Showing posts from 2007

Tagging Program Update

The Latest info on the tagging program. In April 2006, archival tags were surgically implanted into 50 Kamloops adults and 26 steelhead adults; half males and half females. The Kamloops were captured during the spawning season in the French River trap, and the steelhead were captured in the Knife River trap. The three-minute surgical tag implantation procedure was followed by external tagging with two T-bar anchor tags inserted along each side of the dorsal fin. The adipose fin on steelhead was clipped making them legal for anglers to harvest. The fish were held in a tank until they recovered and then were released into Lake Superior. None showed any ill effects from the procedure. Click here for more inforamation from the MN DNR .

Beaver management update

Knife River Watershed In the fall of 2006, 70 beaver and 84 dams were removed from the Knife River watershed. An additional 6 beaver and 11 dams were removed in the spring of 2007 before steelhead migrations. The 2007 fall beaver reconnaissance flight over the Knife River watershed took place on October 22 (Figure 9). The number of beaver dams was low in the lower 18 miles of the main stem and the lower third of most large tributaries, where removal effort has focused in past years.

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 comebac

Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Council honors past members

News Release From The MN DNR The Governor’s Council on Minnesota’s Coastal Program recently honored its past members who have served on the advisory board. At the annual meeting, seven past serving members were acknowledged including: - Arnold Overby, served eight years as an at-large member - Robert Pokela, served three years representing Carlton County - Helena Jackson, served eight years representing St. Louis County - Louise Thureen, served four years representing Lake County - Joanne Fay, served eight years representing St. Louis County - James Hall, served eight years representing Cook County - Thomas Spence, served seven years representing Cook County The 15-member board, known as the Coastal Council, is made up of 12 members from the coastal counties of Cook, Lake, St. Louis, and Carlton along with three at-large members. The group is charged with recommending program priorities and grant projects for funding, annually reviewing the program’s administrative budget and revie

Mind your manners...

People should mind their manners while enjoying Minnesota’s outdoors (August 21, 2007) News Release from the MN DNR Minnesota’s summer season may be coming to a close, but there’s still plenty of time to leave behind the city limits and get into nature. What shouldn’t get left behind as people tramp through the woods, pitch a tent, go boating or cast a fishing line are manners. “Most outdoor enthusiasts are simply looking to get away from it all and have some fun, but for some reason there are those who toss common courtesies to the wind, spoiling a day in the fresh air and sunshine with boorish behavior,” said Col. Mike Hamm, Minnesota DNR chief conservation officer. This is apparent in recent editions of the Conservation Officer Weekly Report. Here are a few examples: News Release courtesy of the MN DNR
Hello all... I realize it is only the middle of July, but now is a perfect time to start thinking about planning a couple scouting trips for fall. In little more than a month and a half, fall runs for various species will begin; and while your chances of getting into steelhead won't begin to increase until September starts to wind down, you'll find plenty to keep you busy. One of the benefits to Fall fishing is that with the lower water levels, you can begin to identify locations that will be holding fish in the high waters of Spring, even when they are not visible later under fast, deep & discolored flows. This often pays dividends when you're wondering where to go. Other benefits are obvious: Learning the layouts of new streams while having fun targeting other species and the enjoyment of just getting out and fishing the North Shore after a long hiatus is an enjoyable way to spend a day or two. Plus, you just never know what you might hook into: Pink, Chinook &

The Latest Data from Minnesota Steelheader

Well, surprise surprise... Steelhead are still active on the Lower Shore. This last bit of precipitation brought yet another push of fish into Lower Shore tributaries. Fish were reported in nearly all tribs from Split Rock South. Better yet, Upper Shore fish are still active with a mix of bright, spawning and darker fish all being reported from the Arrowhead Brule South to the Cross. Add to that a smattering of Coasters and even Coho being taken in the outflows and it makes for some interesting days. I've also received a report of two confirmed Loopers being taken from the outflow of one Upper Shore trib. This however is not good news. Limiting genetic introgression (the introduction of Looper DNA) into naturalized steelhead stocks is the reason the DNR only stocks Loopers from Two Harbors South. When they wander and interbreed, it causes problems. There should also be Lakers starting to show up near tributary outflows adding to the mixed bag possibilities for late North Shore Fi

More Lower Shore Data from Minnesota Steelheader

The Lower North Shore is winding down but there are a few items to note. First, the Lower Shore steelhead run has been a bit more prolonged than usual so far in that we are usually seeing diminishing returns at this point. Currently, returns are at a higher level of returns in the latter weeks compared to an average year. Secondly, we should start seeing the first of the dropbacks from the upper reaches of larger systems like the Knife. These fish tend to stay in the system for 20-30 days, then return to the lake according to DNR data. And while it's not fast and furious fishing as during the run peaks, it means that you can extend your season a bit if you're willing to be patient and work for fish. Lastly, Upper Shore returns should be near or at their peaks although with the low flows, much of the fish movement will be in low-light periods or at night. Often, fishing those first and last few minutes of the day for fresh-run fish can pay dividends and make or break a day. Pa


Fishing pressure is down... Fishing pressure is dropped at just about every location we visited this week. Water levels continued to drop over the last weekend in April and are expected to stay low in clear through most of the week. Hopefully we should get some rain over the up in coming weekend. The anglers out fishing are reporting average success rates on both Kamloops and steelhead at the Lester, French, Sucker and Knife rivers with yarn being the go to method. Seems as though not a lot of anglers are using flies these days on the lower rivers. As the temperatures rise we recommend digging a little deeper into your fly box. You can check out our "fly box" for some ideas if you are uncertain on what flies to use. As a rule of thumb, dull down the fly color as the rivers clear up. By the way, River temperatures are ranging from the upper 40s to the mid 50s and running clear. We saw minimal fishing pressure on several middle shore rivers this week. The overcast condition

FISHING REPORT 4/22 - 4/28

Go Fishing! If you have been unsure about weather or not to head out to your favorite North Shore River, now is the time. Make plans and get going. MN Steelheader Staffers, DB, Pete & Toad, headed out on Thursday afternoon for a trip that was to start around the Sucker and take us up to the Grand Marais area. Due to the conditions, we never made it past the Poplar River. We fished from Thursday at 3:00pm to Sunday at about 4:30ish just as the afternoon rain came...and I mean rain. Anyway, we landed our first fish at 3:40pm and lost another shortly after. That was it for Thursday. Saturday brought 4 more fish and several more hooked and lost the log piles! Sunday also gave up a few fish. As of Sunday, Most North Shore rivers were running at normal flow. The Beaver was about the only one that was Higher than normal. Water temps in some of the smaller waters would reach afternoon temps of low 40's falling back to mid 30's in the am. Though we caught fish


Time to Fish...? It looks as though the weather is improving this week. The mild weather this past weekend brought out the anglers on the lower and a few middle shore Rivers. The highest fishing pressure was at the Lester and French rivers respectively. The Knife had it's share of anglers as well. The mouth of the French River has produced several Kamloops the last few days , but it is still reported as slower than usual. The DNR reports that the Lester has produced equal numbers of Kamloops and steelhead , but again fishing has been pretty slow. The highest fishing pressure on the middle shore over the weekend was at the Stewart, Split Rock and Baptism rivers. Anglers reported catching a few steelhead on the Split Rock and the Baptism. Water temperatures have been reported in a wide range - low 30's with some rivers reaching 40's by mid afternoon. A report form the Grand Marais area rivers is not a promising yet. As of Sunday evening much of the area rivers were

FISHING REPORT: 4/8 - 4/14

Winter is Back! Cold, Ice and, more cold. Until we get a warm spell, the fishing is going to be tough. Kudos to all those out braving the elements. Most anglers we spotted were fishing at the river Mouths. The forecast does not look like it will warm up all week. In the two Harbors area, Friday is the first day forecasted with above freezing temps. The long range forecasting models show next Monday approaching normal temps. Lets hope! 4/13: The fishing pressure has been lighter than usual for this time of the year. However, weekend fishing should be picking up as long as the weather continues to warm. Be prepared for some ice. We have reports that several of the lower shore rivers are still locked up with a bit of ice. We have also been informed that most of the upper shore rivers are still locked up with ice. Please hit the "comments" below to leave feedback or report


The Rivers are open! At least most rivers are, we have yet to hear from the Cascade on North. A few fish are being caught on the southern Rivers - Lester, Sucker, Knife...etc. The heat wave last week did a great job of getting thing going however, this past weekend brought another bought of winter. "All I could do was tie flies and stare out the window" says Murph , one of our field staffers. "We got about 12" in Two Harbors in that last snow storm" he added. Early in the week we stopped at the Sucker and noticed a few guys fishing. Fish had been caught but nothing while we were there. All rivers visited were in good shape..a little dark but, in good fishing shape. Most anglers were drifting using spawn and bright yarn flies while drifting pools and deep runs. The river mouths visited were in good shape for those interested in casting in the Big Lake. With the colder than usually weather this weekend, fishing is expected to be slow & cold. Water tem

Go with The Flow

One of the fundamental elements in fishing for migratory species like steelhead lies in understanding the interactions between flow and fish movement. Naturalized strains of Knife River steelhead and stocked Kamloops rainbows are potadromous. That is to say they migrate from the fresh water of Lake Superior into the freshwater tributaries every spring to spawn. These fish have been biologically “programmed” from an evolutionary standpoint to make their runs on increased flows. This trait allows the fish to make it into the uppermost reaches of a watershed where the best spawning and rearing habitat is most likely to be. It also increases the chances that their offspring will survive and successfully return to the lake upon smolting. With that in mind, understanding a bit about North Shore hydrology goes a long way towards understanding flow and when to fish. Article by: NMF - Minnesota Steelheader Field Staffer Read entire article here

T-Shirts Now Available!

We finally have our Shirts completed! Made from 100" pre-shrunk cotton and screenprinted right here in Minnesota. These steelhead T-shirts are one-of-a-kind originals designed by Ninemile fishing Co. We have a limited first run now available online at our secure e-store. All shirts are printed dark blue on a washed out blue shirt. Available sizes are Large and X-Large. Note: The shirts run a bit on the large size. Show your support for this great fishery with a T-Shirt today - while supplies last.

Gear up Steelheaders!

If you are like us, you are chomping at the bit to get on the water! This "pre season" time is a great opportunity to go through your gear one more time to make sure everything is in order. Have you restocked your fly box, yarn supply, hooks and line? One often overlooked task on the steelheaders check list every spring is to check and clean one's reel. If you did not loosen your drag at the end of last use, you will definitely want to check to make sure it is working properly. Check for any sand or debris that may have found it's way into your reel's mechanics too. A poor or faulty drag is on the top of a trophy steelhead's wish list. Two often overlooked items on a steelheader's spring fishing list are GOOD polarized sunglasses and sun screen. We can't encourage GOOD polarized sunglasses enough! We recommend taking your glasses into your eye doctor and having them tested. Most of the cheap glasses do not have 100% UV-light blockage. Most clinics

Steelhead Decals

Well, we finally have our new Steelhead window decals in. We have two sizes in stock that display a really nice black and white steelhead image on a silver metalic adhesive-back vinyl material. We also have a decal to display our website. We are currently offering one free decal to any Lake superior Steelhead picture used on our website. Here are the rules: 1.) Must be caught in Minnesota. 2.) Must include anglers name and area caugth ( you don't have to be specific) 3.) Include a mailing address to ship decal. 4.) Offer good for pictures that are posted only. 5.) Send photo by email as a .jpg file (max 1.8mg) to: You will also be able to find our decals along with a few other goodies at our Steelie E-Store on our website. We hope to have the E-store up and running by mid March. Stop by and check us out. Tight Lines to all-----------<><

Steelie Strikes - Make your own strike indicators

Steelie Stikes : Now you can make your own. We have uploaded our detailed instructions, including photos, on our website . Our Steelie Strikes are the originals made from 2mm foam, a bit of thread and a rubber O-ring. Pretty simple stuff here. We created the Steelie Strikes after several years of using various strike indicators. The foam version evolved a couple years ago after frustrations of using yarn indicators. Don't get us wrong, the yarn indicators worked ok , we just got sick of adding floatant to the yarn to keep it floating high. What we really like about the foam is the the ability to adjust on the water. If the situation requires a smaller indicator, just a simple trim does the job. The fact that the foam will never absorb water is a big plus too. Check us out and tie one on......

Know your tags.

Do you know your Steelhead Tags? Individual numbered tags are inserted at the base of the dorsal fin on hatchery (clipped) and wild steelhead that are caught at the Knife and French river fish traps. Grey numbered tags are used on steelhead that return to the Knife River and yellow numbered tags are used at the French River trap. Individual numbered tags are used to gather information on steelhead movement patterns within Lake Superior, occurrence of repeat spawning, age and growth, and trap efficiency. If you catch a tagged steelhead, leave the tag in the fish and record the number. Report the tag number, along with the date, location, and if the fish was harvested or released to Lake Superior Fisheries. We can provide you with information on when and where the fish was tagged and also the age of the fish. Information from:


A study began in spring 2006 to determine the habitat used by Kamloops and steelhead in Lake Superior. Information about habitat preferences will reveal how similar or different the requirements of these fish are and aid management decisions. The archival (data storage) tags record date, time, temperature, and depth. When a tag is recovered, data can be downloaded onto a computer. The tags do not transmit a signal, so we rely on angler and trap returns of the fish to recapture the tags. Each fish was also marked externally with yellow tags printed with “$50 reward for return, MNDNR Duluth, call 218-525-0853 x223”. We hope to get most of the fish back during the late winter, and early spring spawning run in 2007. If you catch a tagged fish, please return the whole fish, without freezing, so that we can obtain growth and diet information along with the tags. Do your part to spread the word so more can be learned about this important fishery.

What's in your Box?

With the start of the new year comes fly tying happy hours at MN Steelheader. The staff here spends a portion of the off season sorting through our fly boxes, vests and notes, while anxiously awaiting the spring thaw. After reviewing our notes to see what flies were hot...and not, we start gearing up for some serious fly tying. We found that this past year was a great year for one of our new black stone nymph patterns along with the trusty old Hercules. We fished lots of different patterns this past year and still found the egg pattern, and variations of, to be the go to fly. The unforgiving rocks and snags in the often fast drifts were exceptionally hungry this past year. As many of you may know, we stick to simple patterns most of the time for this very reason. You loose flies on the North Shore. Keeping your flies simple helps keep the blood pressure down and enables you to tie plenty of your favorite patterns. Feel free to use this forum to share your patterns, hot or not. We ar

Working in the "off season"

With the end of the steelhead season comes work. Here is a picture of one of our staff and a hunting buddy after a hard day working. The objective: to find a supplier of pheasant tails for a winter tying weekend. Not a bad days work! In the off season most of us here are spending our free time getting plenty of Pheasant hunting in. However, even though we are not on the water, our minds are. Most of the travel time on these late fall, early winter trips, are spent dreaming and planning our next steelhead adventure. T&K - Sunny December day in Iowa '06