All three of us hated the smell. We hated the taste in our mouth. The committee decided a name change was in order.

The 4 amigos fished the Brule on Monday and Tuesday during our annual gathering of fun and mayhem. Monday’s adventure was a pre-dawn trek up the river for the first light, first bite theory. In recent years we have reduced the number of days we advance to the river under the cover of darkness simply because getting out of bed, and the effort involved, did not always produce the expected results. The propensity for staying up late at night and chasing the cows home was also suggested for one of the reasons why rising at O-dark -30 was not such a good idea for this group, but that theory was shot down immediately because we are men uncommon intestinal fortitude and are highly responsible when it comes to steelheading discipline.  The day was slightly poorer in hooking and landing categories than what would be considered average for the group. Angler traffic on the stretch that we fished was considered average. A late day feeding activity period for the fish was attributed to water temp warm-up which had come later because of the chilly morning and afternoon. Everyone hooked or landed steelhead. We all knew that Tuesday would be a better day. Wrong!

Jim with a nice one!

Tuesday we arrived on the river about 10am. This is when the first light anglers begin to get antsy and leave their morning honey holes to search for new productive spots to fish. It is a good time to procure favorite holding water that is occupied by the morning anglers. I will spare you the details of the day because for three of us there were none. The three of us, brothers Jim and Dan, and myself wound up skunked, no hook-ups, no nothing. Doug, who is pictured in the center in the above picture, had a fine day on the water. Doug hooked 6 steelhead and landed three. Two of the three were fresh fish, recently coming from the lake, which is a good sign for the theory that new fish are entering the water. Doug has become the benchmark for the group. If he is not hooking fish, then there are no fish to hook and still he remains humble with his success. At the end of the day we questioned Doug as to thoughts on theory for his success. His response was a strongly held, strong opinion regarding pool rest. On Tuesday we all fished the same pools all day. By 2pm most of the angler traffic besides our group had vacated the river. The water was as clear as I have seen it in recent years, almost lacking the tannin stain it is known for. Doug felt that if a pool had been rested for more than an hour, the fish would take up their undisturbed feeding lanes close to the deeper near shore locations. Most anglers approach the water poorly in these situations and spook the near shore fish without even knowing it.  A number of Doug’s fish on Tuesday came by staying well back from shore and fishing these undisturbed holding lies after pools had been rested. This theory is not a new one but I am sure the rest of us took it for granted and ruined our chances before our first cast. Hats off to Doug for his keen sense of steelhead-ism.


Doug again!

Doug comes from Tennessee each year to fish the Brule River with his buds. His is a Tennessee Vols fan, and he will be the only angler on the trophy with an asterisk this year. The three of us decided we disliked the word skunk as a title to be worn until we can redeem ourselves on the Brule’s waters once again. It was decided among committee that we were possumed instead of skunked, it just feels better. Many who steelhead on the Brule are possumed every once in a while. Many times it is the reason one returns. I know I can’t wait to get that possum off my back.

By the way, the first picture in the story is not one depicting air guitar players. The three are holding steelhead they did not catch. The photo should have myself pictured in the middle for Tuesdays outing but Doug was humble enough to be a stand in for me.