Anglers in Winneshiek County now have a new opportunity for trout fishing: Sindelar Wildlife Access. The 17-acre parcel near Decorah was sold to Winneshiek County Conservation by Jim and Wanda Sindelar and their family and contains a half-mile of Casey Springs trout stream.
Sindelar Wildlife Access is adjacent to the 256-acre Falcon Spring Wildlife Management Area maintained by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). It will be managed by Winneshiek County Conservation as a public fishing access.
In the past, Casey Springs required landowner permission to fish. It was only occasionally stocked with fingerling trout and was last stocked with brook trout in 2004 and with brown trout in 2008. In August of 2017, DNR biologists sampled less than 1/10th of a mile of Casey Springs and recorded more than 125 brook and brown trout larger than 16 inches.
"That means that Casey Springs has healthy, naturally reproducing populations of both brown and brook trout," says DNR fisheries biologist Mike Siepker. "That's rare even in northeast Iowa with our abundance of cold-water streams."
Casey Springs is one of only seven streams in Iowa with restored populations of brook trout originally acquired from South Pine Creek, which contains the only known population of remnant native trout in Iowa. Only four of these streams were publically accessible prior to the creation of the Sindelar Wildlife Access, which now provides another opportunity for anglers to pursue native brook trout.
"We will be working to create a parking area in the future and will continually work on habitat improvements to benefit both fish and other wildlife," says Winneshiek County Conservation Director Barb Schroeder.
Funding for the purchase of the property was provided by a grant from the Fish Habitat Program of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources as well as donations from the Iowa Driftless Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Mid-Missouri Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the North Bear Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Iowa Coldwater Conservancy, the Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association, and Upper Iowa Audubon.
For more information, please contact Winneshiek County Conservation at (563) 534-7145.