Without the flurry everything would have been different!

Flurry is defined as; A sudden commotion accompanied by excitement and/or confusion. This single word would define last weeks trip to the Brule river on the south shore of Lake Superior in Northern Wisconsin.    

 First, I must talk about the Brule. The Brule river is a treasure rich with legend and lore. Situated in a place where presidents and pristine pine forests took up residence is testament to its unique character and unchallenged beauty. Since settlement, it has been viewed as a resource worth protecting and has been closely monitored by generations who have been fortunate enough to live and recreate within its watershed. The trout that reside within its banks and those who make their spawning runs from Lake Superior each spring and fall have a reputation for being some of the strongest fighting fish anywhere in the world. They endure the harshest of conditions and are known to challenge any angler who questions their story by engaging them in battle. Each year the Brule river provides a new beginning for me. A chance to not only extend my trout season, but to once again wade the waters amongst old friends and old timers who are the keepers of the stories of the Brule. A chance to experience the calming of spirit provided by the woods and the water. A chance to learn about who I am and a little more about the explosive inhabitants who live within this waterway. And a chance, only a chance, to hold one of these magnificent giants before sending it back to complete its journey.


  By my account I still consider myself a rookie at Steelheading on the Brule even after 10 years of exploring this magnificent watershed. Rain fell each day which has been known to increase the chances of actually hooking one of these creatures. Theory 106 states that “rain is the trigger that sends the fish who are staging at the mouth of the river on their journey upstream, thus increasing the number of fish in the system.”  Currently there are 176 theories and counting on Steelhead behavior in the Brule. I consider all of them to be correct and incorrect at the same time. There are theories on water temps, weather, fish location, swimming velocity, leaf drop, forage base, spawn development, wind speed, angler beverage count, moon phase, fly patterns…………You get the idea. I enjoy listening to all the anglers telling me there theories because they are based on those anglers experiences and likely have some validity. In reality, I think fishing success is most certainly based on a combination of these theories. I tend to make mental note of each theory and then rely on my instincts as an avid trout angler for success.

Last week I fished the Brule for Steelhead on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with my good friend Kurtis and his mobile home from Des Moines, Iowa. The motor home is a fabulous accommodation for these trips. Anticipation was high regarding theory 106 but the catching was non-existent through the morning and early afternoon. Focus is key when fishing on the Brule. Loss of concentration for even one cast is can mean the difference between a great day and a skunk. This is Theory 12 and it should be minded at all times when fishing the Brule. Then it happened. The flurry began. While on the other side of one of the many famously named holes, Kurtis hooked and landed a beautiful 25″ Brown trout. It was not the Steelhead he had hoped for but a fine fish none the less. I quickly reeled up and together over the next 30 minutes we took turns hooking and fighting fish. The prize was a 27″ Steelhead landed on a monumental dual effort. Stupidly, I let the fish take me into fast current.  Without Kurtis banging the fish on the head numerous times before actually getting him in the net we would have never landed the fish. I think the head trauma made the fish want to be in the net rather than outside of it (just kidding Kurtis).  Each day afterwords was a mirror image of the day before. A flurry of activity in the same spot at the same time of day otherwise not a bite. This behavior coincides with theory 67. ” Pay attention to time and place, fish eat at the similar times each day “. We got this one right.

The Flurry

Hooking a large Brown or Steelhead sends the intensity meter through the roof. The reel screaming, pulsating runs of these tremendous fish is what stories are made of. The fact that you have no idea how big the fish is for the first few minutes of the fight adds total confusion to the battle. The unpredictable actions of leaping and zooming by these fish in the smallish water of the Brule leads to a commotion that will make your head spin. The combination of excitement and confusion is stimuli so addicting one will take the risk…………knowing the chance is small…………… to feel the reward………..If only for a moment.

Here are some pic’s