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10-25-03 - My first view of the famous Bois Brule River.
Dropping down onto a deep pool before the sun has hit the valley.
Simply GORGEOUS!
What can I say, late fall in Brule consisted of Greens, Whites and Golds.
All types of water were covered in the AM, speed wasn't as important as depth.
One of the many riffle sections on the Brule.
Brennon fishin' the Brule methodically; his inclusion in this picture gives you some reference of scale.
Brennon laying out one of many thousand casts we'd make over the weekend.
When Neil first saw this series of pictures, his first question was "Did you guys run into people who were catching fish?!"
My response was "Uh, YEAH". Neil's followup..."Well who's the guy in the red hat?" Then he realized HE was wearing a red hat!
Meanwhile Brennon gave up fishing with the fly rod and went bear-style.
If the bears can do it, so can Brennon.
Oh, maybe not, that's NEIL's steelie!
Neil and the largest steelhead of the two he landed on Saturday.
All of this happened in a manner of seconds and this steelie was returned to continue the journey.
Clouds kept pouring in during the day, and shortly before dusk the rain broke out.

10-25-03 - Finally MP makes it to the South Shore of Lake Superior for a bit of steelhead!

Waters Fished: Bois Brule River
Fish Caught: 2 Steelhead (by Neil)
Outing Date: 10-25-03
Weather: Sunny morning, moving to clouds most of the day, rain in the evening and snow at night!
Air Temp: Highs in the mid 40's
Water Temp: 41F
Water Level: low
Water Color: as clear as it gets
Fish Species: Steelhead, Resident Rainbows
Pattern Fished: Various eggs & nymphs, bait (spawn & waxworms)
Pattern Color: assorted naturals and neons
Fishing Quality: Neil says it's been a slow year all around.

So this trip has probably been in the works for 2 or 3 months! It all started a while back on FAT's board when Neil suggested that we make a trip up there to fish the Brule. Not sure if Brennon arrived as a new Minneapolis transplant before or after that fact, but they've gotten out at least a few times this season so far!

Well I decided to follow someone's advice; "Get Busy Livin' or Get Busy Dyin'" and the fall runs seemed like as good an excuse as any to become Mr. Road Trip. Let Chicago on Friday around 6:00 pm and made it to Brennon's new digs around 1:30 am...BTW Mapquest directions aren't always 100% clear or accurate ;)

Brennon being the generous host got me settled in to sleep off the drive, and we were back awake less than 3 hours later packing up the car at 4:30 am! How we got all of Brennon's gear out of the house in one trip is difficult to explain. How we fit it in my car is even a greater mystery!

And I'm back asleep...Brennon knew ahead of time I was making him drive, so he had at least a good 6-7 hours under his belt to finish the last leg of our journey. I probably got another 1.5 hours in by the time we hit Duluth / Superior, and by 7:00 am we were in Brule, WI.

Let me tell you it was gorgeous despite being late fall. We froze in the early morning; the cold damp air penetrating my 5 LAYERS of clothes along with my hat and gloves! The plan was simple, we'd gear up, fish a couple spots that Neil had mapped out, and somewhere around noonish he'd meet up with us for the remainder of the weekend.

Brennon and I dropped in via a steep but well-trodden path. Turns out we went the "wrong way" in that first section but that's OK, there was good water all around. Remembering Neil's advice, we did not skip the fast water.

By 10:30 AM we had covered a deep pool, a sharp bend, a long flat with tons of pockets and riffles and up to the next bend. We turned back and took a bit of a breather before moving downstream to our next mapped out spot.

We must have missed Neil by a half-hour or so; he came up on us and we all proceeded to fish. Not much else to say except it was great to finally have the group all together.

We spent much of the afternoon moving around the river, putting in hikes between holes to warm up. Mid-afternoon we finally started to see some action; while Brennon and Neil were up around a bend they landed the first steelhead of the trip, a 15" skipjack. Sorry, no pics, this was a quick C & R trip, Catch Photo Release would only happen if I was in the area. For the remainder of the trip I tried to stay within sight of Neil ;)

And well it paid off! Not too long after the first fish Neil sent me to work some fast deep water. Let me tell you, I WORKED IT. I hit every single pocket and drift the run probably 30-40 times. I had been through the Tucker Nypmh and MANY various egg-type patterns without so much as a hit.

Neil walked over and we kinda traded spaces...I went to swinging a Green Butt Skunk Spey in the far bend of a deeper turn, and Neil took over the fast water. Ever so casually he just kinda said "I've got one" and Brennon and I quickly moved into position.

Out came the camera to document the battle...I wanted to be sure we had PLENTY of evidence! Brennon went in for the tailing, and after a couple tries got his hands on a gorgeous chrome steelhead. Neil had induced a strike on a spawn/yarn fly combo. A quick removal of the hook followed by the picture and this steelhead was back in the drink...almost NO revival time required as the fish bolted back into the pool.

The remainder of our trip was uneventful...well..sort of. We moved upstream to check another area. It was about a 1/3 mile hike back to our starting point, and well somewhere along the way I noticed that my rod tip was looking funny...on closer examination I learned that once again, my wonderful Alaskan Rod Crafter's 5 pc. 7 wt. was broken! Talk about being depressed and feeling rather dejected. Going all day so far without a hit, and now I've apparently broken my favorite rod for the 2nd time?! The strangest part was WHERE the rod broke, immediately between the two feet of the upper 2nd or 3rd guide (I'd have to go look at the rod again to tell you which one). Not a shatter or a splinter, but a pretty clean BREAK, almost like someone sawed it apart. Everyone who saw it thought it was a really unusual place to break a rod.

So while Neil and Brennon continued on, I had to hike back to the car and rig up my backup 6 wt., which is basically a Bass Pro Hobb's Creek outfit uplined with SA DT floating...same concept as my beloved 7' 4wt. but for some reason the setup didn't work as well in the 9' 6wt. In fact I pretty much can't stand using the rod and only keep it around for friends who'd like to join me but don't own fly gear.

I hike back in, which involves getting wet...and up until this point I haven't mentioned that somehow not one, but BOTH of the feet in my waders are now leaking. I stood around as long as I could with 40F water slowly creeping into my feet. Meanwhile Neil manages a hit from a resident rainbow; as he would explain later they are easy to tell apart from smolts. Smolts keep their parr markings whereas a resident rainbow of the same size already has the red lateral stripe.

No major "accumulation" of water occurs in the waders...it's not like I can pour out a gallon or something, it's just enough water to keep my feet frozen. At one point during all this I got my first hit of the day...some little unidentified 2" fish came up and hit a small #12 Olive Caddis pattern. He missed it but then hit it again on the next pass. Never landed the fish so I couldn't tell ya if it was a chub, shiner, dace, minnow, tiny trout, crayfish...

After feeling nothing but PAIN for an hour or so, I decided to head back up...I needed the hike to warm up. The hike got my feet warm just fine. By the time I was back I was starting to cheer up a bit.

Alright, as Neil put it, he took the water temperature. Based on what he found, he "Caved and went to bait" very early in the day. I've been holding onto this interested product I found while helping the girls get their licenses a few weeks back; Mr. Twister "Exude Eggs". A soft plastic translucent orange egg which is designed to release scent in the water. Thought it might make the ultimate egg fly. However, my fly gear is now out of commission overall (My backup rods are well, rods I don't enjoy fishing, and my favorite rods are all in need of repair...if you haven't figured it out already I am TOUGH on equipment).

But I do have my spinning rod. I also have a Drennan Float. Oh, I have splitshot too (supposedly zinc based to be less detrimental to the environment). Wait, do I have hooks? Yeah, I do...I brought my fly tying hooks up with me. So I spend more time rigging up a float setup for my 9'6" "Harbor Rod" and proceed to float single Mr. Twister Eggs through a deep pocket of fast water close to our parking spot.

No hits, well, actually maybe one but I'd be really hard pressed to give my word that it was a hit. Just watched my float jiggle violently and hold stationary, then move slightly upstream, and by the time I tried to set the hook there was NOTHING on the other end. No rock, no fish, nothing.

The rain came and brought Brennon and Neil back upstream...it's absolutely no fun to be out in the rain in 40F air. We packed it up and headed out.

Ordinarily this would end the day's report, but there's more to tell. You see, after Brennon, Neil and I planned this trip I found out that some WFF Board Members had planned a mini-clave at the Brule on this very weekend. I had let people know we'd be up and what to look for.

We stopped at the Brule River Motel to check in (thanks Brennon for making the reservation) and first ran into Joseph (BLUEWINGOLIVE on WFF) from the One More Cast Fly Shop in IL. Very generous guy, right off the bat he offered up a couple beers which were SLAMMED in minutes...it was the first food or drink I had since 6:30 AM back in Superior, WI!

So while Brennon was checking the rest of us chatted; I remarked rather jokingly about how Joseph had posted to WFF that he was the mobile fly shop for the weekend. I asked if he happened to have a 7wt. 9ft. fast-action rod. I wasn't expecting anything, but Joseph said, "Actually, I have a 9'6" 7wt." Talk about being PREPARED for anything. He's got the beer AND precisely the spare rod I would need!

Joseph joined us for dinner where we also ran into Samantha (WFF) and her buddy Thomas who came in from the East Coast just for this trip! We dined on some great food, Joseph and I both having a 2 Pork Chop special...man talk about the juiciest pork chops I've ever had. WE ALL thoroughly enjoyed our meals that evening, and it didn't have anything to do with the fact that we hadn't eaten all day. I could be stuffed full and would STILL eat 4 more of those chops! Sorry Folks, but I don't remember the name of the place...it's the one next to the BRM.

Of course evening came 'round and we headed back to the room. Joseph was just going to tie by himself...absolute rubbish Joseph, you'll join us in our room 'cause we're tying too! He probably whipped out 8-10 Green Butt Skunks while I tied up about 6 Tucker Nymphs in my half-in-the-bag state. A great evening was had by all and the worst part, I think none of us were awake by 10:30! A day of hiking and casting combined with a few beers is going to put you to sleep really quick!

  MP 

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