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Showing posts from 2012

Share your 2012 highlights - send us your pics!

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2012 was an an interesting year along the North Shore of Lake Superior.  We had one of the earliest spring Steelhead runs most have ever encountered.  The 100 year flood changed many of the rivers creating new bends, washed out gravel beds, destroyed overpasses and culverts, yet we witnessed first hand on the upper Sucker River, our adopted river, that young rainbows are still thriving.

The fall salmon run was not real exciting due to the lack of precipitation and stream flow.  In fact those that traveled past the Stewart River this fall saw a sandbar that completely closed off  Pink Salmon migration.  In spit of the fall conditions, there were still Salmon to be had if one was willing to search.

All-in-all it was still an enjoyable year and a rather successful one for MS. Our staff had some great trips on the water, some nice fish caught too.  We had a great turnout at our fall clean up, a full class at our fall Salmon clinic, some press notice from the Lake Superior Magazine as wel…

MN DNR News Release

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DNR commissioner appoints new Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee(Released December 27, 2012)

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Tom Landwehr appointed 15 members on Dec. 19 to a new statewide Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee.

According to the DNR, aquatic invasive species is one of the most important natural resource issues for Minnesota. Preventing the spread of zebra mussels, Asian carp and Eurasian watermilfoil (as well as other invasive plants and animals) in lakes and streams is critical, along with effective control of established invasive populations.
The committee was created to help the DNR maintain strong relationships with AIS stakeholders and use their advice and recommendations to help guide the department’s activities.

Appointed to three-year terms for 2013-2015 are: John M. Barten, Plymouth; Gary Botzek, Roseville; Jerry Byron, Waseca; Pat Conzemius, Brooklyn Center; Rachael Crabb, Minneapolis; Jeff Forester, Minneapolis; J…

DNR seeks initial comments on trout, sturgeon, flathead angling and other fisheries rules

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(Released December 27, 2012)- MN DNR

Interested citizens have until Monday, Feb. 11, to comment on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) plans to provide more angler opportunity for trout and sturgeon, and protect flathead catfish during winter and to make changes to some other fisheries rules. For trout, DNR is considering rules that: Simplify trout fishing regulations in southeastern Minnesota by dropping the barbless hook restriction; research has demonstrated that hooking mortality is not significantly greater with a barb.Extend the end of the fall catch-and-release season on all designated trout streams in southeastern Minnesota from Sept. 30 to Oct. 15. Allow catch-and-release angling on designated trout streams in some southeastern Minnesota state parks from Oct. 15 to Dec. 31.Open some lakes in Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard counties to winter trout fishing. Prompted by successful recovery efforts of the sturgeon populations in the Red, Rainy, St. Croi…

Adopt-A-River Cleanup

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A big thank you to all those who helped this past weekend with our Adopt-A-River Cleanup along the Sucker River, it is looking good - cleanliness wise.

Out efforts Saturday morning removed approximately 50 pounds of trash, less than half of what we removed last year.  We attribute this reduction in junk primarily on our efforts getting the trash barrels removed from the parking lot, as well as other locations up and down the shore.

Last year we had determined that the trash barrels that have been placed witin the parking lot were actually part of the problem.  Hard to believe right?  They are suppose to collect trash making the area a cleaner place.  Wrong.  What they did is collect visitors trash in recepticles that must have looked like salad bowls to or furry friends.  Visitors were dumping household waste, camping trash, and a whole boatload of beverage containers.  Our thought is that wilderness areas, such as the Sucker river, are not ideal locations for state and county agenc…

Beer For Wildlife - Good for Steelhead too!

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For most of our staff, and probably plenty of you, pheasant hunting is a big part of fall outdoor adventures. For some it might be simply a weekend hunt with friends and/or family, for others it is a weekly passion throughout the entire season. For the fly tyers out there it means fresh new materials for tying next springs nymph and wet fly patterns. For one Jason Markkula, it means Beer.

Jason Markkula is the owner and brewmaster for the Bank Brewing Company. You can find out all about him and the company HERE.  You can also find them on facebook. We won't go into the details of Jason or the company on this post, but we will tell you that he had started a pretty neat program a few years back called "Beer For Wildlife", a foundation of sorts that donates beer sales profits back to restore habitat.  Now we can all say cheers to that!

Pictured here is the 2012 label for Bank Brewing's acclaimed Rooster Lager, one of the beers associated with the Beer For Wildlife prog…

2012 Fall Streamside Clinic is set

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We have finally set the date for the 2012  fall Streamside Clinic.  This year it will also coincide with our annual Adopt-a-River cleanup along the banks of the Sucker River.









Date: September 29th: Cleanup Location: Sucker River parking lot. Time - clean up: start between 9:30-10:00am Clinic Location: Mid Shore River TBD Time-clinic:  after clean up - approx.11:30am Limited Attendance -contact - get on the list
The Clinic:
We spend 30 - 45 minutes or so having a streamside discussion about pink salmon, their life cycle, why they have been relatively successful in the Superior environment compared to other Pacific Salmon, and how this relates to the North Shore steelhead fishery. There's a little mix of biology, geology and limnology thrown in.

Since there are lots of similarities with regards to the areas the pinks key on, rigging, presentations etc., learning to catch them teaches you a lot about how to catch steelhead. We also talk about the importance of fall scouting and how fishi…

DNR Goes the Extra Mile

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Greetings all!

We recently received something really special from Matt Ward at the DNR which deserves recognition and attention. Matt was previously the Anadromous Specialist for the Duluth Area Fisheries Office, but now serves as Large Lake Specialist for Leech Lake out of Walker. For all the angst over various issues the public has with the DNR, the incredible work individuals like Matt do on a day to day basis too often gets lost in the kerfluffel...

Here's an exerpt from Matt's message to us: "I was previously the anadromous specialist for the MNDNR over on Superior and now am on Leech Lake... I crunched all of the numbers on our spring creel data of anglers that caught steelhead and summarized it in hopes that more people would be successful and enjoy the fishery."

This poster will be presented at the American Fisheries Society meeting in the Twin Cities next week. I think the last line in Matt's message and the fact he sent this to us to present to You, the…

Looking for Help

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So I'm working on compiling the rest of the 2012 run numbers as well as putting together some historical context, and a couple things come to mind.

First I'd like to offer a GIGANTIC Thank You to the folks in the Minnesota DNR Duluth Fisheries Section: People like Deserae Hendrickson, Don Schreiner, the creel clerks and many, many others provide us with so much incredible information not to mention doing boots-on-the-ground work that all too often goes un-mentioned, un-thanked or flat out un-noticed - So Thank You! We couldn't provide the wonderful information we do to the followers of Minnesota Steelheader without that great work.

Did you know for example that, "The Minnesota DNR Duluth Fisheries Area manages 349 lakes, 473 miles of trout stream, and 157 miles of river, including the St. Louis River Estuary. Management efforts provide diverse fishing opportunities with urban trout fishing, scenic settings for trout anglers, andromous fish runs, and pristine northern…

2012 Spring Creel Final

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2012 Spring Creel Final Numbers along with Trap numbers through 05.14.2012. We'll still see a few fish here and there on the Upper Shore with rain, but temps are getting awefully high so I'm not sure how long that will last. Not many people out fishing anymore so it's hard to say what numbers are truly like; the US numbers in particular. Unknown if the Traps are now closed as well...

Regards-
NMF

Post Season Happy Hour / Meet & Greet - MAY 22

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The Crew at Minnesota Steelheader is hosting a happy hour / Meet & Greet next week, Tuesday, May 22 at 5pm, for any steelhead enthusiasts that are interested.
The Location this time around is going to be in the heart of St. Paul.  You will have to go to our facebook "EVENTS" page to get the details though.  We have learned long ago not to post specifics on our blog.... weird stuff always seems to follow.

This is open to anyone, novices and veterans alike, who are interested in meeting fellow steelheaders, the people behind the website as well as share stories, tips and other fishy things with fellow anglers.  No formalities here, just like minded anglers with an opportunity to meet eachother off the water with a favorite beverage.

Click HERE to head to our facebook page

Where was everybody?

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This time of year on the North Shore often feels like a ghost town when it comes to spotting fellow steelheaders.  Over the years I have found that once the Month of May hits anglers simply are not out like they are during the first April push of fish, or in this crazy spring - March push.  Still trying to figure this out.  Maybe people are discouraged from the news of poor creel reports or the perceived lack of water.  Based on experience and following flow and run charts, yes the same charts we link and post here, this time of year can be a steelheader's dream.
Maybe anglers think steelhead are like the smelt run,  within a few days it is done.  This is so far from the truth!  If fact, if the weather pattern stays the same along the North Shore this spring, I bet a few fish will still be around Memorial weekend.  That is well over 2 months of steelhead action!  Sure they are harder to find than standing in the lagoon on the Sucker River during the 2nd week in April, but fishing …

Steelhead - Identified by the adipose fin

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The North Shore Steelhead / Kamlops / Rainbow Trout regulations can be a bit confusing to some. Let's sum it up...

Recently we were asked out on the water about what you can and can't keep with regards to all North Shore Rainbow Trout strains.  In a nut shell, if is has an adipose fine, as illustrated here, it must be immediately returned to the river as these fish are our steelhead.  Even if you find one with a tag, as long as there is an adipose fin it must be released.  If this fin has been removed by the DNR, and obviously healed, you have a fish that is keepable. Read through the regulations though as there are size/bag limits that you must be aware of.

05.05.2012 Creel & Trap Analysis

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Updated Trap & Creel Numbers as of 05.05.2012 Don't get confused... We switched gears on you here recently. Early in the run it's useful/helpful to track the daily data so as to get a feel for what the fish are doing real-time. Later on in the run we switch to primarily a weekly format which gives you a better sense of where the runs are actually at in terms of timing: Start, Peak and Winding Down.
Note the strong correlation between numbers of fish caught and flows once the temps maintained above the magic 40°F mark. Lower Shore was a bit odd, but only in that flows were a dud throughout most of the normal run period. Things were actually starting to wind down when they got that last bump. Fish came in no doubt, but the numbers were lower than had the flow increase occured during Week 14. 
Keep in mind also that the creel numbers are based on interviewing people actually fishing. Right now it looks like Mid and Upper Shore numbers are winding down but it's a bit dece…

Sucker River Clean Up - Postponed due to cleanliness

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Hard to believe we would ever have to postpone a River clean up due to cleanliness... but it is true!

After a survey of the lower stretches along the banks of the Sucker River last weekend, our crew of 3 staff members discovered, a lack of trash.  In fact, a walk down to the lake produced only one single pop can and a small plastic bag. That is it! 

After reviewing the 2012 clean up campaign we felt it would be better if our group efforts were utilized more thoroughly.  The idea of  a dozen people making the drive, several from the cities, with not much to collect, just didn't seem like a good use of voluneet time.  So, we have decided to postponed the clean up date until the fall salmon run, tying it in with our annual streamside salmon & trout fishing clinic. Letting the spring and summer tourist season pass will maximize a larger collection of trash and just in time to beat the winter snow pack.

Having said all that, there will still be a few of us activly picking up tras…

2012 Creel Analysis

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And some creel analysis... Still good steelheading to be had!

Regards-
NMF

2012 Preliminary Trap/Run Analysis

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Had a chance to do some initial analysis of the Lower Shore Combined Trap Numbers (Knife and French) and the result is shown above. Keep in mind the temperatures are adjusted by a factor of Ten so the relationships can be seen better against the high flow and fish numbers. There are still fish to be had on the Lower Shore, so get out after 'em!

Regards-
NMF

04.23.2012 Updated Creel Numbers

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Despite Good Flows, Cold Water Dampens Fishing

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Interesting Article by Sam Cook of the Duluth News Tribune. Very instructive with regards to temperature/flow interactions.
Regards-
NMF

04.12.2012 Updated Creel Numbers

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Latest creel information as of 04.12.2012

Minnesota DNR trucks Knife River steelhead past waterfalls

In an unprecedented move because of low water levels, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fisheries officials on Friday began transporting steelhead from the Knife River fish trap upstream past the Second Falls on the Knife River to assist the fish on their spawning migrations. The fish are being transported about 5½ miles in tanks on trucks.

By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune

Read the article - click here.

Fishing Report: 4-6-12

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Between 04/02 and 04/05, cold nights resulted in morning water temperatures of about 38 degrees, warming to the mid to upper 40s by the afternoon along the Lower Shore.Interviewed anglers caught 9 Kamloops and 4 steelhead.The lack of precipitation has kept rivers running low and clear.Anglers are seeing many fish in the rivers but most report slow fishing.
Along the Middle Shore, morning water temperatures were in the mid to upper 30s while afternoon temperatures reached the mid 40s.Water levels were falling and becoming increasingly clear.Interviewed anglers caught 6 steelhead, 1 Kamloops, and 1 brook trout.

Along the Upper Shore, flows in the smaller streams dropped considerably, but the larger rivers maintained reasonable flows throughout the week.Clear water conditions now prevail in both large and small tributaries.Upper Shore water temperatures rose quickly within the past few days, reaching the mid to upper 40s in the afternoons.Fish were observed jumping falls with the warming w…

Latest Creel Stats

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Here's the latest Shorewide Creel information. Regards- NMF

Fishing Report - 4-2-12

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Between 03/30 and 04/01, cool weather conditions resulted in cold water temperatures and reportedly tough fishing conditions.
Water temperatures along the Lower Shore were approximately 38 degrees with all rivers running low and clear. Interviewed anglers reported generally slow fishing, but caught 25 Kamloops, 10 steelhead, 5 coho salmon, 1 brook trout, and 1 brown trout.
Along the Middle Shore, stream temperatures were between 33 and 39 degrees with water levels dropping and also running fairly clear. Interviewed anglers caught 7 steelhead, 4 Kamloops, 2 brook trout, and 1 northern pike.
Along the Upper Shore water temperatures were in the mid 30s and rose to only 40 degrees on Sunday afternoon. Despite some light precipitation, water levels were falling but not running as clear as streams farther down the shore. Overall fishing pressure was fairly light and interviewed anglers caught 5 steelhead and 1 Kamloops.
Trap totals through April 1stare 99 steelhead and 6 Kamloops at the Kni…

2012 Lower Shore Spring Trap Summary

DATE: 05/13/2012Knife River Flow: 19cfsSucker River Temp: 57.45°FKnife RiverSteelheadKamloopsUnclipped ClippedNumber Captured91Total Captured30220DATE: 05/13/2012Sucker River Flow: 10cfsSucker River Temp: 57.45°FFrench RiverSteelheadKamloopsUnclipped ClippedNumber Captured00Total Captured1171240DATE: 05/10/2012Knife River Flow: 29cfsSucker River Temp: 55.85°FKnife RiverSteelheadKamloopsUnclipped ClippedNumber Captured100Total Captured29319DATE: 05/10/2012Sucker River Flow: 16cfsSucker River Temp: 55.85°FFrench RiverSteelheadKamloopsUnclipped ClippedNumber Captured122Total Captured1171240DATE: 05/06/2012Knife River Flow: 45cfsSucker River Temp: 48.34°FKnife RiverSteelheadKamloopsUnclipped ClippedNumber Captured30Total Captured28319DATE: 05/06/2012Sucker River Flow: 24cfsSucker River Temp: 48.34°FFrench RiverSteelheadKamloopsUnclipped ClippedNumber Captured928Total Captured1161218DATE: 05/03/2012Knife River Flow: 60cfsSucker River Temp: 57.49°FKnife RiverSteelheadKamloopsUnclipped Clipp…

03.30.2012 Shorewide Temp, Flow & Creel Update

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As of 03.30.2012Regards-

Go!

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Here's the latest information coming from the Lower Shore including revised Creel numbers. Unfortunately flows are tanking as the last of the melt leaves the system. The Knife was at 85cfs and the Sucker was 43cfs. Hopefully we'll get rain soon!

Regards-
NMF

Get Set...

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Now that the Lower Shore tribs are becoming ice-free and snowmelt is working it's way out of the system, it's time to take a close look at temps .
I finally had a little time to analyze the latest data from three Lower Shore index streams and here's where it stands:

We're still on the low side of the temperatures required to initiate the first big push of steelhead and kamloops, but we're getting close. If the weather holds and/or we get some warm rain, things will happen fast.

Once the high and average temps reach their counterpart thresholds depicted, we should see the first big numbers showing up in the tribs. That's not to say we don't have fish around already. Kamloops in particular have a slightly lower threshold than the steelhead but for all practical purposes the above thresholds depicted work for both.

Be intersesting to see how the next week or so plays out....
Regards-
NMF

Holy Rapid Warmup Batman!

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I was talking to a fishing acquaintance the other day about the rapid warm-up and the only word we could come up with for what's happening was, "Shocking."

Here is a series over the last 10 days from MODIS imagery showing you just how fast we lost the snowpack on the Shore (Click the first to pull up all images, then scroll through):





My personal favorite is #4 down from the top. Looks like one of the Field Staff was up in his "office" with a couple others - Note the contrails... The other shockers were the stream temps I saw yesterday:Keep in mind that it was March 19th and these were temps from an Upper Shore trib. That blew me away. With much of the melt now on its way out of the system, we are going to need rain. Looks like some potential in the forecast and if it stays warm, things are going to speed up even more.Regards-NMF