This is the latest stop in the series 101 Things To Do. We took a break from weekly stops due to the pandemic, but we will highlight outdoor activities that don't conflict with health and safety recommendations.
In 1856, it seemed like a good idea to open a trout fishing farm at the site where icy-cold spring water filled ponds next to the Apple River. It turned out to be a great idea, because people stop by there to fish, and trout hatched and raised on the property are regularly shipped fresh to markets and restaurants in the Twin Cities.
“All we have here are rainbow trout,” said Nate Wendt, operations manager at Star Prairie Trout Farm. “The springs feed in 1,500 gallons a minute. It’s too cold to swim in, but it is perfect for the fish. It keeps their flesh firm.”
The fish are hatched in a building on the farm property. When they are large enough, they are placed in a small pond next to one of the springs, and as they grow, they are moved through a progression of other ponds until they are large enough to be placed in the fishing pond or shipped to markets or restaurants.
Star Prairie Trout Farm provides visitors with a fishing pole and all the equipment they will need to catch a fish.
“You keep what you catch,” Wendt said. “There is no catch and release. It’s $7.50 per pound and the fish average about a pound.”
Staff at the trout farm can also help people by cleaning and filleting their fish for a separate charge.
“We have people that will help clean the fish and put them on ice,” Wendt said. “We suggest that you bring a cooler to take your fish home.”
Visitors can also shop at Star Prairie Trout Farm. They have smoked trout and Alaskan salmon available and request that anyone wanting to purchase smoked fish call ahead and place an order.
For a small fee, visitors can get a sack of food and feed the fish, and tours are available of the hatchery and ponds where the younger fish are raised.
The grounds can be reserved for weddings, birthday parties, reunions, corporate functions, and other special events.
“It is a beautiful parklike setting and very pristine ponds,” Wendt noted. “We have some ducks on the farm, as well, and there are plenty of picnic tables and grills for you to enjoy an afternoon.”
If you go ...
Name: Star Prairie Trout Farm
Address: 400 Hill Ave., Star Prairie, Wis.
Phone: 715-248-3633 or 888-545-6808
Hours: May and September on weekends; June, July and August Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Other times by appointment. Closed Mondays.
Cost: $7.50 per pound. No catch and release.