10-25-03 - Finally MP makes it to the South Shore
of Lake Superior for a bit of steelhead!
Waters Fished: Bois Brule River
Fish Caught: 2 Steelhead (by Neil)
Outing Date: 10-25-03
Weather: Sunny morning, moving to clouds most of the day, rain in
the evening and snow at night!
Air Temp: Highs in the mid 40's
Water Temp: 41F
Water Level: low
Water Color: as clear as it gets
Fish Species: Steelhead, Resident Rainbows
Pattern Fished: Various eggs & nymphs, bait (spawn & waxworms)
Pattern Color: assorted naturals and neons
Fishing Quality: Neil says it's been a slow year all around.
So this trip has probably been in the works for
2 or 3 months! It all started a while back on FAT's
board when Neil suggested that we make a trip up there to fish
the Brule. Not sure if Brennon arrived as a new Minneapolis transplant
before or after that fact, but they've gotten out at least a few
times this season so far!
Well I decided to follow someone's advice; "Get
Busy Livin' or Get Busy Dyin'" and the fall runs seemed like
as good an excuse as any to become Mr. Road Trip. Let Chicago on
Friday around 6:00 pm and made it to Brennon's new digs around 1:30
directions aren't always 100% clear or accurate ;)
Brennon being the generous host got me settled
in to sleep off the drive, and we were back awake less than 3 hours
later packing up the car at 4:30 am! How we got all of Brennon's
gear out of the house in one trip is difficult to explain. How we
fit it in my car is even a greater mystery!
And I'm back asleep...Brennon knew ahead of time
I was making him drive, so he had at least a good 6-7 hours under
his belt to finish the last leg of our journey. I probably got another
1.5 hours in by the time we hit Duluth / Superior, and by 7:00 am
we were in Brule, WI.
Let me tell you it was gorgeous despite being late
fall. We froze in the early morning; the cold damp air penetrating
my 5 LAYERS of clothes along with my hat and gloves! The plan was
simple, we'd gear up, fish a couple spots that Neil had mapped out,
and somewhere around noonish he'd meet up with us for the remainder
of the weekend.
Brennon and I dropped in via a steep but well-trodden
path. Turns out we went the "wrong way" in that first
section but that's OK, there was good water all around. Remembering
Neil's advice, we did not skip the fast water.
By 10:30 AM we had covered a deep pool, a sharp
bend, a long flat with tons of pockets and riffles and up to the
next bend. We turned back and took a bit of a breather before moving
downstream to our next mapped out spot.
We must have missed Neil by a half-hour or so;
he came up on us and we all proceeded to fish. Not much else to
say except it was great to finally have the group all together.
We spent much of the afternoon moving around the
river, putting in hikes between holes to warm up. Mid-afternoon
we finally started to see some action; while Brennon and Neil were
up around a bend they landed the first steelhead of the trip, a
15" skipjack. Sorry, no pics, this was a quick C & R trip,
Catch Photo Release would only happen if I was in the area. For
the remainder of the trip I tried to stay within sight of Neil ;)
And well it paid off! Not too long after the first
fish Neil sent me to work some fast deep water. Let me tell you,
I WORKED IT. I hit every single pocket and drift the run probably
30-40 times. I had been through the Tucker Nypmh and MANY various
egg-type patterns without so much as a hit.
Neil walked over and we kinda traded spaces...I
went to swinging a Green Butt Skunk Spey in the far bend of a deeper
turn, and Neil took over the fast water. Ever so casually he just
kinda said "I've got one" and Brennon and I quickly moved
Out came the camera to document the battle...I
wanted to be sure we had PLENTY of evidence! Brennon went in for
the tailing, and after a couple tries got his hands on a gorgeous
chrome steelhead. Neil had induced a strike on a spawn/yarn fly
combo. A quick removal of the hook followed by the picture and this
steelhead was back in the drink...almost NO revival time required
as the fish bolted back into the pool.
The remainder of our trip was uneventful...well..sort
of. We moved upstream to check another area. It was about a 1/3
mile hike back to our starting point, and well somewhere along the
way I noticed that my rod tip was looking funny...on closer examination
I learned that once again, my wonderful Alaskan Rod Crafter's 5
pc. 7 wt. was broken! Talk about being depressed and feeling rather
dejected. Going all day so far without a hit, and now I've apparently
broken my favorite rod for the 2nd time?! The strangest part was
WHERE the rod broke, immediately between the two feet of the upper
2nd or 3rd guide (I'd have to go look at the rod again to tell you
which one). Not a shatter or a splinter, but a pretty clean BREAK,
almost like someone sawed it apart. Everyone who saw it thought
it was a really unusual place to break a rod.
So while Neil and Brennon continued on, I had to
hike back to the car and rig up my backup 6 wt., which is basically
a Bass Pro Hobb's Creek outfit uplined with SA DT floating...same
concept as my beloved 7' 4wt. but for some reason the setup didn't
work as well in the 9' 6wt. In fact I pretty much can't stand using
the rod and only keep it around for friends who'd like to join me
but don't own fly gear.
I hike back in, which involves getting wet...and
up until this point I haven't mentioned that somehow not one, but
BOTH of the feet in my waders are now leaking. I stood around as
long as I could with 40F water slowly creeping into my feet. Meanwhile
Neil manages a hit from a resident rainbow; as he would explain
later they are easy to tell apart from smolts. Smolts keep their
parr markings whereas a resident rainbow of the same size already
has the red lateral stripe.
No major "accumulation" of water occurs
in the waders...it's not like I can pour out a gallon or something,
it's just enough water to keep my feet frozen. At one point during
all this I got my first hit of the day...some little unidentified
2" fish came up and hit a small #12 Olive Caddis pattern. He
missed it but then hit it again on the next pass. Never landed the
fish so I couldn't tell ya if it was a chub, shiner, dace, minnow,
tiny trout, crayfish...
After feeling nothing but PAIN for an hour or so,
I decided to head back up...I needed the hike to warm up. The hike
got my feet warm just fine. By the time I was back I was starting
to cheer up a bit.
Alright, as Neil put it, he took the water temperature.
Based on what he found, he "Caved and went to bait" very
early in the day. I've been holding onto this interested product
I found while helping the girls get their licenses a few weeks back;
Mr. Twister "Exude Eggs". A soft plastic translucent orange
egg which is designed to release scent in the water. Thought it
might make the ultimate egg fly. However, my fly gear is now out
of commission overall (My backup rods are well, rods I don't enjoy
fishing, and my favorite rods are all in need of repair...if you
haven't figured it out already I am TOUGH on equipment).
But I do have my spinning rod. I also have a Drennan
Float. Oh, I have splitshot too (supposedly zinc based to be less
detrimental to the environment). Wait, do I have hooks? Yeah, I
do...I brought my fly tying hooks up with me. So I spend more time
rigging up a float setup for my 9'6" "Harbor Rod"
and proceed to float single Mr. Twister Eggs through a deep pocket
of fast water close to our parking spot.
No hits, well, actually maybe one but I'd be really
hard pressed to give my word that it was a hit. Just watched my
float jiggle violently and hold stationary, then move slightly upstream,
and by the time I tried to set the hook there was NOTHING on the
other end. No rock, no fish, nothing.
The rain came and brought Brennon and Neil back
upstream...it's absolutely no fun to be out in the rain in 40F air.
We packed it up and headed out.
Ordinarily this would end the day's report, but
there's more to tell. You see, after Brennon, Neil and I planned
this trip I found out that some WFF
Board Members had planned a mini-clave at the Brule on this
very weekend. I had let people know we'd be up and what to look
We stopped at the Brule River Motel to check in
(thanks Brennon for making the reservation) and first ran into Joseph
(BLUEWINGOLIVE on WFF) from the One
More Cast Fly Shop in IL. Very generous guy, right off the bat
he offered up a couple beers which were SLAMMED in minutes...it
was the first food or drink I had since 6:30 AM back in Superior,
So while Brennon was checking the rest of us chatted;
I remarked rather jokingly about how Joseph had posted to WFF that
he was the mobile fly shop for the weekend. I asked if he happened
to have a 7wt. 9ft. fast-action rod. I wasn't expecting anything,
but Joseph said, "Actually, I have a 9'6" 7wt." Talk
about being PREPARED for anything. He's got the beer AND precisely
the spare rod I would need!
Joseph joined us for dinner where we also ran into
Samantha (WFF) and her buddy Thomas who came in from the East Coast
just for this trip! We dined on some great food, Joseph and I both
having a 2 Pork Chop special...man talk about the juiciest pork
chops I've ever had. WE ALL thoroughly enjoyed our meals that evening,
and it didn't have anything to do with the fact that we hadn't eaten
all day. I could be stuffed full and would STILL eat 4 more of those
chops! Sorry Folks, but I don't remember the name of the place...it's
the one next to the BRM.
Of course evening came 'round and we headed back
to the room. Joseph was just going to tie by himself...absolute
rubbish Joseph, you'll join us in our room 'cause we're tying too!
He probably whipped out 8-10 Green Butt Skunks while I tied up about
6 Tucker Nymphs in my half-in-the-bag state. A great evening was
had by all and the worst part, I think none of us were awake by
10:30! A day of hiking and casting combined with a few beers is
going to put you to sleep really quick!