Kinnickinnic River Brown Trout
Copyright 2019 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Kinnickinnic River
The Kinnickinnic River is called the Kinni by the locals. Call
it what you like or just call it one of Wisconsin's best trout
streams and you will be accurately describing the river. It
is one of the few streams that has a good trout population
without being stocked. Stocking was discontinued in 1973.
Native brook trout and wild browns are plentiful.

The tweny-five mile long river gets its water from a series
of springs, giving the stream a good pH level and water
chemistry that sustains plenty of food for the trout. Many
other springs add to its flow along its course including
Parker Creek, South Fork, Kelly creek, and Rocky Branch.
In addition, many springs along the riverbed itself
contribute to the flow. The river terminates in the St. Croix
River in Kinnickinnic State Park.

The upper Kinnickinnic River flows through farm land and
great care has been taken to see that fences keep the
cattle out of the water. It has a very high population of
self-sustaining, stream-bred brown trout.

The lower section of the Kinnickinnic River is quite
different. It flows through a wooded, 200 foot deep canyon
like area. There's less access and fewer trout in the lower
secfion but they are generally larger in size.

Wisconsin DNR easements and road crossings at the
stream provide good access for the upper section of the
Kinnickinnic River. There are many points of entry
between the spring ponds and Highway #35, several DNR
easements, and plenty of access points where roads cross
the stream.

Access to the lower river is limited. Glen Park in River Falls
has access below the dam. Highway F crosses the river in
Kinnickinnic State Park providing some access. The
canyon section starts about a mile below the City of River
Falls and runs about ten miles before its confluence with
the St. Croix River.

Most of the upper section above River Falls takes on the
characteristics of the typical mid-western spring creek with
slower moving water flowing smoothly as it meanders its
way across the hilly country. The water speeds up some
where riffles connect its pools. It has a sandy bottom with
some cobble and is fairly narrow in width.

The stream is protected from cattle with fences. In
addition, there has been a lot of habitat improvements
made to the stream. There are several small feeder
streams that hold brook trout that fed the upper section of
the spring creek. The upper section includes a good
population of both brook trout and brown trout.

Below I-95, brown trout become more plentiful and seem to
increase some in size the further downstream you go.
The population is said to decrease some but keep in mind
that Kinnickinnic River has one of the largest
concentrations of trout in the mid-west, with populations
ranging from 5000 to 10,000 trout per mile. The lower river
is more like a freestone stream than a spring creek with
locks of rocks and cobble. The limestone bottom helps
maintains a good pH level for the stream. The river is
wider and shaded with trees and bluffs that border the

March 5 through October 15th.
Springtime is a very good time for fly fishing the
Kinnickinnic River due to the numerous hatches
Water stays generally cool throughout the Summer
especially near the springs.
Fall is probably the best time to fish the river. Brown trout
spawn in the Fall and become aggressive in the
pre-spawn stage.

Fly Fishing Gear,  Tackle and Trout Flies
Type of Stream
Spring Creek

Brook Trout (native)
Brown Trout (wild)


Southern Wisconsin

Nearest Towns
River Falls

General season starts March 5 to
October 31st.
(early season Catch and Release
season first Sat. Jan through
March 4th)


Non-Resident License
State of Wisconsin

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
Trout Flies
Free Shipping Continental U. S.
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Kinnickinnic River Fishing Report:
03/25/14 The season is open, the air is cold
but not the water. Let us hear from you.
Fishing Report Updated 05/19/19
(Bottom Of Page)
04/01/14 Customer ordering flies for the
stream but hasn't fished yet. Tiny
BWO and
midges is what you need now. Our Sculpin
streamer patterns should also work.
04/08/14 No reports came in but water is
warming us some and it shouldn't be long.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $100 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
04/15/14 Still no reports from anglers.
Highs are in the forties and fifties and lows
in the twenties and thirties. Conditions are
good for this time of the year.
04/22/14 Two customers ordered flies this
past week for future trips but no reports
have come in from anglers fishing.
04/29/14 Still no reports from anyone
fishing. There is rain forecast everyday
for the next week, so expect high water.
05/06/14 One regular customer ordered
flies getting ready but no reports from
anyone fishing. We are recommending
Blue-winged Olives, scuds and Sculpin
05/13/14 There are very high water levels
currently and for the past week. No reports
from anyone fishing.
USGS Stream Data:
Near River Falls
05/20/14 Stream levels are still very high
and it will be a while before the river can
be fished.
05/27/14 Stream levels have fell back
down near normal levels and the water is
much warmer. Expect hatches to begin
and good fishing conditions.
06/03/14 Stream levels have been in good
shape up to a couple of days ago. The and
falling fast and should be in good shape
soon. We had two customers report they
were catching some trout before the rain.
06/10/14 The stream levels are still high
but falling fast. Keep a close eye on them.
Fishing should be good when they get
near normal levels.
06/17/14 Stream levels have been high
again but falling fast. Hopefully, they will be
down in good shape before the weekend.
We have no reports from anyone fishing.
06/25/14 Stream levels are remaining on
the high side. No reports from anyone
fishing last week.
07/08/14 Stream levels were down some
but back up a little high again. No reports
from this past week.
07/22/14 Stream levels remain on the
high side with little fly fishing opportunity.
This should change this coming week.
07/29/14 Stream levels are still high and
we didn't receive any reports from the past
08/12/14 The river is still up higher than
normal and needs to fall some to improve
the fishing. Tricos are hatching in good
numbers.  Two customers reporting
catching some trout.
09/02/14 Two customers reporting
catching plenty of trout on terrestrials and
our Black Matuka sculpin. Some nice
browns and lots of brook trout.
09/16/14 Stream levels are still on the high
side. No reports of fish being caught this
past week.
09/23/14 Still no reports of fish being caught.
The river is still flowing high but falling..
01/05/15 General trout season closed
on Sept. 30th, 2014
03/02/15 Don't wait until the last minute to
plan your next trip. Shoot us an email or
give us a call and let us help you.
03/16/15 We didn't hear any reports but
the water has been high and still cold.
Conditions should improve this week.
03/23/15 Still high and cold with lots of snow
04/06/15 Yes, it has been cold but this is
spring creek water and the levels are
perfect right now. Let us hear from you.
04/13/15 One good report from last week.
The stream in down near normal and
warming up fast.
04/27/15 Good stream levels and warmer
water. Two good reports from customers
fishing our BWOs.
05/04/15 Another good report. Lots of
caddis, BWOs and much better conditions.
05/18/15 Customers reporting some good
catches and conditions. Several hatches
staring up including lots of BWOs.
05/25/15 Good stream levels and weather
and lots of hatches. Great conditions.
06/08/15 The stream is a little high but falling
fast and in great shape. Two good reports this
past week.
06/15/15 Stream levels are back down normal
and lots of aquatic insects are hatching. Good
conditions exist.
06/29/15 Good stream levels and lots of
hatches. Two good reports the past two days.
07/06/15 Stream is blown out right now.
07/13/15 Stream levels are back down in good
shape and lots of hatches taking place. Two
good reports from the weekend.
07/20/15 No reports from anglers fishing but
conditions remain very good.
08/03/15 Levels have varied but lots of trout
being caught recently. Sulphur hatches.
08/10/15 The river is in its prime right now,
with good reports, weather and stream levels.
08/17/15 Still have sulphurs hatching.
Terrestrials are also catching lots of trout.
08/31/15 Sorry for the missed report.
Fishing has been excellent. Water is down
to a good level but warming back up some.
09/07/15 The stream is running just a little
high but you can wade it in some areas if you
do so carefully. Otherwise, good conditions.
09/21/15 Two good reports from customers.
The levels are still a little high but the cool
weather has the trout turned on big time.
09/28/15 Remember, the end of this month is
the last day of the regular trout season.
10/12/15 Remember, you can always send us
an email (address above under fly options)
and we will help you plan your next trip.
10/30/15 General trout season is closed until
March 5th, 2016. You can always email us. We
will be glad to help you plan the next fishing trip.
02/29/16 The season opens in five days.
Remember, this is s spring creek and the
water coming out of the ground is about the
same temperature year-round.
03/14/16 The stream levels are in good shape
and the water slightly stained from runoff.
Cream and Red Midges are hatching good.
Scuds and sculpin imitations like our Brown
sculpin should work good.
03/28/16 Stream levels are normal for this time
of the season. There is rain forecast from
Wednesday through Friday.
04/11/16 Remember, the spring water comes
out of the ground at about 47 degrees and is
warmer than much of the river. Midges, little
BWOs and Sculpin are the main things you
should be imitating.
04/25/16 The stream level and clarity is in good
shape and midges, BWOs, are hatching. Scuds,
damselfly nymphs and sculpin streamers should
work good.
05/09/16 Stream level a little high but warming
with more hatches. Blue Quills, little Black
caddis and more. Send us an email for a list.
05/16/16 Two good reports from customers
fishing the upper river. BWOs, Blue Quills,
Little Black caddis, scuds and sculpin
streamers working.
06/30/16 Stream levels are back in good shape
with lots of hatches. Green Sedges, larger
BWOs, Short-horned sedges and other insects
are hatching.
06/06/16 The section just below I-95 has been
very good to one customer this past week but
all sections should be good at this time.
06/20/16 Stream levels have been high but
back in good shape. Lots of hatches are taking
place including A. March Browns, Quill G. Blue
Quills, Light Cahills, Brown stoneflies, Green
sedge, and more. Two good reports from
07/04/16 The river is in great shape and our
customers are catching trout in all sections.
There are still a lot of insects hatching.
07/25/16 Levels are up some but otherwise
excellent conditions exist. Several hatches are
taking place and some good reports coming in.
08/15/16 The river has been high but back
down near normal. Sulphurs are still hatching.
Terrestrials are also working good.
08/29/16 The stream levels are in good shape.
Customers are catching trout from the
uppermost section through the lower river.
Good conditions exist with good hatches.
09/12/16 Stream levels are back down to just a
little high but it is raining and more to come.
Sculpin streamers are your best bet. Good
BWO hatches are taking place.
10/10/16 The season has been extended for
2016 and ends at the end of the month of
October. We received two good reports from
this past week. There are lots of Blue-winged
olives hatching.
12/04/16 The season is closed but you can
plan that 2017 season. Send us an email and
let us help you do that.
01/15/17 Early season C and R is underway.
The weather is unseasonably warm. No reports
from the past week.,Let us hear from you.
01/30/17 We had two good reports about 10
days ago. The weather is cold again. Midges,
Creams and reds (blood) and Winter stoneflies
are hatching.
02/20/17 Very warm weather but melting snow
and rain has the water level high and stained.
Watch the stream levels and fish when it's down.
03/13/17 The first week of the general season
started off fairly good, but it is back to cold
water fishing. Midges and Winter stoneflies are
hatching. Fish the Midge larva and pupa in
tandem. Sculpin streamers also work.
03/28/17 We have received several good reports
when there have been decent conditions. Fish
Midges, Creams and Reds, with the larva and
pupa rigged in tandem, and Sculpin Streamers.
04/24/17 Stream levels are down near normal
levels, the water is warm just above 52 in places
and lots of insects have started to hatch.
BWOs, Blue Quills, Quill gordons, little Brown
stoneflies, little Black Caddis and others.
05/01/17 The stream levels are a little high but
the water is warm and lots of insects are
hatching. Fish the upper sections of the river.
05/15/17 The stream level is just a little above
normal and wading possible many places. Lots
of hatches are taking place and customers are
catching good numbers of trout.
05/22/17 Flows are at 226 cfs at 10.80, or a
little too high to wade in most place, otherwise,
conditions are very good.
06/26/17 The stream is still a little high but can
be fished from the banks in places.
Lost some reports with computer problems.
07/10/17 The stream levels are fine and the
water clear. All sections are fishing good. Lots of
hatches - sulphurs, light cahills, slate drakes,
cinnamon caddis, green sedges, little Yellow
stones and more.
07/17/17 The levels are staying a little above
normal but okay to wade in many sections. Two
good reports from the past week.
07/24/17 The stream levels are in good shape
with clear water. Good hatches of Light Cahills,
Slate Drakes, Tricos, Little Yellow stoneflies and
a few others are taking place.
07/31/17 The stream is still in good shape.
Stream levels are just a little above normal and
lots of trout are being caught by our customers.
08/14/17 The levels are just a little above
normal and falling. We received some very
good reports. All sections are turning out trout.
There are lots of hatches taking place.
09/04/17 The stream levels are just a little
above normal and in good shape. We received
three good reports. Some good hatches are
taking place.
09/11/17 Conditions are still good. We are
getting good reports from customers. Good
hatches and terrestrials are also working.
09/18/17 Stream levels are a little high, too high
to wade safely, but falling fast. It should be fine
in a day or two. We were getting good reports.
10/02/17 Low water has been a problem but
the river is running high right now, with flows at
189 cfs at 10.87 ft. Some areas can be waded
with caution. The rain should help. Brown trout
are in the pre-spawn stage.
10/16/17 The general trout season closes at
the end of this month.
10/31/17 The season is extended until
November 30th. The stream is in good shape,
running just a little above normal levels. Send
us an email for fly recommendations.
02/14/18 The stream levels are in good shape
and trout are being caught and released in the
tailwater. Midges, creams and reds and Winter
stoneflies are working good. Also, aquatic worms.
02/27/18 Trout are still being caught in the
tailwater. Use midges, winter stoneflies,
aquatic worms and sculpin streamers.
03/06/18 The tailwater is sill turning out some
nice trout. Midges, creams, reds or bloods,
and light greens are hatching. Fish the larva
and pupa imitations in tandem.
03/20/18 Tailwater fishing continues to be
good. Midges, aquatic worms and Sculpin
streamers work. Discharges are currently low.
04/03/18 Trout are being caught in the
tailwater and uppermost sections near springs.
Midges and Blue-winged olives are hatching.
04/19/18 The river is on the way up. Fish the
tailwater, provided the discharges are low
enough. The water should start warming up soon.
05/03/18 The stream levels are just a little
above normal levels and the water clear and in
good shape. There are some good hatches
taking place. Dry fly fishing is good.
05/24/18 Lots of trout were being caught
before the stream level got high again. It should
drop fast. Send us an email for a fly list.
06/07/18 Stream levels are in good shape. Lots
of insects are hatching and lots of trout are
being caught. Send us an email for fly
06/21/18 The stream levels are down and in
good shape. Multiple hatches are taking place.
Conditions are about as good as they get.
06/28/18 Conditions continue to be good. Send
us an email for a list of recommended flies.
07/05/18 Conditions are very good. There are
lots of hatches and lots of trout being caught in
all sections of the river.
07/19/18 The river is in very good shape in all
sections and we are getting some good reports.
There are still lots of hatches taking place.
Send us an email for a fly list.
07/26/18 All sections are turning out some
good catches of trout. The upper spring creek
sections, middle and the tailwater all produce.
Good hatches are taking place.
08/02/18 More good reports are coming in. All
sections are good with good stream levels and
hatches. Terrestrials are working.
08/16/18 The stream levels are in good shape
and good hatches continue. Mahogany duns,
BWOs, Cinnamon Caddis, Little Yellow stones
and several other insects are hatching.
09/06/18 The river just dropped back down to
just a little above normal levels and fishing
should be very good. There are good hatches,
cooler weather and excellent conditions.
09/20/18 A little high but falling very fast and
should be in great shape by Saturday. Lots of
trout are being caught.
09/30/18 The stream is in good shape with
good levels. There are good hatches taking
place and terrestrials and sculpin streamers
are hatching.
10/08/18 The stream is just a little above
normal levels. We continue to get some very
good reports.
10/17/18 The river is in very good shape at a
good level with trout being caught. Sculpin
streamers, Slate drakes, BWOs, and other
imitations are working.
11/07/18 The river is in very good shape with
good levels and good numbers of trout being
caught. Our sculpin streamers are catching
some nice ones.
12/25/18 The season is currently closed. The
2019 catch and release season is January 5
to May 3.
01/09/19 Fish the tailwater as near the dam
as legal for the best location. The water is a
little warmer. Midges (creams and reds),
BWOs and winter stoneflies.
02/06/18 Catch and release season is open.
Fish as near the dam as legal. Sculpin
streamers, Cream and red midges with the
larva and pupa rigged in tandem, Winter
02/20/19 We are getting good reports below
the dam. Discharges have been high at times
but okay now.
03/15/19 The river is very high, too high to
wade or fish for that matter. It should fall out
fast. Keep in touch.
04/12/19 The river is in good shape in all
sections and good numbers of trout are being
caught. Send us an email for a fly list.
04/24/19 The river is in very good shape in
all respects. Trout are being caught in good
numbers in all sections.  
05/06/19 We are still getting good reports
with good nubers of trout being caught in the
tailwater and upper sections.
05/19/19 Stream levels are still a little too
high. Trout are being caught in good
numbers when the levels are okay.