I’ve been reading the newsletters of the Brule River Sportsmen’s Club over the past few weeks and have learned a lot about their work to improve the Brule River fishery. One of the most incredible projects is the “Gravel Drops” they collaborated with the National Guard on years ago. The photos are really intriguing. Gravel, of course, is an important substrate for trout and salmon spawning and it allows the eggs a safe place to lie during maturation. Check out the pictures on their website. I think you’ll enjoy them.
I have also gleaned from the Club’s newsletters that they’re struggling a bit financially. This is a real shame, because their work has helped make the Brule a healthy fishery, giving all who fish it better opportunities to experience the tug of a wild Lake Superior Steelhead.
I am planning to send in my membership form with $20, and I’m also going to add a bit extra to help with the Habitat Fund. I’ll purchase a map and a cap as well and I encourage you to do the same, whether you’re an angler who loves the Brule, or just someone who loves the idea of the Brule.
National Guard and Brule River Sportsmen’s Club members spread gravel at Mott’s Ravine Bend in the Brule River in 1995. Click the photo to see the gallery.
Check out this great episode of “Discovery”, a UP outdoors show, featuring Damian and Tim on the Brule. They sure do catch a lot of fish!
Check out the document below on the Brule Steelhead numbers for 2011-2012. The overall run last fall/spring was nearly half of what it has been since 2004. However, the spring run was as big as it’s been in recent history. Looks like those wild Brule Steelhead have strong instincts!
It looks like the Brule rose just a hair this past week. And there’s rain in the forecast this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed!
Bang the image to blow it up!
I read in the paper last night that the numbers are in on the Fall Run of Brule River Steelhead. The numbers are way down, about 1/3 of what they’ve been in the recent past. It only makes sense that this is the case. There was absolutely no rain last fall in the Brule River Valley. I watched the weather up there from July through November, and a few times there were some storms that came close, but either went north, east, west, or south.
I won’t be heading up to the Brule this spring, but it will be interesting to hear about the run numbers. Will Steelhead come up the river to spawn this spring (most spawning fish overwinter in the river, so those that are now in the lake will most likely stay put). Let’s hope for some more predictable weather this fall so we can have another 10,000 fish run. That would be something!
Tom A-B's 25" hen, caught on the Brule in November, 2011.
Last November I got an education in fly fishing for Steelhead on the Brule river, thanks to Tim Pearson, the Brule River Ninja. The thing I learned, the thing Tim hammered in to me over 12 hours that cold November day was how important a dead drift is when fishing with nymph flies. That lesson isn’t all that important on creeks that are 3 feet wide. Often the current across that little creek is generally moving at a uniform velocity, so mending your line to keep a faster current from pulling the fly irregularly through the area you’ve targeted isn’t a skill you need to understand.
Black Earth Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin
The sections of Black Earth Creek I’ve been fishing the past few times out have been, to my eye, more like a river than a creek. So my Brule River lessons have been relevant to success. The need to read the water comes into play as well. These kinds of puzzles are really nice, the challenges of fly fishing are increased.
The other great feature of a bigger spring-fed creek like Black Earth Creek is that when you stand with your feet in the stream, there’s plenty of room to unload a nice big cast. It’s not all about roll casting, as it is so much on smaller creeks.
I’m not usually a salesman, or a peruasive speaker for that matter, but deciding to focus on one thing, one place, as I’ve planned to do this season with Black Earth Creek, I’m learning to appreciate things about that body of water that I didn’t take the time to understand in seasons past. Maybe there is a reason the stream is as highly regarded as it is.
So, setting out, putting my best stream-reading and line-mending skills into practice, I found myself attached, via fishing line and hook, to a nice, thick, 15″ Brown Trout this afternoon. Have a look at him below.
Get out there and enjoy the natural world!
15" Black Earth Creek Brown Trout, March 8, 2012