Bois Brule bubbling with fall steelhead

  • Check out our Interactive Fishing Maps!

    View Map
    DOUGLAS COUNTY, Wis. — No one's disputing that the Bois Brule River offers some of the finest migratory fish angling along the U.S. side of Lake Superior of any river around.

    About mid-August, steelhead began moving up into the Bois Brule for their fall migration, and will continue coming into the river until November. That gives anglers plenty of opportunities to intercept them.

    Along with the metal heads, Chinook, coho salmon and brown trout will all draw a lot of angler attention this fall. But it's the steelhead that rule the river.

    "There is good steelhead fishing on the Brule," confirms Brian Carlson, owner of the Brule Canoe Rental (715-372-4983) in Brule. "I have a lot of anglers renting canoes to fish for trout."

    Dennis Pratt of the Wisconsin DNR is hesitant to point anglers to specific spots that fall steelies might be using, but he points out that good catches are possible when fishing the deeper holes.

    Bad weather

    "The best time to fish is when the weather is terrible," points out Chloe Manz of the Brule River Classics Shop (715-372-8153).

    "The Brule is one of the prime steelhead spots in the country, but the fishing can be tough. The best fishing is when the water is high and the fish can move."

    Manz recommends streamers and flies such as Woolly Buggers to get the attention of the Brule's fall steelhead.

    Public spots

    Much of the public access is along the river in the Brule State Forest (715-372-5678), which roughly follows the meandering river.

    The forest offers numerous canoe landings and parking lots in Douglas County.

    The river north of U.S. Highway 2 has several well-marked access points where anglers can wade in or launch off in a canoe.

    Outside the river

    October should bring even better fishing on the river, along with excellent trolling prospects for trout and salmon in Chequamegon Bay and off the Brule river mouth.


    The trout season gets under way every year on the last Saturday in March, from U.S. Highway 2 downstream to Lake Superior, and ends Nov. 15. The section of the Brule River upstream of U.S. Highway 2 and its tributaries are open on the first Saturday in May and close on Sept. 30.

    The daily bag limit is five trout or salmon in combination. Steelhead must measure 26 inches and only one may be kept in the bag.

    As a conservation measure, the DNR has implemented a special regulation on the stretch of river from County Highway B upstream to County Highway S: The daily combination bag limit of trout and salmon is three, with only one 26-inch or greater steelhead allowed.

    Only artificial lures are permitted in this section of the river.

    Weekend trip

    Weekend trip: Lodging is available at the Brule River Motel and Campground (715-372-4815). The Brule River Classics offers rustic log cabins and a campground (715-372-8153).

    Canoe trips both upstream and downstream from Burle are offered by Brule River Canoe Rental (715-372-4983).

    For more information contact the WDNR at (715) 392-7990.

    Material from Fishing & Hunting News
    published 24 times a year.

    Visit them at www.fishingandhuntingnews.com.