June, 2019, marks a milestone event for the National Trout Center. Since the inception of the mapping project (Easement Proposal 2011) the NTC has sought to bring the Minnesota fishing easements database to the public as a searchable catalog of high-resolution maps identifying the publicly-accessible stream trout fishing areas of southeastern Minnesota. Printable maps became available at the NTC in Preston during the summer of 2016, but additional effort was required to make the maps accessible on-line. A format was defined in the summer of 2018 and SMG Web Design, our internet provider, set about the task of making the database user-friendly for those who wanted to browse the maps, or otherwise plan their outing to southeastern Minnesota’s driftless area. Detailed instructions for browsing the maps follow below.
Start your planning by going to the “Maps” link in the page footer. Select a county, then identify the stream or river that you would like to fish. For example, Say you want to fish Camp Creek at the east end of Preston. Clicking on “Fillmore County” will reveal a list of 27 individual links. At the head of the list is an entry labelled “Fillmore County 05 Map“. Clicking this will present a Fillmore County map (you may have to scroll down a bit as the page may be too large for your screen) with all the watersheds identified by stream name and watershed (WS) number. Note that Fillmore watershed WS-16 has a red line on the map, indicating that there is an easement on some parts of Camp Creek.
Now go back to the Fillmore County stream list and scroll down the list of 26 watersheds to find the stream you are going to fish. Selecting “Fillmore 05-16 Camp Cr” will display the first page of a 5-page PDF file. The first page shows the entire Camp Creek watershed with 4 overlain rectangles (drawn with dashed borders), each identified by a Reach number. Use your mouse scroll wheel, touch pad, or the scroll bars on the open window to move progressively downstream from Reach 1 through Reach 4. Reach 1 is always the furthest map upstream, whereas the largest reach number is always the reach nearest the mouth of the stream. The red dye on either side, or both sides, of the stream indicates the easement boundaries. The start and stop coordinates in decimal increments (not degrees, minutes, seconds) of latitude and longitude are indicated by the green dots on the maps.
One cautionary note about printing the easement maps is appropriate if you want to print maps at home, or at a commercial print shop. The PDF file containing the stream reach of interest consists of a number of pages commensurate with the number of stream reaches mapped. In this example, printing the whole file will produce one page with the watershed map, and four pages with the individual easement maps. If you are interested in only one of the pages, be sure and control the print operation through the print dialog window on your computer.
The NTC is especially grateful to the Southeastern Regional Sustainable Development Partnership and the University of Minnesota for funding and technical support.