With the stream trout season now open, anglers anxiously awaiting the walleye opener might consider brushing up on their open water angling techniques by wetting a line in the Straight River and catching some lunker brown trout, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

The Straight River, located south of Park Rapids, is one of only a couple of brown trout streams in northwestern Minnesota and is arguably the highest quality brown trout fishery in the state.

“This trout fishery supports very good natural reproduction and survival,” said Doug Kingsley, Park Rapids area fisheries supervisor for the DNR. “The chances of catching large brown trout are excellent.”

The groundwater-fed river, which flows generally west to east 18 miles from Straight Lake dam in Osage to the confluence with the Fish Hook River south of Park Rapids, is a naturalized brown trout fishery and highly accessible to anglers as it meanders through wooded riparian areas and wetlands with limited residential development.

Anglers can fish from shore on more than two-thirds of the Straight River without having to get permission from landowners. Close to eight of the 18 miles of the river below Straight Lake dam have angler access easements on one or both sides of the stream. The easements allow anglers to walk along or fish from the river’s banks. Most of the stream can be waded or floated with canoes, kayaks or small boats, with some portaging over stream crossings.

There is a long history of habitat improvement work on the Straight River dating back to at least the 1950s. Recently, habitat improvement projects were conducted in 2006, 2007 and 2011 in cooperation with the DNR, the Straight River Trust Committee (SRTC) and Trout Unlimited (TU). These projects used a helicopter to place trees and create structures along the banks of more than 1 mile of river. These structures will cause the stream to meander, narrow, scour and deepen, creating better habitat for more and bigger trout.

The stream trout season in Minnesota runs April 13-Sept. 30. Stream trout are defined as splake, brook, brown and rainbow trout. Anglers are limited to five fish of combined species, with only one trout that may 16 inches or longer.

All anglers 16 years of age and over must possess a Minnesota angling license and trout stamp validation. Fishing hours for stream trout on inland waters are from one hour before sunrise until
11 p.m. each day. All stream trout must have head, tail, fins and skin intact when being transported.

A map of the Straight River easement can be found at www.mndnr.gov/areas/fisheries/parkrapids. For more information on Minnesota fishing and regulations, visit www.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.

Logo courtesy Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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