A Leader in Stream Restoration
Once listed as a marginal trout stream due to a history of degradation, today the West Fork of the Kickapoo River is one of Trout Unlimited’s 100 Best Trout Streams. The West Fork Sports Club, Trout Unlimited Chapters, and other conservation organizations efforts in the watershed lead to Trout Unlimited’s second Home Waters Initiative which evolved into the Trout Unlimited Driftless Area Restoration Effort (TU-DARE). Today, the West Fork is one of the Midwest’s best known streams. People from across Wisconsin, the United States, and a number of foreign countries have come to fish the West Fork. This would not have happened without significant investment of time, money, and effort. The first two images below show restoration work from the mid-1990’s.
In 2019 we completed a major stream restoration project to repair damage caused by the flood in August of 2018 where 3 flood control dams broke, damaging the grounds and greatly altering the West Fork.
In 2021 and 2022, we completed restoration of the most significantly damaged portion of the streams at the south end of the campground (right most image above). In the near future, we plan to complete the restoration of 0.4 miles of stream below the bridge in Avalanche. The plan developed by the Vernon County Land and Water and the club and has be approved by the WIDNR. This plan relies on stream barbs (wing dams) to restore the meanders and increase the current velocity and depth of this reach which causes significant stream warming.
We also plan on planting more trees for shade and prairies in low lying areas to help prevent run off.
Your donation towards this project is greatly appreciated. The WFSC has a separate Stream Restoration Fund and all monies donated for stream restoration will go to that account.
Other good sources regarding the connections of stream restoration and Economic Impact Summary of Trout Angling in the Driftless Area and Fishing please see the TU-DARE.