On radar it looked like a giant hurricane. Warm air was being pulled up from the south and arctic air was being sucked down from the north. This giant weather system had encircled the entire Midwest and its wrath had found a home over the Brule river for the weekend. Just great, the weekend I pick to travel decides to spit the coldest weather of the season out on my destination. Well, I knew it had to come, so be it! I actually love the extremes when it comes to fishing. Angler traffic, light levels and glare are all at low levels which is perfect for both the fish and the fishermen. Mother Nature truly shows no mercy to those who enter her domain and I like that. To me, feeling her fury simply gives me a deeper understanding of those who live without the many comforts we enjoy.

  Saturday, after driving for 3 hours in the snow/rain/sleet conditions I was ready for the heart pounding excitement of the raging bull, head shaking, lightning bolt charge of a hooked steelhead………………………… I got skunked!  At times like this, after 5 hours immersed in 40 something degree water surrounded by the swirling snows and gusting winds coming off Lake Superior its not hard to ask yourself questions like this. What the F— were you thinking? Or… Will my toes, legs, lower unit and fingers ever regain full function again?  But miraculously my brain does take over and relay the information that I am having a hell of alot of fun. In the end there were astounding highlights. Shortly after leaving my friend Dan at one of the Brules gigantic primary holes his day and mine would be made.  While making the sloppy and slippery trek back to the truck at the end of the day Dan informed me he had a fish story for me. Turned out he had hooked and landed the fish of a lifetime. A Brown trout tape measured at 33.5 inches took his Prince nymph and didn’t let go. When I asked to see the picture, I knew what the answer would be. Earlier in the day, the three of us who were on this outing had discussed the fact that all three had either dead batteries or had forgotten their cameras at the hotel. It was predicted at this time that something big would happen and there would be no documentation. There were two other anglers in the hole that assisted Dan in landing and taping the fish. These men were both veterans of the river with decades more experience than us and confirmed the catch and measurement with the gleeful smiles of having witnessed a true trophy. The fish became legend in the KroBar Tavern on Saturday night and a celebration with Tequila was only fitting.      

Sunday, we arrived late on the river after breaking the fun meter at the tavern the night before. The arrival time was before noon and after a good breakfast. Our waitress at the restaurant was incredibly bubbly and highly energetic which was hard to endure on top of the throbbing hangover from Saturday’s celebration. Her good natured demeanor was none the less appreciated and a good tip followed her good service. In 4 hours on the river I managed to redeem myself and once again was lucky enough to feel the frenzied fight of the fresh steelhead. They were there, even though they often leave you doubting their presence. They are always there during this time period. One must just believe. I hooked 3 and landed 1 and was off the water before the football border battle had finished. Once again I met friends on the river and off. I also made a few new friends which my parents taught me would be a better and more important skill to master than making new enemies. The pictures are from Robert Shidla and the one I took before my battery went dead. Thanks Robert.

Oh, by the way one of the anglers who saw Dan catch the big Brown, caught him again the next morning. They say it can happen(theory #177)!

Happy Birthday Jimmy!