The first trout I ever held was a trout that had heeded the call to spawn, and in doing so, swam out of Geneva Lake, up Southwick Creek, just far enough to be stuck in a small rocky where my 12 year old self could grab him with my hands. That was the first trout, and though there have been thousands since, the first trout and that first stream matters more than any of the others. This morning, I have a meeting with several key players who have responded to my efforts to fix Southwick Creek. Currently, this is a ditched creek that runs through Williams Bay, under a series of concrete culverts, where you’re as likely to find a small brown trout as you are an empty bag of Funyuns. This effort is just beginning, but the goal is to take a trout stream that man has abused for 100 or more years and move it back to where it belongs- in Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy.
This effort won’t be easy. It won’t be cheap. But if we can pull it off it will be the single most rewarding bit of conservation the lake community has ever championed. If I can get this effort off the ground, I’ll need help. Thankfully, the help is easy, because I don’t really want you to come up and operate a backhoe or build trout boxes, I just need your donations to the cause (they will be tax deductible once this is set up, of course). If you’re reading this today and you find the concept of fixing and preserving one of the most important fresh water supplies flowing into Geneva Lake, then please do let me know. I’ll add you to our action list, and when the time comes to put shovels in the ground, you’ll be the first to know. For now, there’s a long uphill battle to get the State of Wisconsin DNR, the US Fish and Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, the Kishwauketoe Board, and the Village of Williams Bay all in agreement. Wish me luck, and let me know if you want to help in any way.