North Shore Coasters
Last fall, I caught a number of nice brook trout that may have been my first North Shore "coasters." I wasn't sure if these were the fabled lake run fish or just robust specimens of their stream dwelling cousins. I have no doubt in my mind that I caught multiple bona fide coasters last weekend. I landed twenty brook trout ranging from 10 inches to over 20 inches on multiple rivers all within 200 hundred of Lake Superior. I find it hard to believe that the fish I caught are the same as the "brookies" that inhabit the upper reaches of these streams. I don't doubt that a large "brookie" or two inhabit the lower streches of these rivers, but I find it hard to believe that I would be lucky enough to catch five fish pushing the magical 20" mark in less than 24 hours on 3 separate rivers if there wasn't a lake run going on.
I was thrilled to find these fish in such abundance in these streams. These fish could represent the beginning of comeback in coasters. I have fallen in love with these fish, whose colors match the colors of the leaves and sky that surround the rivers they call home each September.
The possibility that their numbers are increasing erases any concern that Minnesota has stopped stocking chinooks. Who wants to catch ugly kings when you can catch beautiful native fish like these? Of course I am kidding a little, because I myself love a good old tug of war with a king, but one has to remember that the SE Wisconsin tribs are just as close to the Twin Cities as some of the upper North Shore rivers. Fishing the North Shore is about so much more than reel screeming fights.
I used typical pink salmon tackle to target these fish: a five weight fly rod, floating line, a 4 lbs. tippet, and either egg paterns, beadhead nymphs, or streamers. The coasters respond to a more active retrieve than pinks who seem to prefer a dead drift or occaisonaly, a subtle twitch.