ALONG THE REDWOOD RIVER - There's a lot more trout in the Redwood River as of Wednesday than there were before.
"Last couple of years as high at the water's been, I'm thinking they're way downstream now," said Paul Rasmussen, Camden State Park employee.
In anticipation of the trout season opener Saturday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources stocked the designated trout stream where the river runs through Camden on Wednesday with about 3,300 year-and-a-half old trout, weighing an average of a little more than one pound apiece.
Photos by Steve Browne
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fishery Technician Chuck Obler releases a net full of year-and-a-half old trout, weighing an average of one pound each into the Redwood River in Camden State Park on Wednesday.
"We do this every spring a few days before the opener," said DNR Fishery Technician Chuck Obler. "I've been doing this for 24 years and these are some of the biggest fish I've ever seen."
Obler and Lanesboro Hatchery Technician Cam Mitchell brought the fish to the park entrance in a big tanker trailer, where they were transferred to smaller tanks on a pickup truck to be ferried to the river.
"We brought brown trout for them," Mitchell said. "Then when we're done here we'll head over to Redwood Falls and stock Ramsey Creek. Then we'll do Fort Ridgely near Fairfax, and then to Spring Hindermin Creek with rainbows and browns."
The first thing Obler did Wednesday was to measure the temperature of the river, 46.8 degrees, within two degrees of the water temperature of the tank.
"If the difference is more than five degrees we'll mix the water and temper them," Obler said.
The trout were loaded into the truck at the hatchery Wednesday morning, according to Obler.
For two days before loading, the fish weren't fed to clean out their digestive systems and prevent ammonia buildup in the tanks from fish waste. Then they are released into receiving streams to replenish stocks depleted over the winter.
"It's pretty much considered a put-and-take fishery," Obler said. "They're fished out, washed away, or die off in winter when there either isn't enough food or enough oxygen."
Anyone hoping to get one of these trout will need a trout stamp for the designated trout stream within the park boundaries. The trout season opens Saturday, one hour before sunrise. Fishing hours for stream trout on inland waters go to 11 p.m.