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!


Brule River Report 04-04-2016

So, after a little more than a week of open season, this is what I have for you:

Fishing started out pretty good (I was out of town, but have some solid sources), By mid week, rain and dropping temps slowed the bite some, but for those who braved the elements there were pay offs.

I initially thought this would be an early spring, but Mother Nature has seemed to do an about face. most day time highs for the next 10 days will be in the 30’s or 40′ and over night lows down into the 20’s and even a couple of teens in there.

We have been doing a combination of swinging and nymphing, with the swung fly proving to be more successful in the higher water. As water levels drop, look for the fish to be pushed back into the holes and nymphing to start picking up!

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Regardless of how you decide to fish for these wild, incredible fish, when you see them up on the gravel, please leave them be. Their spawning success insures these amazing fish to be there in the future! Regardless if you swing, nymph, centerpin or throw hardware for these guys, respect the fish and the resource! that’s the only really important thing!


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!




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!


Opening Day


This years Opener is going to look a lot different than lasts! The snow is gone, the river isn’t low, but its not high either. With no snow left in the woods, the spring melt is already behind us. We can expect good fishing conditions well in to the foreseeable future. Steelhead will be on  gravel soon, trying to produce future generations of Wild Brule River Steelhead!

A few things to consider this Spring when you’re out there chasing these magnificent fish:

Our Steelhead numbers have been down 2 of the past 3 seasons, the fishery is still in good shape, but we as anglers can do a few things to help it bounce back as quickly as possible.

Please quickly release all your Steelhead

If you see fish up in shallow water, on gravel, they are spawning! Please leave them alone to preform this right of Spring that insures generations of Steelhead to come!

Respect other fisherman, the landowners and the fish.

Good luck to all this season

Just Around the Corner

I hate to make predictions, but with the amount of snow we have right now (less than a foot), it doesn’t look like runoff is going to be the problem it was last year for our Spring Steelhead fishing. Boat projects are coming along nicely, but Im getting ready to go stand in a river!

Had a great time down at the Hawkeye Show this past weekend. It was great to hang out with some old friends and meet some new ones! Coming up, I will be doing a Steelhead class at the Superior Fly Angler on Saturday March 7th. Saturday March 21st we will be in DePere WI for the Tight Lines Open House. This is always a great event, if you’re In the area swtop by to meet some of the best guides, artists and tiers anywhere!

In the meanwhile, check out the video below of some Spring Brule River Steelhead action! Spring dates are filling up fast, give us a call to reserve your date!!!

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!

Up, Up and Away


With 14 inches of fresh snow, and at least a foot of dense heavy compacted snow already on the ground, I’m afraid the news isn’t good for the immediate future. The Brule is sitting at a flow of 328cfs as I write this, and is going to do nothing but climb in the near future. As soon as it starts dropping and temperatures start to climb……..look out! Its going to get good!

For those who dare to venture out, be careful! wading is treacherous and crossing the river is an extremely risky proposition!

The Waiting Game

The past few days have brought mixed results. Monday and Tuesday were very slow despite good conditions. Wednesday, however turned on! fishing was good, particularly in the afternoon.


Warm Temperatures and bright sun are expediting the melting process, and we are very near the end of our pre-runoff fishing. the USGS Flow Gauge is still reading “ICE”, but some info can still be obtained from the Gauge Height graph. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?04025500. At this point, all we can do is wait and see.


For the past 9 days we have had “pre-runoff” conditions. Low, clear and cold water, and the fishing had been good. Yesterday morning things looked a little different. There was a little color to the water. I thought that was really going to fire up the fish, but I was wrong. It was a tough day out there, only hooking one steelhead all day.

There is a TON of snow in the woods, and with warmer temperatures the past few days, and more coming, things are about to get tougher. With the amount of snow still in the woods (the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen this late in the season) I’m not really sure what to expect out of our spring runoff. Its just going to be wait and see. I think we have a day or 2 before things get really ugly, but maybe not.

I really am looking forward to the post runoff fishing. the fish get really grabby, and I think they’ll hang around well into May!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Here is an update from Luke Kavajecz. Check out his Blog at http://www.freshcoastangling.com/

After having been on the river through pretty much every snow storm last spring, I was stoked to fish yet another powder day on the river.  It was the first day on the river for me this year, and the fish were more than happy and seemed pretty grabby. All the usual spots produced fish, with nymphs being the top producer. Getting around required snow shoes, but the views of the river made it all worth it.  This great pre-runoff fishing probably isn’t going to last too long, but we should have a nice long season of steelhead fishing once the river comes down after it starts to let go of all that snow.





Up and Running

Opening day has come and gone. The river was low and clear and cold and covered with ice from Hiway FF down to the Big Pond. There were fish to be had though! Reports from around the river were spotty. Some nice browns were caught and also some steelhead. With highs in the 30’s for the bulk of the next 10 days runoff should be slow and some what controlled. The Ice dam should slow continue its down stream migration and “new” water should become available every day!  The only thing that I really know for sure, is that you wont catch any Steelhead sitting at home on the couch! go fishing!


If only it was this easy to get around this year!




Wing & Swing

In my opinion, there are few things in this world as satisfying as a successful day in the grouse woods, or getting a wild Brule River Steelhead to move to a swung fly. Their similarities are uncanny. Both are difficult to do, but when it happens the you are left feeling that something really special just happened. These pursuits are more about “fair chase” and the aesthetics of the respective sport, respect for the wonderful creatures we pursue, rather than just the numbers.1980681_220788628112902_1969520170_n

Early Opening Eve

This will be the first early season opener I will miss since its inception in Northern Wisconsin. With apologies to my fly fishing brethren, I have to admit, I’m kind of happy that temperatures more resemble the deep freeze of January rather than what is typical for March1st. I take comfort in the fact that if I have to miss it, this is the opener worth missing.

For those who do brave the weather, low and slow will be the name of the game. No matter how you slice it, success tomorrow will be determined by how many of your fingers you come home with as opposed to how many trout you catch. Have fun and be careful.

Looking ahead to the Brule Steelhead opener……..We have a lot of snow in the Brule Valley! There has got to be nearly 4 feet on the level. There are a lot of different ways this can play out in the next month, but the bottom line is this: We are going to have great water and great fishing for an extended period of time! Yes, there will be some rough spots when the melt gets going, but those are temporary.


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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