Seed Savers

Trip Report #1:  I stopped in to Seed Savers not to trout fish, but to check out their collection of seeds and heirloom plants.  I have been buying their seeds for years in Iowa City stores.  Being in Decorah for Nordic Fest, it seemed like a great side trip.  I was very impressed by the farm and their collection of gardens.  They also have some very neat heirloom livestock there, including some grouchy geese.
At the center of the farm is a store/visitor’s center that sells seeds, books, and cold drinks.  I asked the nice lady at the counter about the on-site trout stream, which is advertised on their brochures.  This is a branch of South Canoe Creek, which is not located on the DNR trout maps.  She told me to follow the mowed path and veer right across the bridge, past the old pioneer cabin.  There is also a small streambed that runs past the parking lot, but she told me that only contains water after rains, and does not hold trout.  She said that there are trout fishermen who come and fish the stream, but I got the sense they were infrequent visitors.
I didn’t have my fishing gear with me, but I did walk down to the stream and walk along it a bit.  There’s a good amount of stream frontage on this farm, and the clear water certainly looked like it would hold trout.  Next time I’m there, I will toss a line for sure.
If you veer left on the trail, away from the cabin area, you can follow a path to a nice cold spring that was used to cool dairy in the far past.
Overall, Seed Savers was an excellent stop, and it seemed that trout fishermen were welcome, if not often seen.  If you do stop in, tread lightly and maybe buy something in the shop, even if just a cool ice tea.  We want to make sure this stretch stays open to fishermen.  The best way to do that is to be good neighbors.
– August 1, 2016
Trip Report #2:  Rev. T. and I made this our first stop on our Decorah trip, as it was close to our cabin and it was getting dark.  The area had been hit with crazy floods recently, and it showed on this stream, as all the tall grasses were pasted down, and there was a washed-out bridge stuck between two willow trees!  I didn’t have much hope for catching anything, but as usual, T quickly hooked up with two fine brook trout.
This is a pretty stream, and Seed Savers won a conservation award for their work in preserving it.  I would recommend that anglers check it out, and while you’re there, support the folks that do the conservation work.  I bought a bunch of heirloom seed packets for my garden.  They also have cold drinks, a bathroom, and a great book selection.
– September 23, 2016
2017 Update: Please note that since I published my original trip reports, the DNR has now added this stream to their page, and has listed it as catch and release for brook trout, and artificials only.  As of Fall 2016, these limitations were not listed at the stream or on the DNR pages- but anglers have a responsibility to follow the laws regardless.  Also, no tobacco or alcohol are allowed on the property:

Stream Name:
South Canoe Creek/Pine Spring Creek
 Park or Wildlife Area: Seed Savers Exchange (private farm, open to public)
 DNR Page:
 Access: Please check open hours at the Seed Savers page:
 Pros: Beautiful location, not on trout maps, lots of stuff to see and do
 Cons: Catch and release, artificials only
 Additional Information: Check the Seed Savers website to find info about events.

Ratings: (out of 10)

Fish Size: 6
Fish Quantity: 7
Beauty: 8
Solitude: 6
Water Clarity: 7
Overall: 6.8


Note: 2017 DNR stream page shows that the fishing area extends far beyond what is marked here with the blue line.


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