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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got back from Black Earth, second trip this spring. Fishing is VERY slow. Did some asking around and heard the DNR believes there was a substantial fish kill affecting the creek from Cross Plains to Black Earth. Numbers are down in the neighborhood of 75%. The DNR has not officially reported this yet. If you are planning on going plan on fishing below Black Earth which does not seem to be impacted. Could take as many as six years to recover.

More fisherman out along the creek than I have ever seen. No one doing well that I talked to.
 

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sorry to hear the village of cross plains has lost such a valued resource as black earth creek - six years is way to long. any reasons why the wisconsin dnr has not made any reports on their findings yet.
 

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The internet can be a dangerous place. I would want to be absolutely certain there was in fact a fish kill before i titled a thread "Black Earth Fish Kill".

I peruse a couple Wis flyfishing boards, which have many Madsion area members, and there hasn't been a peep. I would think if there was any kind of a "situation" it would have been made known, regardless of the DNR.

Lets face it, fish kills are hard to keep quiet...its pretty evident when it happens.

I'll error on the side of cautious until i hear otherwise...and i hope i don't hear otherwise, that creek doesn't need another kick in the gut!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very reliable and well known area source, who is a biologist, who has lived on the creek for 20 years, who met with representatives of the DNR, who collected water samples, who shocked sections of the stream, who did a fish count, and has been collecting dead trout, told me. Consider the gut kicked. I don't know why the DNR has not made it public yet. I hesitated posting at all, but thought the information might save some people their time and money. I don't want to give up my source, although at this point I would assume more than a couple of people might know who I speak of.

If you want to drive to Cross Plains, spend $100 on gas, find a hotel for the weekend, and fish it, by all means, go for it.

Perhaps A better title should have been Black Earth Fish Kill? Fine, sorry, you're right.
 

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Yup, i would have gone with the question mark. It still doesn't make sense to me. A fish kill thats seemingly being kept quiet?

The fish kills that i've been aware of in the recent years usually involve hundred if not thousands of dead trout. That generally doesn't go unoticed, especially on a creek that recieves the pressure BEC gets.

They also tends to get a bunch of people involved; landowners, fisherman, the media ect.

I think the kill on the Sugar river about 3 years ago is a good example of that scenerio.

Maybe there's something to it, maybe there isn't but i would imagine a good internet rumor will help keep the banks clear... ;)
 

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Some reaction from the DNR....

Trout total in creek still lagging
GENA KITTNER
608-252-6139
[email protected]

As anglers prime their lures and flies for today's fishing opener, native-trout numbers are still down in Black Earth Creek, according to a state survey this spring, seven years after a massive fish kill.

The state Department of Natural Resources can't pinpoint the cause of a recent decline, but officials suspect it's due to highly variable water flow after last year's mix of very dry and very wet conditions.

"Those extremes are going to have effects on (fish) population," said Scot Stewart, fisheries supervisor for the DNR's south-central region. "We're seeing responses to weather patterns. When things stabilize we'll see the fish come back."


Black Earth Creek, a highly esteemed stream with a self-sustaining brown trout population, has long been closely monitored — especially after manure runoff in 2001 killed thousands of fish.

The results of a fish count in the upstream stretch of the creek around Cross Plains show numbers similar to those in 1991 when the creek was rebounding from a severe drought, Stewart said. The fish were counted using an electric current to temporarily stun and capture them.

A sample taken downstream this spring found less than half the peak population of trout in 1999 and 2000, and the lowest number since 2002, when the creek was rebounding from the 2001 fish kill.

In addition to dry conditions last season, droughts over the past several years have hurt the trout population, he said.

Stewart, who's been monitoring the creek since 1988, said he's been notified of 10 dead trout downstream this spring, but because the person did not report the kill immediately, the DNR was not able to investigate.

Louise Klopp, president of the Black Earth Creek Conservation Organization, said her group is concerned about the low numbers, but "this certainly isn't the first time that the numbers have been down."

"I guess it's just going to take a lot more study to find out what's happening there," she said.

Dennis Franke, who lives along Black Earth in the town of Cross Plains and has fished it for decades, said the fishing during this spring's early catch-and-release season has been off to a "little of a slower start."

"The stream was just starting to recover nicely over the last two years, especially last year," he said. The DNR's program of removing brush and tree growth has made a difference, he said.

But Stewart said trout fishers shouldn't be discouraged by this spring's low numbers.

"They can still expect a good fishing experience," Stewart said.

Stewart said the DNR is considering installing a station that would gauge flow, oxygen and water chemistry continually along the creek — similar to one that what was in place from about 1987 to 1997.

"We're going to be looking at and monitoring water quality more closely in the future," he said.



I pulled this from a Wis site. The reactions ranged from "the area survey gets pounded" to "i've done well' but at this point none have responded and agreed with the fishing assesment...FWIW
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I had spoken to Dennis Franke in April. Since he's quoted I suppose he won't mind that I disclose he was my source. The fishing we experienced was very tough. Areas that had usually been very productive yielded nothing. Fished the last day of the season last year and same areas had been great. I'm sure some people are having good days, but no one I saw was.
 

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You should really just add $20 more to fuel, and an extra hour on the road and head over to Richland center and explore around there. Much better creeks, less pressure and cooperative trout. I only fish Black earth on the way to and from other waters, most often just for a little break from the road. That said the fishery has been on the decline in recent years IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Agreed, I prefer going farther west and/or north, but friends in Madison make it worthwhile. Serious fishing for me is farther west still......CO.
 
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