With fall fading fast, the steelhead called me north again.
So, I headed back up to the South Shore of Lake Superior and the mighty Bois Brule river. I decided to check out a new stretch of river, and pulled in just at daybreak. Air temp hovered around 25 degrees. Hiking downstream, it became obvious that this upper river stretch(still below the highway) was vastly different from the lower river I usually fish. There were no rocks up here, and the bottom consisted of mainly muck and sand. Thick brush and broken Basswood along the river made for rough walking. I was able to follow some deer trails, but it was slow going over my 3-mile trek downriver. This brush also hung over the riverbanks, making for tough casting as well. However, there were no other anglers around, so I felt confident that I would encounter some fish.
After fighting a big Steelhead for a couple of minutes before finally having my hook pop out(grrrr....), I stepped into a nice run and drifted a spawnbag under some overhanging brush. I hooked a fish briefly on my 1st drift, who spit the hook after a couple of headshakes. Two drifts later, from the exact same spot, I hooked up again and kept this fish on, eventually landing a nice little Brown Trout of 21".
Working the run over a second time, I hooked another good fish. This fish fought harder than the spawned-out Brown, and ended up being a colorful 24-inch Steelhead. My luck was quickly turning for the better.
After freshening up my spawn, I drifted again through the portion of the run that this last fish came from. My third drift, I hooked another nice Steelhead. This one was very silver, a much fresher fish, and put on a great aerial display in the brush-choked river. She was a beautiful trout.
After losing another two fish in the brush, I battled and landed yet another fiesty Steelhead. This one was a carbon-copy of the previous one, 22-23 inches of hard-fighting chrome. I was starving by now, so I had to hike the three miles back to the truck for a sandwich. All of the day's action had come in just a few hours, between 8am and noon. Little did I know that I would see no more action for the remainder of the day. Oh, well, it sure was fun while it lasted! I guess the same could be said for this open-water season, as this will most likely be the last time I fish without drilling through ice. It sure was fun while it lasted. The temperature dropped into the teens overnight, and I pointed my truck for home.
Andrew Geving, Roughfisher at Large