Best Trout Fishing in the Midwest

The "Driftless Area"

Driftless Area

The "Driftless Area is characterized by rugged topography with steep slopes and cliffs, prominent bluffs, and meandering streams. This region of southeast Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin, and northeast Iowa is home to one of the largest collections of freshwater springs in the United States.

Large Collection of Freshwater Springs

Most streams flow from caves which keeps the stream temperature hovering at 47 degrees and keeps the streams cool in the summer and prevents freezing in the winter. Because of the limestone soil, the water is hard, alkaline, and very productive with frequent hatches of caddis and mayflies.

Southeast Minnesota Streams

More than 600 miles of streams in southeast Minnesota have been designated trout water by the DNR. One-third of these streams have public access and offer a variety of fishing environments from open meadows to brushy streams with excellent cover. Permission to access private sections of streams is granted by most land owners if you ask.

Whitewater River

The spring fed Whitewater River flows through picturesque limestone bluffs with deep ravines making this an angler's paradise. There are four tributaries to the system: the North Branch, Middle Branch, South Branch, and Main Branch, with excellent access to the entire length. All of these streams are home to brown, brook, and rainbow trout, though the Middle Branch has few, if any, Rainbows.

Root River

The Root River system is also premier trout water with brown, rainbow and brook in abundance. The key is to concentrate on the South Branch and its tributaries. Most areas have easements or pass through state forest land. The charming little community of Rushford is easily accessed off Interstate 90. From there you can follow the Root along State Highway 16 to Lanesboro and Preston stopping at any of the numerous tributaries along the route. Trout Run Creek, however, flows into the North Branch. This is a pristine 12 mile spring-fed creek with great pools and pockets.