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Stream Restoration and Fishing--John Bruihler and Joel Mielke, Winona County, Minnesota

As told by John Bruihler and Joel Mielke
Rushford, Minnesota

Story Narrative:

This story was collected as part of a collaborative effort to record the state of American lakes, rivers, and waterways as well an attempt to uncover what water means to Americans. Listen to other stories recorded by the Minnesota Humanities Center for the Stories from Main Street project, an initiative created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service for its traveling exhibition "Water/Ways."

John Bruihler: I usually park right here and go underneath the fence and walk upstream from here. This is water. We are at Nook Jacobson’s. We are in the South end of Winona County along Pike Creek. I believe three summers ago they did extensive stream restoration here on the trout stream. I come down here trout fishing, oh five or six times every summer for the last couple of years. A lot of brown trout in here. I usually catch my limit--10 to 14-inch trout--most of the time. I bet you if you threw a worm down in there you would have a fish on within the first couple of casts. This is all private but they have an easement. So you can come here and you don’t have to ask permission.

Joel Mielke: It’s restricted to fisherman, to fishing activities. You can’t come and hike this, legally. It is just for fishing.

John Bruihler: OK, I didn’t know that. We can go right through here where the fence is usually filled with watercress.

Joel Mielke: Do you eat watercress, John?

John Bruihler: No, I don’t care a lot for it, it tastes like radishes.

Joel Mielke: Is the water this clear most of the time? John Bruihler: It is. Even after it rains it will get real turbulent for a while and it clears up.

Joel Mielke: I tell you there is watercress and I don’t see any at all.

John Bruihler: The watercress should be very prolific right now, shouldn’t it?

Joel Mielke: I’ve seen some driving around. John Bruihler: Want to keep going? Or head back? There is a whole bunch of logs here; I’ve never noticed that before. I would guess they were placed there. I used to go up fishing to Winona but that takes an hour to drive up there and that takes half a day to get there and get much easier to just come out here and I enjoy just as much. Not during the week, not Sunday afternoon or evening when everyone is heading back to the cities if they have been down.

Joel Mielke: I wonder how much it cost for their restorations, I know about a million dollar a mile.

John Bruihler: A million dollars a mile Joel Mielke: That’s outside my budget

John Bruihler: I think you could come up with a small portion of a mile – a few feet (laughter). You can come down and I will take you fishing. I picked up night crawlers the other night.

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