Monday, March 26, 2012


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!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Get Set...

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....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Holy Rapid Warmup Batman!

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.



Monday, March 19, 2012

Fishing Report: 3-19-12

The North Shore Rivers have started flowing but don't get to excited as there  is still plenty of ice. Water temperatures are in the low 30s. Anglers are primarily fishing near the river mouths for Kamloops.  Stay tuned, we anticipate that some action may come sooner than expected this year.  As always the weather plays a huge factor in the timing of the steelhead run.

Though several anglers are excited and eager to get out this weekend, our guess at this point is it will not be a prime weekend for catching fish in the rivers.

Great article by Sam Cook

With the steelhead season rapidly approaching, so too come the seasonal flood of articles, stories and reports on our fishery.  This past Sunday was no exception, in particular, an article from Sam Cook of the Duluth News Tribune.

If you are not familiar with Sam Cook, he is a seasoned outdoor writer having written countless articles over the years regarding our North Shore steelhead fishery.  The article is a great read for those who want to get a quick grasp on the current state of the Kamloops and Steelhead fishery, as well as the French River hatchery.

here is a link to his article:

Photo: Greg the steelhead guide - ©MinnesotaSteelheader

Sunday, March 11, 2012

On Your Marks...

What a difference a couple days can make!

With the influx of recent warm weather suddenly the male chickadees, cardinals and jays are all singing their spring songs and setting up territories. Geese are looking for nesting ponds and the local toms are strutting like mad in an effort to impress the ladies. I even saw a red-winged blackbird male yesterday. Time to look hard at conditions on the Shore...

Just before the storm hit on the North Shore, things were moving fast and early. SE Wisconsin tribs were opening up fast. The Brule was open all the way to between FF and 13, there was significant brown-up in the basin, and the Knife was showing signs of ice breakup which was all highly unusual.

The storm up this-a-way only delayed progress, but things are moving again. 'Couple items of great interest: Tribs on the Michigan side are open and blowing out from Kenosha to north of Milwaukee. What's really nuts is that some of these tribs have already hit optimal temps to trigger large runs of steelhead nearly 2-1/2 to 3 weeks early-

And despite the fact that the Shore received a decent shot of snow, the surprizing thing was that the St. Louis and particularly Nemadji were pumping hard.

This first shot is of the Duluth/Superior arm of the Lake out along the Bayfield Penninsula to the Apostles and Chequamegon Bay. The shot was captured just as the storm was hitting and illustrates a "normal" looking water-column (from this altitude you can actually see down quite a ways into the lake):

Compare that with a shot taken after the storm, but still nearly two weeks ago. Even with the lower end locked up in ice and snow, the rivers were pumping like mad. I think, particularly the case with the Nemadji, was that the upper reaches were in an area that was getting rain. This got into the system and carried large volumes of sediment out into the lake. Check out the significant sediment plume noted by the red circle as well as the smaller one coming from the tribs in Chequamegon Bay:

I can guarantee you this has gotten the fishes attention. So where does that put us? Well, things are happening early and fast all over the Great Lakes. We still have river ice and low temps to contend with, but forcasts this week for Knife River are for temps in the mid-50's all week along with rain. This could potentially open the tribs up quick. The next item to watch closely are the temps. Recall that upstream movement of adult steelhead in numbers is initiated by temperatures which reach a particular threshold. Yes, we will get fish moving into tribs earlier, particularly kamloops, but not the big numbers until that occurs. After that, flow is king.

Until then, the amount of remaining snow will dictate how quickly we get to that point. The reason is that as all the snow melts, it contributes lots of water to the tribs, but that water is typically just above freezing. Until the streams open up, snowpack diminishes, and the sun has a chance to warm things from the bottom up on a daily basis, snowmelt will keep plunging temps back down. Pretty good example from the Sucker here just yesterday:

Note the rising temps coupled with the rising flow. As melt increased, cold water flooded the system and tanked temps almost immediately. That's what we're going to be dealing with over the next week or two for sure. Until then, we'll keep watching, but don't forget to get that gear ready!


Monday, March 05, 2012

Bighead carp caught in Mississippi near Winona, MN

news release

Silver, bighead carp were caught by commercial fishermen March 1 in Mississippi River near Winona

(Released March 5, 2012)

A silver carp and a bighead carp were caught in a seine net by commercial fishermen March 1 in Pool 6 of the Mississippi River near Winona, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Silver and bighead carp, members of the Asian carp family, are nonnative species that can cause serious ecological problems as they spread into new waters
The silver carp caught last week, which weighed about 8 pounds, represents the farthest upstream discovery to date of the species, known for its tendency to leap from the water when startled.
“A silver carp discovery this far upstream is discouraging, but not surprising,” said Tim Schlagenhaft of the DNR’s Mississippi River Team at Lake City. “This is further evidence that Asian carp continue to move upstream in the Mississippi River.”

“We hope this galvanizes meaningful action to slow down the upriver movement of Asian carp while we figure out ways to control and deal with their impacts,” said Paul Labovitz, superintendent of the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area in the Twin Cities.

No established populations of bighead or silver carp are known in Minnesota. However, individual Asian carp have been caught by commercial fishermen in recent years. Three silver carp (two in pool 8 near La Crosse, one in pool 9) were caught between 2008 and 2011. One bighead carp was caught in the St. Croix River in 1996 and one in 2011. Between 2003-2009, six bighead carp were caught in the Mississippi River between Lake Pepin and the Iowa border.