Straight River: Do You Want Trout with Your
(pg 7 of 8)
Will these steps be enough to protect the
Straight? Tough to say, Merritt said. "What we do
know is there is a link between irrigation and the
river. What we don't know for sure is if there is a
direct impact on the trout and habitat
sustainability by the pumping that's going on."
Doug Kingsley, DNR area fisheries manager in
Park Rapids, agreed. "We don't know enough about
the stream temperatures." Kingsley said there is
some evidence the Straight was declining as a trout
stream long before the boom in irrigation. Brook
trout disappeared from its lower reaches in the
1940s and 1950s. More recent sampling of fish in
the river has not shown any trend, good or bad, he
The Straight is still a "very good fishery."
Summertime water temperatures occasionally exceed
what brown trout can tolerate, "but obviously they
are finding refuges" in groundwater seepages.
Kingsley surmises the Straight's condition is
"tenuous, but perhaps not critical."