Steve from Oct 23rd

Steve from Oct 23rd

Brad had some comments and questions;

Read your Report with great interest, I tried for three days and never had a hit. Usually I at least get something.  I didn’t talk to one person who caught a decent trout, brown or rainbow, in the three days I was there.  Comments?


Hi Brad
Thanks for the report. Like every year, individual catching results are variable. Fish numbers are low and angler numbers are up. Not the best of combinations for catching. I think it is great to see folks out on the river even if the numbers of catches does not meet expectations. The Brule/steelhead endeavor can be mentally and physically challenging and each year there will be some angler attrition because of the formidable opponent. Maintaining optimism is difficult if no fish are caught, especially with the effort put in, and considering the river does not exactly run through our back yard. Even in years where steelhead numbers are high this quest is still nothing short of difficult. Many who are making their first outings to the Brule might see little reason to return.

A long time ago, I learned that everyone is out there for a different reason. It is true. Some will never move beyond the controlling drug called catching. After all it is the point of every cast, yes? Without it, there is no addition. Some are content to try, fail, and return knowing there’s a chance. One on the line is success. One in the net is a conquest. Some are there for the camaraderie or enjoy the escape from every day life. I know, I know, delving into fishing philosophy can put some folks into an eye roll and smirk but I call it how I see it.

Do you think, with the water being low and clear, that the flies are a better bet than my small Rapala which is usually effective too, at least at times?

I have no experience using the rap rig. Fresh fish will probably chase those down and hammer them, really selective fish that have been in the river for a few days and heavily fished over, probably not as much. Two anglers casting spawn on float rigs were doing quite well last time I was up. Better than everyone else. Their tactics are really no different from an indicator rig except for adding the strong scent of spawn to attract the fish to the set up. Sometimes the conventional anglers do very well throwing flatfish, raps and jitterbugs. Every day is different, and the beasts with fins are in charge. Watching anglers using different techniques is part of the experience. If they are successful, I probably try and adapt within the realm of fly fishing to the techniques they are using

Recent rains the last few days should help no matter what?

Everything I have read about rain and steelhead says that rain helps. Logically it all makes sense. My personal experience- sometime yes, sometimes no. Too many “Depends Upon” questions pop up. The river has increased flow over the last few days. Are you asking if it will help color up the river? Help the fish move easier? Trigger more fish to move up river? Help anglers catch more fish? Other questions always pop up then. Is it enough rain? Have the majority of the fish moved up already? Do the fish move right away? How far do they travel in a day? Should I fish upper or lower river? Just too many variables and other questions one must ask in order to give a blanket yes or no answer. I promise, I am not trying to be illusive. Do not over think(some thinking is good). Find a section of water you know well, fish it hard, be patient, try something new, be patient, stay focused, move to the next likely spot, repeat.

The ability to understand water, current and its depths and flows is key. Recognizing likely holding lies is essential. The ability to cast the fly rod accurately, control the fly line, mend, and  present the fly well in all types of water is paramount. Setting the hook quickly is so important. Without this basic knowledge, I believe your chances of catching goway down. Except for luck, of course.

One other incident you may find of interest, second time for me in three years or so up there. Had one angler completely dominate a select pool, for the entire day. He Made it real clear anyone else fishing there wasn’t welcome.

Most of us try to fish through the pools and move on, and/or circle back, so everyone gets a chance? Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be done? at least that’s what I always thought, and most of the anglers I encounter do that. Not this guy.

As far as etiquette/conduct, you are correct in your approach. At least in “old school” Brule troutsmen regard. However, change is. Remember pot used to be illegal in Colorado and adultery used to be an offense punishable by public stoning (both different ways of getting stoned). There is more of a get mine first, or at least, before anyone else does, shift for “hole real-estate”. Hole real-estate is limited and demand is high. The Bite, could come at any time so why would I give up my space to a perfect stranger. Coveting thy neighbors hole has become pretty common. The way I deal with it is to be kind and communicate. I realize this approach is not in everyones comfort range, but common sense and experience has shown me it works best.  Kindness still has its way of opening doors. If the Mojo is bad, I move on. There is 25 miles of river and it sounds like you know it reasonably well. Hole hoarding will continue. I may be guilty of staying in one hole too long, either because I’m catching or I’m not. Either way if you approach me with a smile, a story and a desire to give it a go, I am on board with some gallery fishing or letting you play through. Prime hole or not, I get board with too much of the same. I am a mover, and there is a whole bunch of water I like to fish.


Of all the rivers I have fly fished, the Brule has been my favorite teacher. The river and her fish have never been easy to master. Little is learned by the angler when the challenge becomes effortless or straightforward. Success is the addicting set-up  leaving the fly angler ill prepared for the free fall of the opposite. On the Brule, the teachings of humility can saturate the soul into submission or stimulate the angler to rise and grow hungry. Failure is amplified by every fishless cast and the inability complete the quest is a humbling weight for any hunter to bare. Pride is pride. The lesson, as with most endeavors – It’s only worth as much as the time put in. Long ago we decided that we only needed to see one. You catch it, I catch it or the guy with the flat fish catches it. Just so we know they still swim in the river. I’m telling ya, there’s a chance. It’s small, but its there. It keeps me coming back

And then, a set,, a leap,,, a racing heart!