not adopting a river for the coolness factor.  We are adopting a river that needs help from a group of willing volunteers - Minnesota Steelheader friends. 

After a collective review we decided that the river to adopt is the Sucker River.  The Sucker fits all 3 of our criteria well.  The proximity is convenient for the majority and the accessibility is not to difficult even under tough conditions.  The habitat is good and the fish, in our opinion are getting bigger.  I won't go into details but let me just say a couple of us have measured some trophy class steelhead in the past 5 years in stretches of the Sucker River.  I think we can all agree that the trash issue definitely needs to be addressed on this River as well. 

So, We moved forward with the DNR and are now the official Sponsor of the Sucker River.  The section we committed to is from Lake Superior inland to the upstream boundary.  We will focus extra awareness in our clean up efforts in the lower reaches of the river that receive the most fishing and tourist pressure.  We plan to have 2 outings annually.  The first date has yet to be finalized but we are looking at sometime before May 15th.  We will also have a fall outing sometime during the fall salmon run in September.

If you are interested in volunteering please send us an email through our website or via facebook... sorry no email links here, demented spammers like blogs. Anyway, we will give you more of the specific details on date, time and place.  We are also working on plans for a casual off the water meeting around the clean-up date to share some suds, stories, and fishing tips.  Check back for more details both here and on our facebook page.

Don't be a stranger!  Now is your chance to step up and give back a little to our fishery and meet some great anglers to boot!

DB

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