Trout stream designations would better match habitat, under proposal

Trout stream designations would better match habitat, under proposal

Streams with the cold, clear water needed to support trout populations would get stronger protection as newly designated trout streams, while other streams unable to support trout would no longer have the designation, according to a proposal involving about 90 waters in 30 Minnesota counties.

“The list of designated trout streams would change,” said Brian Nerbonne, streams habitat consultant with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Every few years we update the list to make sure management and regulations line up with the potential of the streams to support trout.” In all, 48 streams totaling 60 miles would be added to the list, and 41 streams totaling 195 miles would be removed from the list.

People can learn more about the proposal and find out how to comment, including how to comment on individual streams, at The proposal also includes two trout lakes. Deadline for comments is Monday, Nov. 7.

“Adding or removing designations for streams would change requirements for anglers, landowners and those who work near these streams,” Nerbonne said. “Anyone with questions can check out our website and find out which streams are being considered.”

Designation lets the DNR regulate trout fishing seasons and methods and allows for work to improve angler access and fish habitat. Anglers must purchase a trout stamp to fish designated waters. Designation also protects streams through more stringent levels of permitting and regulatory programs that apply to those seeking water use appropriations and permits for work in a stream.

Additionally, because designated trout streams and their tributaries are public waters by statute, those streams being added to the list that are not already mapped as a public water would be required by state law to have a buffer of perennial vegetation, or approved alternative practices that protect water quality.

“People might wonder why designations change for streams. In some cases, stream conditions improve or worsen. In others, we get more information about streams or stream segments that shows us they need to be protected, or conversely, that we’re wasting effort to protect some streams that can’t support trout,” Nerbonne said.

The changes in trout stream designations parallel an additional effort by the DNR to clarify the names of current trout streams. This renaming would make stream maps and names more accurate, but would not change how the streams are managed.

Information about that separate but concurrent process, which will begin Monday, Aug. 15, also is available on the DNR website at

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