Trout Unlimited Projects & Events

Since 2009 we have been monitoring the Wolf River and some of its feeder streams as part of the Water Action Volunteer program. We are provided with equipment to check dissolved oxygen, temperature and pH.

We are also provided with thermistors that record the temperature every hour throughout the summer.
2009 Temperatures
2010 Temperatures
2011 Temperatures
2012 Temperatures
2013 Temperatures
2014 Temperatures
2015 Temperatures
2016 Temperatures

40 years ago Nine Mile Creek was was a top spawning stream for brook trout. By 2007 there were many beaver dams blocking stream flow and migrating trout. In 2008 and 2009 trapper Duane Fronick worked with chapter members trapping over 120 beavers from Nine Mile Creek, and the creek was added to APHIS and USFS lists for beaver control. In 2009 & 2010 Kelly Thiel of the US Department of Agriculture blew twenty-five large beaver dams. The smaller dams were removed by hand. In 2011 Duane Fronick was hired by the chapter to keep Ninemile Creek clear of problem beaver. In 2012 the culverts for the two snowmobile bridges were replaced, and in 2014 the old bridge at East Hollister Road was replaced, greatly improving water flow and promoting fish movement. In 2016 Duane Fronick was again hired to continue his work monitoring and trapping the beaver of Ninemile Creek.

The best way to see our progress on Ninemile Creek is to compare it to other rivers that we have data for. Particularly the Hunting and Lily Rivers.
Big Three Feeders

The data for Ninemile Creek in 2012 was corrupt. The chart shows averages of the daily high temperatures from 2009 through 2016. In 2016 the average daily high for the Hunting River dropped. The reason for this anomaly is unknown, but one possible reason is the dredging of Blue Springs, a few miles up river of the monitoring site. Comparing the Lily River and Ninemile Creek we find a difference of 1.42 degrees in 2009, then around 2 degrees for the next six years. In 2016 we see a difference of 2.5 degrees. This slow difference in daily high temperatures should increase as beaver and dams are removed from Ninemile Creek. It would have been a great advantage to have started our monitoring before removing beavers and dams in 2008. Monitoring before a project begins helps us see the progress more clearly.

"We need to all recommit to making the Ninemile beaver dam free in its entirety for the next 3-5 years. We need to see if this stream can once again be a good trout stream! I believe it can based on other similar streams that are as good or better now than they were in the 1970’s. Also, the brook trout we found in 2015 in the Ninemile lead me to believe that maybe there’s enough of them to pull off a successful natural hatch of trout!"

                  - Dave Seibel Fisheries Biologist, Antigo.

Possibly the worst culverts in the watershed are located at Fitzgerald Dam Road on the Hunting River. They hinder both trout and water movement, and are in the early stages of being replaced. I was asked by the DNR to begin monitoring the site before the work begins in 2017. Fitzgerald Dam Road is 6.2 miles up river from the bridge at County T.
Hunting River 2016

There are many feeders to the Wolf River. These feeders add cold, clean water to the river, creating a refuge for stressed trout during high water temperatures. Keeping these feeders open and running is extremely important. Not only do they add cold water to the system, but they provide a place for trout to spawn. One such feeder is an un-named creek referred to as creek 32E, the 32nd feeder of the east side below County A bridge. I call it Carbonari Creek. The creek is small at .36 miles, and starts just off the railroad grade of Wolf Landing at Wolf Road. Past beaver damage can be plainly seen on any satellite image of the area. Two beavers built two big dams creating two large "ponds". The dams ended brook trout spawning and warmed the water before it entered the Wolf. The beavers built the dams in 2012 and John Carbonari (APHIS Trapper) removed them in 2015.

My trout logs from the area below this creek show what happened to the fishing. Since the dams have been removed I've caught four brook trout over fifteen inches, including a fine 17 inch monster!
Wolf Trench

           Cap’s Hairwing tied by Ed Haaga

Wolf River Chapter 050

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Waders On The Wolf