Showing posts from 2008

North Shore Tributary & Trout Maps now available

If you are not aware of it, the new North Shore Tributary & Trout Maps are now available online. These interactive maps provide a bit more detail than the old North Shore trib maps & are another good source of information. Just click the link & scroll down to the bottom of the page: North Shore Tributary & Arrowhead Trout Maps Here are the links to the Old Maps: Tributaries from Duluth to Beaver Bay Tributaries from Beaver Bay to Grand Portage Regards- NMF

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 contin

Pinks are Running!

With the leaves turning beautiful colors it means one thing for North Shore Stream anglers...fall run! This past weekend was spent doing some sight seeing with the family but we did get a chance to get out four our first fly fishing lesson. With some help from dad, our little smolt got to experience his first Pink Salmon. Though the water was low on all the rivers from Duluth to Grand Marais this past Thursday thru Friday, it did not slow the pink run. We found fish all throughout the Cascade, Cross & Poplar Rivers. All the fish were fresh and feisty with several starting to make the Redd's. If you are thinking of a weekend to go hit the Pink Salmon Run, this is it.

News Release

Accessible fishing pier now available at McQuade Small Craft Harbor : With the addition of an accessible fishing pier, McQuade Small Craft Harbor now offers opportunities for everyone to fish Lake Superior, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The harbor facility, located nine miles north of the Duluth Harbor entry, is fully accessible including: parking, paved walkways, a pedestrian tunnel, docks, benches, drinking water and rest rooms. The fishing pier has protective railings and is built out from the breakwater to provide for lake fishing. Access to fishing on Lake Superior is limited for many Minnesotans and visitors who do not have the type of boat necessary to navigate the big lake. Opportunities for shorefishing are limited as well, especially for people with disabilities. The McQuade Small Craft Harbor was completed this summer. Besides fishing piers, the facility offers a three-plus acre harbor where small craft can find shelter from storms,
Greetings steelheaders! It's been a crazy fishless year for myself but I hope to rectify that fact soon. First a little Spring wrap-up. Here's what the steelhead and Kamloops capture rates looked like for the combined traps. Note the strong temperature/run component in the numbers. We actually had pretty decent flow this Spring, but the temps were up and down around that magic 40 degree mark which made for some tough fly-fishing. I spent just over 2 days chasing steelhead without much to show for it this spring, but I did get to scout some water in a little more detail. And speaking of scouting... The Fall runs are just around the corner, and there is no better way to learn new water than to get out there after our most diminutive salmon species: The Pinks Whether scouting new water, or simply getting to know more familiar waters better, keeping track of where you see pinks congregating will help you find steelhead in the Spring since they like the same type of water and


Report courtesy of our friends at the MN DNR Water temperatures in the Duluth Area (Lower Shore) ranged between 37 and 44 degrees this past week. Water temperatures in the Finland Area (Middle Shore) ranged between 35 and 40 degrees, while water temperatures in the Grand Marais Area (Upper Shore) ranged between 36 and 40 degrees. Water temperatures are warmer at the Duluth end of the lake, resulting in more rainbow trout being caught there. Anglers interviewed by the lower shore creel clerk caught a total of 46 steelhead and 5 Kamloops. The lower shore creel takes place on the Lester, French, Sucker and Knife rivers. Anglers interviewed by the middle shore creel clerk caught 3 steelhead and 0 Kamloops. The middle shore creel takes place on the Stewart, Silver, Gooseberry, Split Rock, Beaver, and Baptism rivers. Anglers interviewed by the upper shore creel clerk caught 5 steelhead and 0 Kamloops. The upper shore creel takes place on the Cross, Temperance, Poplar, Cascade, Devil T

Filming with cable show

Wednesday of this week a couple of the Staff here got the chance to film a steelhead outing with the Host of "Cook What You Catch" - Randy Meier. Those of you who are from the Twin Cities remember Randy Meier as a news anchor from KSTP and more recently, on the national level, at the MSNBC anchor position. A few weeks ago we were invited by Wall to Wall Media to help out with the show. The crew needed some help on finding good water and also a woman to challenge Randy... see the link to find out why. We teamed Randy up with fellow MN Steelheader staffer Paula Elert. With a few TV shows under her belt and plenty of fish she was a perfect match. Paula was eager to show Randy how to catch steelhead and a few loopers for the frying pan. " Bring it on Randy!" Unfortunately for all, no fish were to be caught on film. The steelhead staff did however manages to locate one willing 25" Rainbow on a Tuesday scouting the high muddy waters after the 2" down pour

Fishing Report - 4-23-08

The Big Rain Monday night really brought the rivers up - way up. With the rivers very dirty and high it seemed that fishing would be good by today. Not the case. A couple of the Minnesota staff ventured North and fished hard Tuesday and today. We caught one nice looper Tuesday and that was it. This was the only fish that we had seen caught. Today (Wednesday) the rivers started clearing up and were totally fishable . The conditions and weather were great. the only fish. We fished a couple of rivers today with zero success. Not a single angler we spoke to or saw had caught fish. This is 40+ anglers ! Note too that we are only reporting from the Baptism south. Our take: With rains expected Thursday and Friday we estimate the next couple of days fishing should start improving. For the weekend angler, this could be the weekend...assuming the fish and weather cooperate. Tight lines to all.


" Fly fishing has it's challenges along the Northshore, with cooler winds prevailing along the lake conditions have cooled down quiet a bit. Water temps are hovering around the upper 30's and this makes fly fishing a little slower. Egg patterns are still the main course until bugs become a favorite when temps climb a bit. Water conditions are perfect other then the temps. You will find fish in deep slots and large pools. Use an indicator to detect light hits and lots of split. If conditions allow, swing a stone along shallower areas. Fly fish hard and cover lots of water. Cheers. John - Great lakes Fly Company "

Stream Report 4-18-08

As of Yesterday afternoon most rivers were high and muddy lots of run off.... We will add more info as it come in. Tight lines to all this weekend.

Visitor Note & Picture

Big Thanks Guys! Just wanted to say thanks for such a great website, I've turned to it may times in the past year or two. You have a great bunch of articles and info. They have been a great help to me in young steelheading career. Attached is a fish I caugth on a mid-shore river in '07. About 30inches, by far my biggest! Thanks again, have a great spring! Ben - Woodbury, MN


It is time to fish... The North Shore rivers are finally starting to shed some ice, and this warm spell that is expected should help the rivers continue to open up. Reports of fish in rivers near Duluth have been increasing over the last few days, but many rivers are still very cold and the fish aren't terribly active. With the possibility of rain this week, we may see some high unfishable rivers for a day or two. The plus side is the rain should help clear out the snow and ice, allowing the rivers to warm up and start taking bigger runs of fish. Egg patterns are a standard producer on the shore, but bugs will take fish as well- especially when the rivers are running high and dirty. Don’t be afraid to open up your fly box a bit. Oh, and if you are not sure on what flies to use, visit our fly book page. If you are not into tying your own flies or just don’t have the time, visit our friend at Great Lakes Fly Company right in Duluth. These guys will set you up with some nice patt


The Northshore is fly fishable! Plenty of muddly water, with some of the rivers near Duluth free of ice. Lots of crowds too. This will be the case until the rivers farther up the shore become fishable allowing anglers to disbuse. Egg patterns will be the main stay until the water becomes clearer and lower. Hit the deep holes and seams closer to the banks of the rivers. Water temps are in the upper 30's. Tight lines to all.... report courtesy of our boys at Great Lakes Fly Co.

Niskanen column on Steelhead

Saint Paul Pioneer Press outdoor writer, Chris Niskanen, has writen a nice column in today Pioneer Press. You can view the article here . Below is a blurb from the artical: Spring is running late on the North Shore, and anglers are still waiting for wild steelhead to move en masse into the rivers. "As soon as we get some warm weather, things will start loosening up,'' Schreiner said. "They don't really run up streams until temperatures are in the 40s, and we're still a week from that." Check back soon for updated fishing & stream reports. ..

Additional Flow & Temperature Resources for North Shore Steelheaders

Here is a great additional resource for keeping tabs on North Shore steelheading conditions: Duluth Not only can you get an indication for what is happening with regards to flow, but you can also get critical temperature & precipitation data. Simply click on the Real-Time Data & Water Chemistry links to load the current year's data. You can select from any of the parameters displayed & even change the temperature data back & forth from Celsius to Farenheight with a color display in the background. This is a wonderful tool for getting flow, temperature & precipitation data for tribs near or on steelheading hotspots. Currently only the Tischer Creek data-collection sonde is back in the water, but the other sondes will be coming on-line soon. Regards & Good Fishing NMF 04.03.2008 Update- There is a DNR/MPCA cooperative stream monitoring program that just became available: Arrowhead Brule Gage Click on the link to obtain discharge informat

Fishing Report - 3/24/08

The Northshore is froze up on all popular rivers. Lots of ice and snow. You can get into a few open areas when the ice flows out and they have been hooking a few fish out in the lake. This is a hit and miss chance, but is worth it if you take the time. Report Courtesy: Great Lakes Fly Company

FLY REVIEW - Super Fly!

" The Superior X-Leg is the one fly I have to have when fishing Lake Superior river mouths for loopers and steelhead from early spring to summer. I have found this fly to work very well during the latter part of the steelhead run in the spring on the North Shore streams. I like to use the beadhead x-legs when fishing the Brule for fall run steelhead and Browns. Friends of mine have had success with the x-legs in far away waters such as New Zealand. This fly is a proven winner!!! " Len Anderson - North Shore Steelhead Guide.

That Versatile Yarn

If you don't use yarn, you should! Yarn is a simple presentation that can represent anything from a single egg, to egg clusters drifting downstream from a redd. Steelhead feed heavily on eggs during the Spring run, & yarn is a deadly way to imitate them. Advantages to yarn are that it is easy to use & is available in many different colors. You can mix & match colors to diagnose what the fish want, or even scent it for added appeal in cold water. Colors can be quickly changed & best of all it tends to stick in the teeth of steelhead giving you that extra split-second to set the hook. Did I mention that you can purchase several seasons worth of yarn for just a few dollars? Not only that but it takes up very little room in your pocket. Just add a small folding scissors to your vest & you are in business. To get started, a selection of up-eye octopus-style or egg hooks in size 8-12 can't be beat. Select larger hooks and bigger, brighter yarn for dirty water, &

Tools for Estimating Ice-Out

It's March & North Shore Steelheading is almost here! If you're like me, you are getting the itch, but winter has the tributaries locked up under ice & snow. The question everyone begins to ask is, "When do you think the rivers are going to open up?" Fortunately there is a way to tell that it is coming & here's how you do it: Magic 8 Ball... I'm kidding, it's really: Magic USGS Flow Data! Take a close look at the following graphic- What you are looking at are the effects of the daily warming cycle on snowmelt & flow. Note that the peaks in gage height (& therefor flow) occur just after mid-day. This is when the air is warmest, the sun at its most intense; & the most melting occurs contributing water to the river. The lows occur just after sunrise which is also typically the coldest part of an average day. At that point, very little if any meltwater is making its way to the river. However when the sun is high, meltwater begins to s

Did you Know?

A legislative change effective Aug. 1, 2007 extended the expiration date of 2007 fishing licenses for resident and nonresident anglers through April 30, 2008, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Any stamps or tags to harvest particular species also are valid through April 30, 2008. Angling licenses, stamps and tags for 2008, which will be effective from March 1 through April 30, 2009, went on sale Feb. 18. Fishing licenses are required for resident anglers age 16 and older and all nonresidents. Nonresidents younger than 16 may fish without a license if a parent or guardian who is licensed accompanies them.

Steelhead Habitat Study

MN DNR stream habitat study is underway... Throughout the summer of 2007, Tracy Close, with student intern, Roger Peka, installed 24 pieces of large wood to determine if such structures could improve habitat for trout in North Shore streams (see image). Pieces were placed in the West ranch of the Split Rock River, Upper Knife River, Little West Branch of the Knife River, and French River. Since few large trees are available in North Shore riparian zones, smaller trees were cut, pulled into the river channel using a chainsaw powered winch and bundled together with cable to simulate large trees. "We anticipate that if the pieces remain in place, flood flows will scour a pocket below the piece as it diverts flow to the center of the stream and smaller pieces of wood will accumulate upstream of the large piece providing nutrients and overhead cover for fish." Changes to stream substrates and fish abundance will be monitored for several years to determine if the anticipated ben

Great Lakes Fly Company

Is cabin fever creeping in? If so, this is a good time to get your fly box in order. A good place to start for supplies is the Great Lakes Fly Company in Duluth. Really, stop there. Not only has John done a superb job of having a fully stocked shop but the advise is 2nd to none. If Duluth is to far out of the way, check them out online . They have designed an all new website with a lot of great new features. Formerly known as Lester River Fly shop, Great Lakes Fly Company opened its doors in July of 2006 and they have been working to expand ever since. Building upon a solid base of dedicated local anglers, John and staff have made a commitment to promoting the sport on a local as well as national level. You'd be amazed how many crazy new patterns and fishing excursions are born of a good conversation and a hot cup of coffee around our tying table. Stop in next time you are in town and let John and his staff get you off to a great fishing trip.