SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb.- You don't have to travel to other states to enjoy fly fishing for trout in a cold, clear stream. You can find this experience just east of Scottsbluff at Nine Mile Creek.
Nine Mile Creek is on private land, but thanks to an agreement with the landowner, visitors can fish in the creek as long as they walk into the property rather than drive. Mike Grubb is a trout fishing enthusiast who is interested in keeping the stream stocked with rainbow trout. "In 1945, they established the Kinglsey Dam at Lake McConaughy, and in 1946 and 1947, these fish just started to show up here in the valley," Grubb said. "They were five, six and even seven pound fish."
An effort is now underway to restore and maintain the population of rainbow trout in the stream. "There hasn't been any stocking in the stream for over 35 years, and there are a lot of people in the valley who remember what the fishing was like here 40 years ago," Grubb said. Grubb has developed an incubator. He has also worked to get some original trout eggs from Ennis, Montana that are "McConaughy rainbow eggs", and he says he has started hatching them out in his incubator to keep the stream stocked.
"We get the eggs in, we usually get about 25,000 at a time, and my wife is the culling and counting supervisor," Grubb said. After the eggs are checked for quality, the eggs are carefully put into the stream inside the incubator. It takes about 12 to 14 days for the eggs to hatch. When they hatch, they are called "sack fry". They are visually different because they have an orange part of the sack still attached to their bellies. Then they become "swim ups". At that point, they are ready to be dispersed throughout the stream.
"This is the 5th year we've done it," Grubb said. "In the last 4 years, we've stocked more than 200,000 fish." The effort to keep Nine Mile Creek stocked with trout is called "Chasing Rainbows." Mike Grubb and others have developed a "Trout Unlimited" group in the Scottbluff area, and the hope is to continue making sure trout flourish in other cold water streams in the Panhandle.