Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.

January 17, 2000

Many show interest in Crow River

With pleasure, I find that the Crow River is closer to the heart of many area residents and outdoor enthusiasts than I imagined.

In last week's column, I noted a lack of published information out there on the river, and made a call to readers for information on all forks of the river.

I stated that the north fork starts at Lake Koronis, the south fork at Lake Lillian, and noted the presence of a middle fork. The response from readers was tremendous. Although most had information to share only on the north fork, they all seemed to have a true sense of caring and concern about the river and our environment.

First of all, it is clear the north fork does not begin at Lake Koronis. This fork rises in Pope County, from Grove Lake, near the town of Sedan, then flows southeast through Rice Lake and the Lake Koronis spillway near Paynesville. The north fork then flows east-southeast, converges with the middle fork near Manannah, the south fork near Rockford, and continues into the Mississippi River near Dayton.

According to several different maps and information from readers, the middle fork, the least known fork of the river, begins in the Nest Lake area near New London, flows east through several lakes, including Green, and, again joins the north fork near Manannah. At this point, I am not completely sure where the specific starting point of the middle fork is.

The south fork, which I am most familiar with, flows through or from Lake Lillian. However, the river most likely begins at Little Kandiyohi Lake, which is just north of Lake Lillian in the Willmar area. Extensive farmland drainage and ditch systems, created in the past 30 years, have altered its flow and specific starting point.

The south fork then continues east through Hutchinson, runs parallel to the farm I grew up on near Lester Prairie and into the north fork near Rockford.

Moving on, and specific to the north fork; Paul Diedrich, the DNR's Montrose Area Fisheries Supervisor provided me with some very specific information. Paul wrote and collected much of this information himself and lumped it together from several different sources, such as stream population assessments and biological surveys.

  • Paul noted the most current fisheries survey of the north fork in Wright County was done in 1985, but is due for an update in 2000.
  • A Joint Powers Board for the Crow River has been formed, and a watershed coordinator, Jennifer Lee, has been hired. The board will manage a MPCA grant of $457,000 to develop a clean water partnership proposal to reduce non-point pollution sources in the watershed.
  • The river flows over a distance in excess of 200 miles from its source, and the entire north fork drainage area encompasses 1,250 square miles.

Paul provided much more data on the river, which I will get into when we look at the specifics of the north fork in upcoming columns.

Again, the response from readers and their concern about the river was great. It shows awareness toward the resource and hope for it's future.

This week, and before we float down all forks of the river, I want you to think of the river as one of the only true wild places left in our area. If you wanted to get away, watch wildlife, and truly explore nature, where else in our area would you go?

Outdoor notes:

  • A community newspaper, and a column within it, is nothing without readers and participation from them. In this column I truly appreciate all of those who read and participate - the bait shops, hunters, anglers, and those who love the outdoors.
  • Anglers and bait shops from the area reported good catches of walleye and northern pike on Howard this week. Crappie action is starting to pick up on Ann, but the crappie bite on Big Waverly is slowing down. Also, at this time there are not many lakes in the area anglers are driving on.
  • Please note lakes in our area, like Winsted, have aeration systems on the go. These lakes will often carry areas of open water, and anglers should be very cautious and heed any warning signs.
  • The Howard Lake Sportsmen's Club will host its 54th annual Ice Fishing Derby on Howard Lake Sat., Feb. 12. The grand prize in this year's raffle is a deluxe King Crow fish house on wheels. Also, proceeds from this year's event will be used for walleye stocking in Howard Lake.
  • The snow has finally arrived. Give cross county skiing on the Crow River a try.
  • The Waverly Gun Club will sponsor its annual snowmobile fun run Saturday, Jan 29 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The event is open to individuals with cars or snowmobiles. Over 100 door prizes will be given away and prize money will also be awarded to winners in various categories. Drawing will start at 5 p.m. sharp.
  • Have fun ice fishing and remember that ice is never completely safe.

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