2016 Year in Reveiw

A lot of cool things happened in 2016! Burnt Wood 1 made its first “working” trip down the Brule! It was on the Opening Day of the Upper River Season and I couldn’t have been more proud to have John, who’s family has been on the river since the mid 1880’s as her first customer! This was the first trip for a “working’ Lucius in many decades!

The Upper River fished well this Summer with more big Brook Trout showing up and some of the nicest resident Browns I’ve seen in years.  The Hex Hatch was superb and the mousing was incredible

The Spring Steelhead fishing was excellent despite high water for a good portion of the Spring, many Great fish were caught, with many coming to the swung fly! The Rio Trout Max heads used in conjunction with a Sage One 890 have really become my go to set up for swinging flies on this lovely river!

Fall Steelhead were a little tougher with really clear water being the norm. Even with tough conditions fishing was solid, with many nice fish being brought to hand. Those who “Kept the Faith” and fished hard were rewarded for their efforts!

Grouse and Woodcock hunting was fantastic! Grouse numbers are up and we are supposed to be on the up swing of the cycle, Great news for the next few years. Casper had a stellar sophomore campaign and will do nothing but get better in the years to come.  Woof is as reliable as always and in great shape. Looking forward to the next few years behind this cage old vet!

I’d like to thank all of my friends and customers who made 2016 such a memorable and outstanding year!

I am now booking for the 2017 season, with the way things are going, theres never been a better time to fish the storied Bois Brule River! Call 218 390 0629 to get your time on the Brule scheduled!


Getting through the Winter

Not a whole lot to report on from a fishing point of view up in my part of the world, but I’ve been staying busy with boat restoration, fly tying, Fly-fishing Expos and talks.

One of the great things about the expos is that all of us fly-fishing guides get to hang out and talk, something we really don’t get to do during the fishing season. A topic that keeps coming up, is the success or failure of our customers on any given day and the reasons why. What’s the most talked about reason? CASTING!

Sure, when you hire a guide, he or she can help you with your casting, but, coming in with a solid foundation is the most important thing you can do for yourself on a guided trip. When you’re out on the water with a guide, the one thing that is on everyone’s mind is fish. The best time and place for casting instruction and practice is off the water, when you don’t have that pesky little distraction of trying to catch fish!  All guides have little “cheats” they can use to help make up for poor casting, but at the end of the day, these “cheats” can result in reinforcing bad habits. The solution? Before your trip practice! if practice alone isn’t enough, find a good instructor to give you dedicated casting lessons. After your session? PRACTICE! you wouldn’t take 1 piano lesson, not touch the piano for a month and then expect to remember everything you learned in 1 lesson? Same thing with casting.

You can generally find a good casting instructor through your local fly shop. in my area, contact the Superior Fly Angler or Northwoods Adventures Fly Fishing

A small investment before your trip, and a little dedication to practice will pay HUGE dividends one your are on the water!




Fly tying, fly fishing expos and boat (re)building

Not too much to report on from the Northwoods. The recent warm up may provide for some Early Season opportunity, but the preceding temps of -20 has locked up a lot of our water. when conditions have permitted, I’ve found a few trout.



The major portion of my “free” time has been spent on the restoration of another Lucius Canoe. Not sure when this one will see the water, but Lloyd and I are feeling more optimistic every day. This boat was badly damaged and misshapen. Every rib but one was broken along with a laundry list of other issues to numerous to list. Little by little, day by day……….




Before any work was done


The first rib installed


Nylon ratchet straps pulling the hull back into shape



Temporary forms to further fine tune the hull shape


the hull has taken shape


Stop by our Booth at the Badger Fly Fishers Spring Opener on February 13! Check the Fly by Night Guide Service Facebook page for show specials!

2016 in Review

First things first, I’d like to thank everyone who helped make 2016 another great year on the storied Brule!


Fishing in 2015:


All in all the Steelhead fishing was fair. It is obvious that we aren’t seeing the big runs that we got earlier in the 2000’s. Is it time to panic? I really don’t think so. The Brule has a run of all wild Steelhead, as with any natural, self sustaining population, there will be some ups and downs. With the exception of very few days, we managed to hook a couple of fish most every time out. Big quantities are great, and the numbers will go up again, but in the meanwhile, keep in mind that these are fish of great quality that have carved out their niche in the Brule and Lake Superior over more than the past century.  My observations, and the observations of others indicate we had exceptional fry survival this past summer! This bodes well for the future of our beloved Brule Steelhead! Until the numbers start bouncing back, return all fish as gently and with as much care as possible! Give these magnificent fish a chance, and they’ll bounce back.


Click here to view the 2015 Brule River Steelhead numbers

Upper Brule River Trout:

The Upper Brule was a bit more finicky this year than in years past. when the fishing turned on, it was as good as I’ve ever seen it, when it got tough, it got really tough. A very positive was the number of large Brook Trout. This is a trend I’ve been seeing for quite a few years, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I saw several Brook Trout over 15″ and even one that measured out at an honest 16″! It wasn’t that long ago that a Brookie of 12″ gave you considerable bragging rights!


Grouse and Woodcock Hunting:

The Woodcock Migration this fall was a little different than it’s been in the past. Warm Fall temperatures didn’t push the “Little Prince of the Woods” down until a little later in the Fall. Hunting was still good, but we didn’t see the biggest number of birds until late October. There were still really good numbers of Timberdoodles around well past the close of their season, which is something I’m not used to seeing. Grouse numbers appear to be comparable to last season, flushing between 2 and 4 birds per hour, depending where we were. The addition of another dog this fall was a lot of fun! Casper made amazing progress (and continues to). Woof was his usual self and pointed a ton of birds this Fall for a lot of folks!

Casper on Point

Looking ahead to 2016:

In 2016 I will be offering a limited number of Upper River Floats in a Joe Lucius Canoe. This is the quintessential Brule River Guide Boat! Built on the Banks of the Brule 105 years ago, it was brought back to life this past year by Stub Swenson, at Swenson’s Boat Shed. Stub is a master at his craft and it was great fun watching, learning and even “helping” along the way.

Lucius Canoe

Again, Id like to thank everyone for a great 2015!












Fall is here and things are getting BUSY!

Fishing has been up and down on the Upper River. Lots of wind has made for tough casting, and tough boat handling. We are still getting some nice Brookies and some good Browns


Grouse and Woodcock numbers look good and there have been some positive reports from steelheaders on the lower river!

Not that I do a great job of keeping up on this, but it gets even more difficult over the next 2 months. Check out our Facebook Page for more timely information. 12003252_10201078513163057_1684923105975140287_n

Fall Colors


The Lucius Canoe is hitting the water this week! Stay tuned for a chance to take a trip down the Brule in this 105 year old boat!


Some things just don’t change.

The weather this spring has been horrible! and this past week has been no exception. Despite bad weather, the fishing has been a pleasant surprise. The number of Brook Trout over a foot long has been remarkable this past week and we have seen good numbers of very respectable Browns up to about 17″. If this is a precursor of things to come, it’s going to be a great season on the Upper Brule.


The Hendrickson hatch has yet to get going, a bug here and there, but no real hatch. As soon as this weather straightens out, it’s going to bust loose!

A couple of things worth noting: After spending the past week on the water, in rain, wind and cold, The SIMMS Pac-Lite rain pants really exceeded my expectations for a light weight rain pant. Dry as a bone every day! The other new product that I’m thrilled with is the Rio Camo-lux full intermediate line. this line has preformed fantastically in still water applications. I wont fish Spring Ponds again without it!

We have a number of openings over the next couple of weeks, so if you can get away to take advantage of this great early season fishing, give us a shout!

Tough Sleddin’

The fact of the matter is; this has been about one of the roughest, toughest Aprils I have ever seen. In talking with others, some who have seen a lot more Aprils than I, they agree. When we were in our pre-runoff stage, the snow in the valley was up to your waist, now that it’s (mostly) gone, flows are such that you are taking your life in your hands stepping into the river. it has been hard to keep the faith this Spring.

The thing that keeps me holding on, is that the upper river (and general trout season) opens on Saturday. The thing about the Brule is that no matter how out of shape the lower river is, the river upstream always remains fishable. Not to say it always going to be great, but with Saturday comes a lot more options! Thank goodness.Falls

Here’s to options!

Spring Ponds

Spring Ponds are unique places, add that to the fact that no 2 are alike, and it gives you an opportunity to fish some very cool and challenging water. These little gems hidden in the North woods have long been a favorite of mine and really offer some tremendous fishing opportunities on mostly untouched waters. They vary in size from tiny little emerald green pockets in the forest to large multi-pond complexes. finding the right ones can lead to some tremendous back country fishing!

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