Bigalk Trout Stream gets needed facelift

CRESCO - Bigalk trout stream, seven miles northeast of Cresco, applied for and received a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Recourses to revitalize and stabilize the structure of the public area and stream. 
Grant money comes from, in part, when a person buys a fishing license, $3.00 of which is earmarked to be put into a fund. There are six regions in Iowa that can apply for these grants. Howard County received one. 
Craig Fencl, with the Howard County Conservation, said, “The stream has had multiple revitalizations. There are many people and agencies that are involved in making these changes happen.” Bigalk Creek was open for public fishing, closed for five years and opened again in 1992 by the owners of the stream (Bigalk and Bakken families). 
Having trout streams are excellent for the environment. These naturally vegetated areas also prevent erosion, filter pollutants and provide shelter and food for fish and other aquatic organisms. Protecting and enhancing forested riparian areas is critical to maintain the conditions trout require to thrive, according to the USDA. 
The work that was done this year to Bigalk, was started in September and finished in October. 
Jeff Korsmo, Director of Howard County Conservation said, “Howard County Conservation Board owns a six-acre parcel along the Winneshiek county line, where about one-fourth of a mile of the Bigalk trout stream meanders. The remaining fishable parcels of the trout stream are under private ownership. That means the land owners have graciously opened up their property for the public to fish. Any improvements made on private parcels is paid for by the landowner. Please remember to be respectful of private property and to ‘take out what you take in.’” 
Cresco Wildlife Club, private landowners and several volunteers initially installed fish hides at various locations along the stream bank that were accessible by fishermen. Gabion rock baskets were also constructed in locations where they would help stop eroding streambanks. 
Fencl added, “The work that was done this year was stabilizing banks, vortex weirs and stones to speed up the water flow and to create ripples.” 
This also allows hiding places for the trout. 
A vortex weir is a structure designed to serve as a grade control and to create a diversity of flow velocities, while still maintaining the bed load sediment transport regime of the stream. The weir points upstream with the legs angling downstream at anywhere from 15 to 30 degree angles relative to the stream bank. 
The Mission Statement for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is “to conserve and enhance our natural resources in cooperation with individuals and organizations to improve the quality of life in Iowa and ensure a legacy for future generations.” 
Bigalk Trout Stream is stocked with trout every week by the Decorah Hatchery from April to October, which means stocking is done for this year.
Steve Pecinovsky with the Decorah Hatchery said, “We stock 150 half-pound rainbow trout each week, from April to October.” There is also natural reproduction of the trout. 
When fishing for trout, the daily limit in Iowa is five. However, fishermen may have 10 in possession at their home in the freezer. 
There is plenty of parking at the Bigalk Trout Stream. The walkability is very good as well. The work that has been done this year has improved the look of the stream and the surrounding area. 
If you are not into fishing, it is a nice place to take a walk and enjoy the scenery with your family and friends. 
There is a lot of pride and effort of many agencies, owners and private citizens put into maintaining this stream. This is a well-known stream for the people who live in this area. It is also known around the country. 
The DNR website says that the Bigalk Creek has an accessible pier and good to excellent shore fishing. They also indicate rainbow and brook trout populate the stream. 
Visitors can watch the flowing water, walk along the bank and maybe even get a glimpse of the illusive trout that inhabit Bigalk Trout Stream. You may even be able to catch some. They are mmm mmm good!

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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