The Upper Brule has fished wonderfully this season, and with a little more than a month to go it will continue to. The Maples of the Brule Valley are starting to turn red and it is becoming apparent that its time to start looking forward to the next chapter. Grouse, Woodcock and Steelhead are merely days away at this point. My schedule from here on out is about full, with a couple of days available this month and a couple more in November. If You’d like to be notified of cancelations, Please email me with the word “Cancelation” in the subject line.
Speaking of change, I guess now is as good a time as any to announce that after the 2017 season, I will be dissolving the guide service. I cant ever see myself ever totally walking away from it, but as of now I don’t intend on doing more than a handful of trips in a season.
I cannot thank enough all of you that I’ve had the pleasure of guiding for, and for all the other guides, shops and friends that have been so incredibly supportive! It’s hard to find the words!
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.
The Night bite is in full swing! Brook and Browns alike are hunting mice, and this should only get better as more migratory fish enter the river each day that goes by! Tricos are also in full swing. This can be some very fun dry fly fishing during a wonderful time of day!
It has been an interesting couple of weeks since my last post. The weather cant make up its mind as to what it wants to do. I don’t think weve had more than one day in a row of the same weather. This has seemed to keep the fish “uncomfortable” and has been brutal on the hatches. The good news: It looks like things are going to straighten out and warm up soon! brown Drakes have been showing up sporadically and are on the brink of really letting loose! Hex cant be far of either. we have a few openings over the next couple of weeks, give us a call to take advantage of our best dry fly fishing of the year!
This past week has been a pretty good one! Steelhead, Brook Trout, Brown Trout. Hendricksons are rolling, the lower river has finally dropped to the point where its fishable and the fish are cooperative. for the next week to 10 days, opportunities to get a steelhead on a swung fly should be great! The upper river will continue to fish well, with more good hatches coming as the weather warms up!
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!
My last several fishing reports have been far from enthusiastic. That’s changing! With the lower Brule running very high and for all intents and purposes, unfishable, the regular opener couldn’t have come sooner. It was worth the wait!
For the first time in years, I did not fish the Upper Brule on this hallowed day, but chose to explore some water that has been on my list for a while. I’m glad we did. Brook Trout were cooperative, and the size of some of the fish were amazing.
Over the past couple of seasons we have seen some of the largest wild, native, Brook Trout since I’ve been fishing the waters of Northern Wisconsin. to put it simply, it’s never been better in my lifetime, and from todays results, 2014 looks like it’s going to follow suit!
Yes, we are going to get more snow. Yes, it’s already tough getting around in the valley. Yes, the water is cold, and yes a significant portion of the river still has ice on it. With all of that working against Steelheaders, there is still good news, fish are being caught. with a little determination and the right attitude there are fish to be had, and its going to do nothing but get better in the coming weeks. The one thing I can say with certainty, is you wont catch a steelhead sitting at home! If you choose to sit home, at least you can watch some being caught…………
Sorry there’s not much new to report, as of late Thursday, the ice has not progressed past the FF Bridge. This doesn’t mean it wont happen in time for the opener, when it goes, it goes fast!
As for the water that is open: Little Black Stonefly Nymphs with an egg dropper would be a good place to start. as the day warms and the river starts getting a little color, go bigger. Even though conditions won’t be the greatest tomorrow, there will still be plenty of fun to be had. Grab some Brats or burgers and a little gas grill and just enjoy the day for what it is: The first day we can fish our beloved Brule River in 2014! good luck out there!
Looks like the Ice is off the river to just above hwy FF. relatively warm weather and sun should keep the river opening up everyday. There will no doubt be areas covered with ice on Saturday, but there’s quite a bit open now, and more progress every day!
Here we are one week from the 2014 Brule River Opener and I’m afraid that this report is not the most encouraging one I have ever posted. Expect lots of snow in the Valley, and lots of ice on the river. Snowshoes may be on the list of required gear this year!
3 1/2 feet of snow in the Brule Valley! 3/21
The River at Co-op Park Bridge on 3-21
The news is not all bad though! We may have a delayed start to the season, but this year, Steelhead should be around until at least the middle of May.
2013 started out COLD, then stayed that way for a long time. Record snow falls in April made for challenging conditions, but for those who braved the elements there were rewards!
The upside to the high water and frigid conditions was that we found good numbers of Steelhead right up to Memorial day, and that would have continued had it not been for a huge rain event that made the river unfishable for the next week.
The Regular trout opener in May brought more of the same cold and snow, again with an upside.
With cold temperatures and fresh snow, opening day was a tough one, but by Sunday temperatures started to rise, along with some very nice Browns and Brookies to Hendricksons. 2013 was one of the best Hendrickson years in memory, with the hatch lasting well into the 3rd week of May.
The Brown Drake hatch was incredible, with high water, cool temps and a lot of overcast days, we saw daytime hatches and spinner falls with regularity. The Hex hatch proved to be somewhat spotty, but lasted forever. we saw the giant Mayflies into the 3rd week of July.
Mousing was on par for what it has been, with no giant fish taken this year, but very good numbers of fish in the 15 to 18 inch range and a few bigger.
The Brule’s brook trout population seems to be doing well. A lot of Brule fisherman (including myself) say that the number and size of Brook Trout is better that it has been in their memory!
The Fall runs of Steelhead and Browns seemed pretty good. fish were caught very consistently throughout September, October and November, both nymphing and on swung flies.
Lastly, The Grouse hunting was a pleasant surprise! With the afore mentioned late, wet Spring coupled with decreased Spring drumming counts, I was really expecting a tough go for grouse. To my surprise, the hunting was actually pretty good, with flush rates of 3 to 4 grouse per hour consistently throughout the season!
Woodcock flight were fantastic as usual, with mornings of 30 flushes not uncommon. I really don’t know how you could want, or expect to have better woodcock hunting anywhere!
I’d like to thank ALL of you who used our services in 2013, and am looking forward to a great 2014
It’s been a great fall in the Brule Valley! with temperatures dropping, look for steelhead in the slower deeper parts of pools, also expect fishing to be better in the afternoons as water temps reach their peak for the day.
Woodcock hunting was good, with lots of opportunities and the grouse hunting has been much better then anticipated, with flush rates around 3 birds per hour!
Even with all the high water, fishing has been very good. There are still reports of some steelhead around, and the resident trout fishing has been great! There are actually a few Hendricksons showing up in the afternoons.
Opening Morning we were greeted by several inches of snow on the docks, freezing rain, sleet and just about any other form of precipitation you can imagine. As the week went on, and the weather improved (marginally), the fishing has steadily picked up. the warmer days have brought hatches of Hendricksons and Blue Winged Olives. The fish have been receptive. Its great to be back in a canoe fishing the Brule!
The river seems to be holding its own, even after 20″ of new snow! It’s going to be interesting to see what happens once it warms up. I would expect water clarity to decrease and flows increase as the sun starts working on that snow.