Sugar River much improved

Decades of work by private landowners, conservation groups and government are paying off on the West Branch of Wisconsin’s Sugar River, according to the North American Fishing Club’s newsletter.

The stream, once mainly populated by creek chubs, now supports a thriving brown trout population, spurring the Wisconsin DNR to propose removing the river from its list of state waters with the worst pollution problems.

The 20-mile stretch of stream in southwestern Dane County has the potential to be a significant cold-water trout fishery, but has been on the state’s list of impaired waters due to a mix of runoff pollution, cattle access and more.

Improvement efforts included bank stabilization and habitat restoration by the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association, Deer Creek Sports and Conservation Club, Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Dane County, federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Services Agency and DNR. For more information on the program, call: (608) 275-3280.

There are 16 watersheds or subwatersheds in the Sugar-Pecatonica Basin in Wisconsin. One of the Sugar branches flows into Illinois, entering the state west of Rockton in Winnebago County. It then flows into the Pecatonica River near Shirland and they both flow into the Rock River.

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