Hi Andy!

Wondering your opinion of river levels on the brule and fishability.  A small group of us were planning on going up this weekend but the flows are currently at 430 cfs.  It might drop a tiny bit by Saturday but would that be a level you would even attempt to wet a line?  I know river crossings will be out of the question for the most part.  Thanks for any input!

Will

Hi Will

I was up there for the last 4 days and experienced the flows go from 197 to 480. 
Over the years flows around 240 and rising are about my cut off. Especially when the ground is already saturated and more rain is expected. Realize, the act of fishing is always possible, But it is the likelihood of catching is the question I think you are asking about. The rising side of water at the very beginning of an event like the one the Brule is experiencing now can be good fishing. On Monday evening when I arrived, I was hearing good stories of both steelhead and salmon being caught. However, it is my experience that it is much better to be on the falling side of flows when the river begins to settle down.
The Brule River, under high flows, appears differently depending upon the location it is viewed at between the town and the mouth. Water on the upper end, near Brule and in the flat meadows will stay cleanish and flow smoothly as the volume of water rises and leaves the banks. Meanders and islands were covered with water yesterday and flows were well up into the trees. The hydraulics are different in different as you get closer to the lake. At 400cfs the water at Co. Rd. FF Bridge was raging and super-mixed red clay mud was the picture. The water is contained in high rock and clay banks through this higher gradient, popular section of the river. The high volume of water here acts as if it has been shot through a fire hose. It is pretty impressive and clearly understandable why it is pointless to fish. This colorful mix of water and earth is then carried all the way to Lake Superior where the driving North wind is slamming 12 foot waves of this mixture back into the south shore and mouth of the river creating a pretty churned up and angry mix of Mother Nature. 
Another factor to consider when planning a trip to the Brule under these conditions is stream side travel. Along with pelting ice rain, cold temps and blustery wind, which can certainly be endured if you have the mindset, the travel along the stream-side trails can be somewhat treacherous. The copper clay mud is so slippery, any up/down hill walks can become challenging and/or dangerous to reach distant pools. 
240 and rising is my limit on the front side. At 240 and falling I am fishing if the rain is going to hold off. Yesterday we were figuring maybe Sunday without any more significant rain up North. That is just a prediction and probably a bit optimistic. 
On an up note, the leaf colors are just fantastic. This may not be the consolation my buddies who are still up there in the already payed for cabin wanted, but it is an alternative look. I am sure they are finding something liquid to do while waiting for the river to drop. 
Hope this helps
A
Above is my friend Dan with a nice fish. The photo was taken at the mouth of the Brule on Thursday. You can see the splendid color of the water. We went and played  pool at the Kro-Bar shortly afterwards.