Minnesota and Wisconsin Spring Steelhead Fishing

Lake Superior Trout and Steelhead Fly Fishing

March marks the return of open water fishing in the northland.  Catch and release trout seasons provides a good warmup for the Brule river steelhead fishery which opens on the last Saturday in March.


Steelhead (a lake-dwelling rainbow trout introduced in Lake Superior in the 1880’s) are widely know as a difficult quarry and the Bois Brule’s transient population is no exception.  Temperature, water level, water clarity, and weather conditions are just a few of the variables leading to a successful steelhead encounter.

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Spring is spawning season and the reason for the arrival of the lake-dwelling rainbows we refer to as steelhead.  Lake run brown trout ascend the Brule to spawn in the fall and can be found looking to grab a few meals of eggs before heading back to the big lake as the ice recedes.


Early season steelheading is typically a deepwater nymphing game as the fish tend toward deeper pools when the water is at its coldest.  Spawning starts in March and usually winds up for the most part by mid- to late-April.  New fish are coming into the river during this time as well so observing the day-to-day progression of the run is a big advantage and one of the key reasons to hire a guide.  As the fish finish spawning and begin their journey back to Lake Superior they become more aggressive in the warming waters of late-April and early-May and with the right water conditions can be a lot of fun to target by swinging streamers.


Steelhead fishing typically starts to wind down in mid- to late-May, depending on how the weather plays out. Our proximity to Lake Superior can sometimes delay the arrival of summer and the warmwater season in this area, but we have some pristine stream trout rivers that fish well during this season, filling that gap nicely. Targeting wild brown trout with streamers is a fun way to enjoy a day on the river this time of year, and we also run into some great bug hatches in May that can provide excellent dry fly fishing as well.

Brule river Steelhead walk and wade trips include lunch, beverages and all necessary fishing equipment other than waders. Bring polarized sunglasses, waders/boots, waterproof jacket and gloves and hats as desired- be prepared for unpredictable weather. Plan on hiking several river miles or until you’re ready to head in. A day on the river is a full day for us so we’ll typically stay out as long as you like.



$300/day for 1 angler
$450 for 2 anglers