Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Minnesota Trout Unlimited

The Vermillion Riverkeepers volunteers from the nonprofit conservation group Minnesota Trout Unlimited, who worked with the MNDNR on March 4 to remove almost two acres of invasive, non-native buckthorn brush from the South Branch of the Vermillion River State Aquatic Management Area, in Vermillion Township just west of Hwy. 52.  
To help raise money for its stream restoration work, and watershed education programs in local schools, Minnesota Trout Unlimited is sponsoring the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo March 17, 18, and 19 at Hamline University in St. Paul.  More than three dozen presentations on fly fishing are included in the ticket price, plus fly casting lessons on Hamline University's pool!  There is also a separate Saturday night Fly Fishing Film and Video Showcase event on March 18.  
For more information about the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo, visit www.greatwatersflyexpo.com.
Right now there are 7000 little trout swimming in 17  Minnesota classrooms, as part of Minnesota Trout Unlimited's watershed education program, which includes Lakeville South.  The students raised their fish from eggs in special coldwater aquariums.  The students study fish biology and water chemistry, and take field trips to learn about streams and how land use affects water quality.  Minnesota Trout Unlimited's education program is designed to help kids connect with watersheds through hands-on learning. The  program is supported by a grant from the State of Minnesota's Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, and is supported with the help of many local volunteers and community donations.
In May, students from Lakeville South and the other metro schools  will release their rainbow trout in the Vermillion River in Farmington, just as they did last year.
So from a sports story standpoint, that means when trout season opens on the Vermillion on April 15, you might catch a rainbow trout that was raised in a local classroom last year.  The Vermillion River is the only major metropolitan area stream in the country with a trophy-sized brown trout fishery. If you catch a brown trout there, you must release it—they are wild, naturally-reproducing fish.  However, you can keep rainbow trout, which are stocked, like the ones students released last year in Farmington.
Learn more about supporting the watershed education program, volunteering on stream restoration projects, and learning about fly fishing, by visiting www.mntu.org.

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