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Willow River Dam Options
NBrevitz
#21 Posted : Tuesday, January 19, 2016 5:10:53 AM
Rank: Super Fly


Joined: 3/17/2013
Posts: 1,133
Location: Lake Elmo, Mn
Mark Dahlquist wrote:
I don't think that lake is deep at all. It does not show depth on navionics http://webapp.navionics.com/?lang=en#@12&key=omqqGflbuP

Unless there are springs in the lower reaches to support I think the river should be left without a dam and efforts to restore a river from a lake.

There are springs in the lower end. I'd find them wading for smallmouth in mucky pockets. At one point the DNR was very hopeful that the Browns would be able to sustain themselves in the lower end, especially Willow Race. I think the effect of Little Falls Lake is just too much to overcome.
I've read several accounts that detailed fishermen catching plenty of fish in the Burkhardt stretch 6 months after the dam came down. They were obviously stocked, but growing fast and surviving well.
Given the amount of porous rock near the dam base, I'd be amazed if Little Falls Lake didn't contain a few sizable springs.
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
s.t.fanatic
#22 Posted : Thursday, January 21, 2016 5:12:35 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 3/24/2010
Posts: 619
Location: Altura
When the majority of the lake is that shallow and is listed as either sand, silt, or muck it doesn't matter if there is a dam. In the not to distant future there isn't going to be a lake weather the dam stays in place or not due to poor agricultural practices that are filling the lakes with sediment. Take the dames out and restore this river! Most of our streams and rivers lac surrounding wetlands anyway to provide habitat for game and non game animals alike. Being that there is a developed community(s) near by wetlands also would allow a place for flood waters to spread out reducing the damaging effects that floods can have.

I cant see that the Lake Mallalieu dam would hurt to leave but in all reality the dams at Little Falls and New Richmond should come out.

Look at historic pictures of St. Anthony Falls and what it has become over time and tell me which one you would rather visit.
NBrevitz
#23 Posted : Thursday, January 21, 2016 5:23:04 PM
Rank: Super Fly


Joined: 3/17/2013
Posts: 1,133
Location: Lake Elmo, Mn
s.t.fanatic wrote:
When the majority of the lake is that shallow and is listed as either sand, silt, or muck it doesn't matter if there is a dam. In the not to distant future there isn't going to be a lake weather the dam stays in place or not due to poor agricultural practices that are filling the lakes with sediment.

The dam would still warm the water greatly in that instance. I agree though, rip out that dam, and the one at Mary Park, and you'll have 15 miles of vastly improved water. Little Falls would be the best place to start.
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
s.t.fanatic
#24 Posted : Sunday, January 31, 2016 2:23:47 AM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 3/24/2010
Posts: 619
Location: Altura
For you netflix subscribers out there, Damnation is a must watch. Thought it would be appropriate.
winterer
#25 Posted : Saturday, June 25, 2016 11:50:01 PM
Rank: Midge

Joined: 6/25/2016
Posts: 1
Occasional lurker here. My friend and I decided to take a hike on the former lake bed in Willow River State Park today and my experience there has motivated me to make a first post.

I was curious about how the river was doing following the dam removal. This sort of circumstance is rare. My expectation before we arrived was that we would find a braided muddy/sandy channel with few signs of life.

It's amazing how fast the river appears to have recovered from the prior impoundment condition. The gravel substrate of what I assume is the historic channel is already exposed in basically every spot we were able to visit. It's one long run of riffles and smooth channels that look perfect for trout. We didn't see any, but there we clouds of minnows throughout. There was even a 2-foot roller of a wave that I'm sure would be a fun place to mess around at with a kayak.

If this area were to be successfully repopulated with trout (which is already likely occurring) this could become one of the top spots nears the twin cities metro area for fly fishing.

It's just an incredible shame that the dam is planned to be replaced. I'm sure the lake was also a nice place, but healthy trout streams are rare in the area and lakes are a dime-a-dozen.
NBrevitz
#26 Posted : Monday, June 27, 2016 3:07:30 AM
Rank: Super Fly


Joined: 3/17/2013
Posts: 1,133
Location: Lake Elmo, Mn
winterer wrote:
Occasional lurker here. My friend and I decided to take a hike on the former lake bed in Willow River State Park today and my experience there has motivated me to make a first post.

I was curious about how the river was doing following the dam removal. This sort of circumstance is rare. My expectation before we arrived was that we would find a braided muddy/sandy channel with few signs of life.

It's amazing how fast the river appears to have recovered from the prior impoundment condition. The gravel substrate of what I assume is the historic channel is already exposed in basically every spot we were able to visit. It's one long run of riffles and smooth channels that look perfect for trout. We didn't see any, but there we clouds of minnows throughout. There was even a 2-foot roller of a wave that I'm sure would be a fun place to mess around at with a kayak.

If this area were to be successfully repopulated with trout (which is already likely occurring) this could become one of the top spots nears the twin cities metro area for fly fishing.

It's just an incredible shame that the dam is planned to be replaced. I'm sure the lake was also a nice place, but healthy trout streams are rare in the area and lakes are a dime-a-dozen.

The dam is supposed to be a mid draw, so at least there's that. Hopefully we'll get a few floods that'll push all that silt down into the Croix and allow for a deeper lake. The dam in New Richmond is a much bigger issue if you ask me. Blow that thing out and you'll have much cooler water to begin with. The impoundment up there is worthless to begin with, hardly a damn thing.
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
s.t.fanatic
#27 Posted : Tuesday, June 28, 2016 1:35:12 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 3/24/2010
Posts: 619
Location: Altura
winterer wrote:
Occasional lurker here. My friend and I decided to take a hike on the former lake bed in Willow River State Park today and my experience there has motivated me to make a first post.

I was curious about how the river was doing following the dam removal. This sort of circumstance is rare. My expectation before we arrived was that we would find a braided muddy/sandy channel with few signs of life.

It's amazing how fast the river appears to have recovered from the prior impoundment condition. The gravel substrate of what I assume is the historic channel is already exposed in basically every spot we were able to visit. It's one long run of riffles and smooth channels that look perfect for trout. We didn't see any, but there we clouds of minnows throughout. There was even a 2-foot roller of a wave that I'm sure would be a fun place to mess around at with a kayak.

If this area were to be successfully repopulated with trout (which is already likely occurring) this could become one of the top spots nears the twin cities metro area for fly fishing.

It's just an incredible shame that the dam is planned to be replaced. I'm sure the lake was also a nice place, but healthy trout streams are rare in the area and lakes are a dime-a-dozen.



This sounds GREAT!!! To bad all will be negated by mans quest to be entertained.
NE IA Drifter
#28 Posted : Tuesday, June 28, 2016 2:51:11 PM
Rank: Caddis Fly


Joined: 7/10/2013
Posts: 149
Location: Decorah
I thought I'd chime in to mention the lake Delhi dam is now functional. This was a dam in Iowa blown out during a flood several years ago. They have been promoting it via Facebook a lot recently as the reservoir (sorry lake) fills back up. Fairly frustrating to see everyone so happy so they can enjoy the lake at the expense of ecology. My quick take is the one's driving the new dam were the ones who didn't want to see their property values decline because they were no longer "lake front".

Oh well I'm off my soapbox for now!
EddieRivard
#29 Posted : Tuesday, July 05, 2016 3:33:05 AM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 7/27/2012
Posts: 1,125
Location: New Brighton MN
I checked out the Willow today, took a bunch of photos and even caught a few fish. Here is a link to the report.

Willow







ThumpUp
s.t.fanatic
#30 Posted : Tuesday, July 05, 2016 1:26:16 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 3/24/2010
Posts: 619
Location: Altura
I would think that over time the river channel will cut in a bit more and narrow it up. Looks good to me so far. It will only get better over time if left alone.
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