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Fishing Reports For Fox River, Burlington, Rockchester, Waterford, Racine County « Wisconsin Fishing Report Board

Fox River, Burlington, Rockchester, Waterford, Racine County (all postings)

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SnakeSter
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2/13/15 6:13 AM CST
Conditions: Sunny
Here's a couple of neat pics of where the White connects to the Fox. It was below zero. I look at this portion of the river out the window where I work.

[This post was last edited on 2/13/15 at 6:15 AM]
Plmlk
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2/8/15 9:34 AM CST
I followed up with the DNR last week to inquire about the status of the dredging project. I found out that the Drainage District did not submit updated dredging plans to the DNR in enough time for the DNR to review. Long story short, the canal and Fox River have been drained since October, and absolutely no maintenance or dredging has occurred. What an absolute waste of an awesome natural resource. Although not intentional, this waterway has been unavailable for 5 months for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

After a bit of digging, I found out that the Drainage District is proposing that this waterway undergo a yearly draw down from October to February. This is of course a huge concern for anyone who enjoys fall fishing, hunting or even just sitting by the river and enjoying the nature. Who wants to look at a mud puddle? I believe everyone understands that maintenance needs to occur, but it should be more thought out / planned, and not include 5 months out of every year where the waterway is unnavigable and unusable.

I contacted the Waterford Village Board, and they are equally concerned. The Village of Waterford has spent significant resources to ensure that this waterway is available to the public including redevelopment of the Ten Club Park, shoreline redevelopment at Whitford Park, new canoe / kayak boat launches above and below the Rochester and Waterford Dams (scheduled for completion this Summer), and the Village is considering a National Walking Trail along the banks of the Fox.

My impression after talking with everyone is that the only way to stop this is through attending the public meetings when the Drainage District will be requesting the annual draw down. It is important to note that the DNR is not proposing the draw down, they simply need to review the plans if the draw down is approved to ensure that the health of the waterway is maintained. I believe that I mentioned this in an earlier post, the DNR released 25,000 Walleye below the Waterford Dam last year.

In addition to working with the Village and DNR, I intend to collect as many signatures as I can opposing an annual drawdown. I can't imagine anyone on any waterway in the State of Wisconsin allowing their body of water to be unusable 5 months out of the year.

I will post meeting dates and times on this thread. The more people that show up, the better our chances are.

If you don't support an annual draw down, I would love to have your signature. Please send me a message and I will forward you my email.

Keep in mind, this draw down impacts everything below the dam in Waterford, including below the dam in Rochester.

[This post was last edited on 2/8/15 at 5:53 PM]
cousincarmody
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1/22/15 12:13 PM CST
There was an open or very wet spot on the west side of the river just below I-43 this morning. There were ATV's running it on Saturday, which I thought was crazy.

fishingmaster1997
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1/21/15 7:30 PM CST
I was wondering the exact same thing

mostlyfishing
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1/21/15 6:42 PM CST
Does anyone know if the river is all locked up or is there some open water???

Mr.Bass
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FISHING REPORT
11/4/14 9:21 AM CST
Put my boat away for the season. Too much winter in the forecast. So of course I don the waders and head for the Fox. I know it's a planned drawdown. The last time I saw it so low was when the DNR built the present dam at Waterford. I think the river may even be lower than back then.

I tried the Rochester park and bridge. Next to the pilings. THe water was only a foot or two in most spots and one could see bottom clearly. Waterford was mostly exposed rocks. Below Rochester dam, the 'deep' hole below the first gate was nowhere near as deep, but couldnt see bottom. I tried jigs for 30 minutes. Only snags and debris. Gates are up high. Water below and above looks to be at same level; and only a foot or so depth is flowing slowly through. I can only hope that the fish can recover come spring. They must be running for their lives now. There are quality northerns, walleyes, and muskie that roam between these dams and I fear a winter freeze would take a drastic toll; water is supposed to remain low until mid-February.

Safe ice to all.

Plmlk
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11/2/14 1:12 PM CST
Don't know how the fishing is, might go myself today. The water level is still low, but quite a bit higher than it was at it's lowest point. It is fishable...

katdaddy620
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FISHING REPORT
11/2/14 11:04 AM CST
Just wondering how is the fishing after the drawdown or are the water levels back up? Thinking about goin out today since there's no packer game.

Plmlk
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10/25/14 10:10 AM CST
I received an email yesterday from a fish biologist with the DNR. I was really excited about their stocking program as it relates to the Fox River before and after the Waterford Dam.

Back to the drawdown... It is what it is for this year. There will be public meetings in the future, as the Racine County Sewerage District is requesting permission for an annual drawdown. I'm not crazy about that part and will definitely attend the meetings. For me, an annual drawdown makes this waterway unnavigable after the first week in October, and that is of course the best fishing of the year, as well as the time to fold a few Mallards and Woodies on the canal.

I've posted this a number of times before. This area of the Fox is between the Waterford, Rochester, and Wind Lake Dams. There are a number of public access points including the park in Rochester on the corner of D and W, Whitford Park by Burger King, the park in Waterford on the corner of 83 and 20 (think it is called the 10 high park or something similar), or the public launch area behind the Waterford Public Library. The fish are trapped between the dams, they can only go so far.

I live in this area, and aside from residents, this stretch of river is underutilized. Fishing is over for this year, but this Spring water levels will be back to normal.

Here is the email that I received from the DNR:

Thank you for getting in touch with us about the drawdown of the Rochester impoundment. I was just out there the other day to try to launch our electrofishing boat for a survey and the water level has certainly changed quite a bit in the last few weeks. Having said that, I am not concerned about the safety and health of resident fish species, since the river is essentially behaving in a more natural, “run of the river” state right now, almost as if there is no dam in place in Rochester. Granted, some of the deeper holes in the river have probably been filled in over time through sedimentation caused by the dam, but the fish do also have the option to move downstream beyond the dam if need be this winter. I also understand your concerns about fishing and hunting being impacted by a drawdown beginning in the fall. These types of projects generally begin well in advance of winter to avoid adverse impacts to turtles, frogs, etc. that are burrowing in the mud for the winter. Maintaining and enhancing the fisheries resources of the Fox River is a high priority of mine and I hope to keep folks like you interested in the resource and draw even more anglers to the river for some great fishing. In the past few months, we have stocked the Fox River with a total of 45,000 small fingerling walleyes (split between Bridge Drive and below the Waterford Dam), 626 large fingerling walleyes (private stocking in the Rochester impoundment), 2,000 large fingerling walleyes (near Silver Lake), 200 large fingerling northern pike (Waterford impoundment), and 700 large fingerling smallmouth bass (private stocking at Bridge Drive). It is my hope that these stockings and additional projects in the future will provide great fishing opportunities for years to come on the Fox River. Thank you again for reaching out and please feel free to share this information with any others who are concerned. I also look forward to your informative fishing reports on Lake Link. You can always contact me directly with any reports or other information you’d like to share (email and cell are listed below).

[This post was last edited on 10/25/14 at 10:13 AM]
Plmlk
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10/22/14 7:18 PM CST
I spoke with the DNR Water Management Engineer managing this project. Very friendly and helpful. I have really been impressed with the DNR on all fronts relating to the dredging project. I'm sure they have received plenty of phone calls on this...

That said, here is what I know. The draw down by the Racine County Sewage District has already begun, as all parties involved (including the DNR) intend to approve the draw down request. They are simply getting ahead of the game.

The scope of the project is to dredge the Wind Lake Drainage Canal from Highway K to Highway 36. Some of the sediment will be hauled away, some will be utilized to build back up the banks of the canal, and some will be spread out in adjacent fields pending land owner approval. The work will begin soon, and water levels are expected to return to normal by mid February. All in all I think that this is great, as the canal structure is quite predictable - it is 6 feet from the mouth of the Fox to the Wind Lake Dam. The intent is to return the canal to its original depth in the 50's. Deeper water on this waterway will only help!

As mentioned above, I completely understand and support maintenance on the waterway / canal. Although the timing prohibits me from fall fishing and duck hunting. My perspective is that to maximize the enjoyment of the people who utilize this waterway, completing this project between Dec 1 and the ladder part of March would offer the least amount of disruption for us folks who like to hunt and fish.

Also, admittedly I have no formal training in fishery management, but the current water level truly concerns me. Not because I can’t use the waterway, but because I’m unsure of the impact that the shallow water will have on the Walleye, Northern, Musky, Bass, and Panfish during the winter months. As many of you know, I frequent this waterway more than most. To date, the deepest spot I have found on the Fox River or Canal is just under 6 feet.

Given the exposed shoreline in my back yard, and the watermarks on the bridge in the attached picture, it is reasonable to assume that the deepest spot on the waterway is currently somewhere around 3 feet. Also,as you may expect, given the low water levels, the flow has decreased dramatically. How will another severe winter impact the fish? Given the low water level, is there the potential for some areas to freeze solid? Of course I don’t have the answers, I just want to ensure that someone is looking at this.

Keep in mind, this impacts more than the drainage canal and the Fox River between the Waterford and Rochester Dam. The area being dredged feeds into Fox, so anything after the Waterford Dam is being impacted. Have any of you noticed the low water level at Case Eagle Park in Rochester? Pretty much unfishable - and this is after the dam in Rochester not before. To add another consideration, from the Rochester Dam to Burlington is notoriously shallow already, with many areas already less than 3 feet

Lastly, they will be holding hearings, as the Racine County Sewage District is requesting an annual Winter draw down. That means the waterway will be largely unfishable after Oct. 1st each year.

I will post the public hearing information as I learn more...

Again, I support the ongoing maintenance needed to support this waterway - would just like to have some input as to when the draw down will occur, as well as how low the water levels are allowed to go.

More to come...

[This post was last edited on 10/22/14 at 7:25 PM]
cycleguy
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10/20/14 8:13 PM CST
I think the DNR guys do a lot more really good work than they are given credit for... this sounds like other government bodies maybe getting ahead of themselves a bit, and maybe not planning it out well.

Plmlk
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10/20/14 7:02 PM CST
That is the dredging that I was referring to CG... Only thing is, according to the DNR, they have not approved Racine County's Dredging permit yet.

They still have to hold the public hearings. This is a confusing subject, as the article states that the draw down has already begun.

Not sure what to think. I will say the DNR has been very responsive to calls / emails. I will post what I find out....

The DNR told me today, that they plan to approve the permit - it just has not happened yet - so why is the water so low? Really put a quick end to duck hunting and fishing...

[This post was last edited on 10/20/14 at 7:12 PM]
cycleguy
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10/20/14 6:42 PM CST
Maybe this is a different dredging? It is the article I was thinking would effect above Waterford (by mistake).

http://journaltimes.com/news/local/fox-river-water-levels-to-drop-near-rochester/article_997317b2-587a-5d0e-9922-88cc6f93384b.html

ROCHESTER — Water levels on the Fox River behind the Rochester Dam will drop several feet for the fall and winter season.

The controlled drawdown is expected to begin today, dam safety engineer Tanya Lourigan said, to facilitate a proposed dredging project in the Wind Lake and Goose Lake branch canals between highways 20 and K. The Racine County Drainage District has applied to the Department of Natural Resources to dredge a portion of those canals.

Water levels are expected to drop several feet from the Rochester Dam upstream to Waterford Dam, just north of Highway 20/83, as well as to the Wind Lake Dam, near South Wind Lake Road.

The main impact of the drawdown will be more exposure of the shoreline, Lourigan said. DNR officials believe they will raise the water back to normal levels beginning Feb. 15, depending on the status of the dredging project.

The DNR anticipates approving the dredging after receiving more information from the drainage district and providing proper public notice, Lourigan said.

The nine-foot high Rochester Dam, about a half-mile south of Highway D, is owned by Racine County and operated by the Racine County Drainage District.

Plmlk
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10/20/14 5:58 PM CST
Spoke with the DNR today to inquire about the low water level.

Found out that the dredging project has not started yet, so I guess I have no idea why the water is as low as it is right now.

I understand that they lower the water level every year so that maintenance can be completed on the canal. Seems much lower than normal though.

The gentlemen I spoke with from the DNR is going to check into a few things and call me back to let me know what he found out.

My boy has been having a fun time digging up old things on the river bank. So far he has found a 1952 Pepsi Bottle (pretty cool), and a bearing housing of some type - no clue how that could have gotten back there - its not like it floats...

cycleguy
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10/20/14 7:20 AM CST
Thank you.....

Displaying Posts 1 through 15 of 1,320


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