Bupkis on the Brule   5 comments

bup·kis (bêp-kês) – noun: absolutely nothing; nothing of value, significance, or substance.

Small, round fecal pellets, referring to the shape of goat droppings.

A colorful Yiddish phrase: “Bupkis mit Kudachas”, translating roughly to “shivering shit balls”.

 

8-wt rods stand at the ready

8-wt rods stand at the ready

 

Stephen Rose, John Jackels and I went up to the Brule River in Douglas County, Wisconsin last Thursday night to take part in the annual fall pursuit of Brule River Steelhead. We went with a cocky sureness that we’d be heros, and we left cold and damp, shivering and sunken.

 

Heading North alongside the Brule Valley

Heading North alongside the Brule Valley

 

The rains in October were said to have made for a nice fall run, not at all like the anemic fall run of 2011. Hopes were high for perhaps a dozen fish during our three day outing. But instead, our lines laid limp in the water while we endured soggy-cold skies and frigid water. We saw a few fish roll and jump but none wanted to play.

Midway through the trip we were so unsure of ourselves that Stephen gave our guide friend Tim Pearson a call to confirm that there were, in fact, still steelhead swimming up the Brule River. He assured Stephen that there were, and encouraged us to keep trying, saying that the most important part of Steelheading is having that fly in the water, working hard to present it with a dead drift.

So after a lunch at the Kro Bar we were back on the water doing our thing.

 

This is Steelheading on the Brule River

This is Steelheading on the Brule River

 

After more of the same we retreated to camp, dry gas station firewood in hand, and Stephen cooked up some venison steaks and tomato soup. Staring into a campfire on a cold fall evening can lift even the most weary angler’s soul. And a superlative sleep in a Hennessy Hammock is a thing that by all rights should be reserved for the gods on Olympus. Don’t be a dink. Get a hammock to camp in.

 

Sleep on a cloud

Sleep on a cloud

 

In the end, the trip was a beautiful thing. The Brule River and the forested valley that it runs through are soul-cleansing, and I’ll plan to go back year after year. And when I hold another chrome trout in my hands it will be all that much sweeter.

 

John and Stephen absorbing heat

John and Stephen absorbing heat

 

 

 

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5 responses to “Bupkis on the Brule

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  1. I hate to say it, but this post makes me feel better about my failed Lake Superior tributary quest last weekend. 3 days solid fishing. Nothing. Some fish spotted, had an OK steelie or native rainbow on for a few seconds. Thats it. Cold wet…. but a very beautiful trip!

    • If my short account of failure on the Brule can serve as a balm on the wounds of Superior steelheaders, that’s good enough for me.

      Dan, your comment was also a comfort to me.

      I guess you could consider this group therapy.

      Tom

  2. Such a beautiful place, The Grand Bois Brule. Enjoyed the post. “And when I hold another chrome trout in my hands it will be all that much sweeter.” So true!

  3. When God gives you lemons, make lemonade. Sounds like you did. Better luck next year.
    Mom

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