BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) – A small stream near the Mall of America holds a lot of promise for one elusive trophy fish. Trout have been re-introduced to a creek in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

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Not a mile from the airport, a babbling brook offers an escape from city living. In the steady stream, of crystal clear water, the elusive brook trout is thriving.

“They only live in cold, clean, water, so it’s beautiful space that you get to go through and track these trout,” said Mark Johnson, of Twin Cities Trout Unlimited.

It’s the result of a restoration project that began five years ago, when several organizations wanted to return an urban area to its natural beginnings.

“We’re taking a stream that’s a little challenged and relaxing some of the human restraints,” said Mark Nemeth, of the Department of Natural Resources.

The restoration is a first step towards recreating the fishing opportunities available in the Twin Cities some 30 years ago. At that time there were roughly 15 brooks and creeks for trout fisherman. Today, there are approximately five.

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Concrete barriers and man-made ledges on the un-named creek allow the fish to spawn and find refuge. The next step is protecting the water from the land around it. Trout are sensitive to any change in the water from sediment to run-off.

Dozens of volunteers put the finishing touches on the restoration on Saturday. They picked up trash and planted seeds to promote new growth.

“I’m really excited to see what our help, and everyone else’s help, can do to this stream,” said James Kelloway, a Boy Scout who volunteered on the restoration project.

Still years away from becoming a trout fisherman’s oasis, any angler knows the wait is usually worth the reward.

“I have a feeling in the next 10-20 years, this will become a really nice spot,” said Kelloway.

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Two, much larger, trout restoration projects are underway on the Vermillion River, near Farmington and on the Hay Creek, near Red Wing.