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Anglers say $22 million fish ladder in Red Wing will just make it easier for carp to get upstream

Hastings angler Corey Waller expressed frustration with a fish ladder that is going to be part of a major construction project on Lock and Dam No. 3 in Red Wing.

The Army Corps of Engineers has begun work on a $70 million project planned there to improve navigation safety and the embankments.

As part of the project, a fish ladder will be built to allow spawning walleyes and other migratory fish to travel upstream. What Waller and several other anglers are struggling with is the decision to put in a fish ladder to make it easier for fish to move upstream when the carp are on the way. In effect, he said, the carp will have a four-lane, paved highway to make their upstream migration easier.

"Obviously, as soon as you make it easier for walleyes to migrate, you're also making it easier for Asian carp to travel between pools," he said. "We have this massive Godzilla coming up the river, and we're not going to do anything to stop that?

"We've been on the farmers to increase the water quality from runoffs. We're on the cities to clean up their wastewater. We're on the fishermen to promote catch and release. It's all working. Now, we're not going to do something to stop Godzilla?"

Waller said the better solution would be to take all the money that will be spent on building the fish ladder and instead use it to build a barrier at the dam in Red Wing (or any other dam farther downstream) to prevent the fish from getting any farther north.

The cost of the fish ladder is now estimated at $22 million. A public meeting is planned for Red Wing in June.