Showing posts from 2015

The Pom Pom fly - your alternative to a yarn fly

If you are new to North Shore steelhead fishing, you will soon find out that yarn is a popular and effective "fly" for our migratory steelhead, trout, and salmon.  
Many anglers simply snell a hook and place a chunk of their favorite colored yarn inside the main loop, pull the snell tight, trim up the yarn, and you are off fishing. These anglers often have several colors of yarn tucked away in their vest along with a few hook sizes for easy access.
For those anglers yet to learn how to snell a hook, there are two alternatives.  You can visit your local fly shop and purchase some, or you can make your own.
There are several ways to tie your own yarn flies, but if you want to try a simple alternative to a more traditional yarn fly tying pattern, give pom-poms a try.  
You can find pom-poms at most craft stores.  They come in all sorts of sizes and colors, but look at the variety packs for starters.  When selecting a size, keep it to a size smaller than a dime or a pinky fingernail…

Lake Superior tributary clean up gets notice.

Be part of the solution.
Join the Adopt-a-River program.

Since 1989, volunteers have removed over 6.5 million pounds of trash from thousands of miles of shoreline on Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and ponds. Minnesota Steelheader, a non-profit conservation group is one such volunteer group.

We sure are! We (Minnesota Steelheader) have been part of the program since 2011, pulling hundreds of pounds of garbage and debris from the Sucker River over the years.
The year 2014 was a memorable clean up year.  The weather was terrific.  It was a cool clear morning as the sun was gently rising in the southeasterly sky over Lake Superior.  One of those picture perfect mornings that made you just want to sit back and enjoy the scenic splendors the North Shore offers.
We had an eager group of volunteers show up to help with our efforts that September morning.  We also had our staff photographer along to capture the day.  After some basic instructions and trash bag distribution, our glove wearing, wader an…

Annual Adopt-a-River Clean up is Saturday, Sept. 19th 8:00am.

Please join us for our annual Sucker River Clean up event. This is open to anyone, no need to sign up, just show up! 

What to Bring: work gloves, warm clothing, rain gear, waders are optional. We will supply trash bag and a few extra gloves.

We are meeting at the scenic HWY 61 parking lot at 8:00am. We hope to have a good turn out to help speed things up and head out later for a day of fishing. No worries if you are running late, just grab a trash bag and join in. 

This is not only a perfect opportunity for you to give back a little time to the fishery you enjoy, but also a great opportunity to meet some of our staff! We will be on hand to answer questions, give advice, share tips and offer guidance about our fall fishery. We will also be providing the most current fishing report to those planning a weekend on the water!
Our fall streamside clinic is finally scheduled and registration has begun.  If you are interested in participating we recommend you sign up ASAP as angler space is limited.
Date: Saturday, September 19th, 2015 Time: 9:45am to 12:45pm - after our adopt-a-river clean-up Location: an awesome middle shore river*
How do you register? Simple.  CLICK HERE  or try this link:
What is the Streamside clinic? We developed this clinic in 2011 as way to teach beginners and intermediate steelhead anglers the fundamentals of fishing our North Shore streams and rivers.  Timing the clinic in the fall was easy.  The pink salmon migration is in full swing,  the weather conditions are fairly stable and the rivers are running lower than the levels during the spring steelhead migration making them much more manageable.  Pinks also utilize some of the same migration and spawning waters as our steelhead and most north shore steelie flies can catch pinks.

2015 Creel Project - FINAL

One of the other big questions we are trying to answer with the Creel Project is, "Is there a "Normal", "Standard" or "Typical" run picture?" In other words, what if anything, is common to the runs across the North Shore with respect to steelhead, and what does that look like?     That picture is beginning to resolve itself in a big way; but the key has been figuring out whether there is a common denominator and how to apply it.     We have to go back to one of the things that frustrated us initially. That is to say, conventional wisdom at the time was that flow was the be-all, end-all in steelhead fishing: Flow goes up, fish move, flow goes down, movement changes and or decreases. Turns out that what we are learning is while this still holds true, it really depends on for lack of a better description, what stage of the run we are in, and the key factor appears to be stream temperatures early in the season.     So lets jump into the Way-Ba…

Low Cost Idea of the Week

Seems like steelheaders always have more gear than they have pocket-space to carry it in, so being able to organize effectively is always a good thing.
    A couple weeks ago, my wife was in the bathroom organizing and putting jewelry into these neat little boxes. So I just had to ask because when I saw all the little compartments, the light-bulb went off....

    Turns out they were just pill organizers. Couple nice things about them: You can get them with varying numbers of compartments, you can remove the entire divider making for one big compartment, they are very low profile which means they fit well in smaller pockets and can be stacked, and the lids close pretty securely. But best of all, they are a dollar or less depending on size and are available from most pharmacies, Walgreens, Target, Wal-Mart etc.
    These boxes make for great yarn boxes, hook organizers, spare fly boxes, sinker holders, bead boxes and indicator boxes. Take the divider out on the smaller square boxes…

2015 Creel Project Results

A Little bit about the Creel Project and how we prepare the data: Each year since 2010, Minnesota Steelheader has asked anglers for voluntary catch reporting of Steelhead, Kamloops, and what are presumed to be Coaster Brook Trout, caught in the tributaries during the Spring migration. We collect those reports along with daily flow, temperature and other open-source data, then run them through an app we created. The results are subsequently plotted in Daily, Weekly and Historical formats in what we hope are intuitive and easy to use charts.
    This is not a scientific creel by definition, but we do try to use and present as much of the available scientific literature as we can in the context of the charts with the goal of better understanding these various species. The information is presented to you for your consideration in the hope you'll find it useful.
    A long time ago, we began with the premise of Informing, Educating, Entertaining and Inspiring both veterans and new-comer…

2015 Trap Summary - FINAL

DATE: 05/18/2015Knife River Flow: 213 CFS French RiverSteelheadKamloopsNumber Captured743Total Captured117774DATE: 05/18/2015Index River Temp: 50.31°FKnife RiverSteelheadKamloopsNumber Captured343Total Captured70813DATE: 05/11/2015Knife River Flow: 560 CFSFrench RiverSteelheadKamloopsNumber Captured212Total Captured110731DATE: 05/11/2015Index River Temp: 42.78 °FKnife RiverSteelheadKamloopsNumber Captured161Total Captured67410DATE: 05/08/2015Knife River Flow: 145 CFSFrench RiverSteelheadKamloopsNumber Captured515Total Captured108719DATE: 05/08/2015Index River Temp: 52.1°FKnife RiverSteelheadKamloopsNumber Captured390Total Captured6589DATE: 05/04/2015Knife River Flow: 41 CFSFrench RiverSteelheadKamloopsNumber Captured229Total Captured103704DATE: 05/04/2015Index River Temp: 52.74°FKnife RiverSteelheadKamloopsNumber Captured222Total Captured6199DATE: 05/01/2015Knife River Flow: 41 CFSFrench RiverSteelheadKamloopsNumber Captured1049Total Captured101675DATE: 05/01/2015Index River Temp: 50.…

2015 Creel Project Update - Upper Shore

Just a quick note: Upper Shore streams are still trending although it's hard to say how long this will last if the temps stay up around that 60°F mark. We also simply don't have enough data-points in the Upper Shore creel to see the more granular interactions between flows and fish at this time; just a friendly reminder that if you happen to get out, please send us your reports. And Thanks!

2015 Creel Project Update

A huge thank you to all of YOU! Response to the creel project has been tremendous this year, and we can't do it without your help. We are getting very good data and have already noted some interesting items:
The run, while we are seeing the more or less orderly progression of start dates from south to north, kicked off roughly only two days apart for each region. This is a bit unusual, particularly for the Upper ShoreThe cold spell we had in the 10 days leading up to May slowed fishing, but it simply changed where fish locate in the streams and how you approach presentationsCreel numbers are still trending very well for all regionsSteelhead have by far been the predominant catch, with a total rainbow creel (steelhead + kamloops) of 496 fish sampled. Very few kamloops being reported from Mid and Upper Shore submissions     Here's what things look like so far. Keep in mind that the creel numbers are simply a trend against actual temps, and flow has been divided by ten for all…

A Quick Note on Temperature

Once again in 2015, we are seeing the strong correlations between the reported run initiation temperature and the initial upstream migration of steelhead and kamloops.

    The various stream packages have been giving us fits because they have been up and down, partially running, not running, fully running... sometimes all variations on that theme for any given day. At any rate, here is the best we've been able to come up with given the unpredictable nature of the available data:

    We started tracking daily numbers back on the 15th of March after we started seeing movement in the ice. On April 2nd we began flirting with the reported run initiation temps, but didn't get too excited simply because there was still so much ice around along with snow-pack up in the highlands, and underneath conifer stands still waiting to melt. We assumed temps would tank with remaining melt slowing things down temporarily, and that appears to have happened.

    On the 10th, small Lower Shore …

Fish on!

A couple of us hit the lower shore rivers yesterday dispite the low water.  It was just to nice of a day to miss out on some fresh air and running water.
Though the water is low, the rain earlier this week pushed fish into the rivers.  We managed to hook more than we landed, but those landed were a wonderful sight. We were seeing, and catching, both kamloops and steelhead.  
People often ask us " will this weekend be a good time to fish?"  We are happy to give our opinions, but we believe If you  have the time to go fishing, just go!  When the conditions are less than ideal, learn to adapt and take the time try new tactics and gear or explore new water.   As you see from the photo, it can produce some fine results.

2015 - Steelhead and Stout

Just what is the Meet & Greet?

The Meet & Greet is an annual gathering of like-minded Minnesota steelhead anglers, hosted by Minnesota Steelheader (MS), a non-profit organization dedicated to informing, educating, and entertaining veterans and new-comers alike to our North Shore fishery.

This off the water gathering is a casual way to meet fellow anglers, exchange fishing stories, share tips, techniques & photos.  It also provides an opportunity to ask questions and learn a few new tricks all the while relaxing in the warmth of a comfortable establishment

This event is open to women, men, 1st time steelhead anglers and seasoned veterans - we welcome all.  There is no membership. needed.  This is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow anglers, share tips,  learn some new skills, ask questions, and improve our angling community camaraderie,  wile getting to know the volunteer staff members behind Minnesota Steelheader.   We hope to see you this spring!


April Showers, We Need 'Em!

As of April 11th, 2015, Stream conditions are making life difficult for both man and beast, er... steelhead. Lower Shore rivers are running low, clear and cold; there is still a fair amount of shelf ice along the sides of the streams.

    The clear skies today will go a long way towards getting water temps up, but we think tomorrow's badly needed rain, especially if air temps remain high, might just do the most to jump-start things on the lower shore vis-a-vis rising flow, stream temps and willing fish.

    We've been running the numbers since March 15th and have only recently begun flirting with the run initiation temps observed in North Shore Steelhead and Kamloops. Problem is that one-day's worth doesn't seem to do it, we have to remain above that threshold but when we do, magic... By the way, the significant drop in the Lower Shore index stream flow is the result of some healthy ice-dams breaking up and releasing all that pent-up water, not necessarily high fl…

2015 MS Creel Project

Whether you are new to Minnesota Steelheader, or simply missed it last year, we need your help!

The Minnesota Steelheader Creel Project is a non-scientific poll of catch information similar to what is provided in the Official MNDNR creel reports.

Your part is very simple - When you fish in 2015, simply record the following information:

Species & Number Caught: Kamloops, Steelhead or Brook Trout

The Region Where You Caught the Fish:Lower, Mid or Upper Shore. It is critical that you get the location correct. MS is not interested in the specific streams, simply the region, so please use this format:
Lower Shore Region - All Tributaries from Mission Creek to Knife River

Mid Shore Region - All Tributaries from Stewart River to Baptism River
Upper Shore Region - All Tributaries from Little Marais River to Pigeon River including those on the Reservation.
The Date the Fish Were Caught:Well, the date....

That's it! Species, Region and Date, how simple is that? There is one other important groun…