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Willow River stocked with 2,000 trout

Randy Bremness with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources removes the stocking trout from the tank and places them into buckets, for eventual placement in the Willow River2 / 2

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, with the help of several volunteers, stocked about 2,000 brown trout in the Willow River last Thursday.

The crew stopped in several locations from County Road T all the way into New Richmond, dumping buckets of fish into the riverway. The fish came from the St. Croix Falls hatchery.

According to volunteer Bill Holland, the number of trout stocked this year was down from previous years, when upwards of 4,000 fish were added to the local waters.

He said public access to the fishery is declining, so the DNR has dropped the number of fish it stocks each year.

Holland has lived along the Willow River all his life, and now enjoys fishing the waters with his grandchildren.

"It's a beautiful river," he said. "When I was young, this was my playground. I've fished this river since I was 13, or maybe even younger."

Holland said he appreciates the fact that the DNR continues to place trout in the river, but he'd like to see more landowners along the Willow allow angler access so more people can enjoy the beauty and the great fishing.