Fall Run Considerations

I realize that this is Minnesota Steelheader, but so many of us fish all over the North & South Shore that I thought I'd include it. Sorry it's so tardy...

When you look at a "normal" Spring Run profile, basically you are looking at a specific time period when the fish follow a bell-curve as they return to a given tributary. The numbers start slowly, build to a peak, then decrease. The total population of fish in the river also follows that same curve although some fish may stay in the river as long as 60 days before emigrating back to the lake.

However, when looking at fall run fish, particularly ones that winter over in a stream like the Brule, you have to look at things a bit differently.

The run itself follows the same sort of bell-curve with respect to returning fish, but total population does not decrease over time. That is to say, emigrating fish do not offset numbers of fish entering the river like they do in spring. Rather, the total population continues to increase over time because the fish stay in the river for the winter.

The main concept to understand here is that while the "peak" of any given spring run normally has the greatest number of fish returning as well as the highest total river population to target in a given trib (& your success will probably be greater as well), this is not true for the Brule in fall.

In fall, the return peak does consist of the greatest numbers of returning fish, but the total population DURING the peak is roughly only 20 percent of the total population that will be available later in the run.

So, while fishing during the run peak is normally a good idea, often times it pays to wait a while on the Fall Brule. Note the total population curve vs. the run timing shown below:



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