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Lake Superior tributary questions

Fishing Wisconsin

When is the Brule River fishing opener? (upper, lower and what can I use where)

In spring, the lower Brule River (north of Hwy. 2) opens for fishing on the last Saturday in March, and there are no bait restrictions on this part of the river. The upper portion of the Brule River (south of Hwy. 2) opens on the same day as the general inland fishing opener (first Saturday in May). The section between County Hwy. S and County Hwy. B is designated for fishing with ARTIFICIAL BAIT ONLY. Note: There is no early catch-and-release trout season on any of the Lake Superior tributaries.

Which streams do steelhead (lake-run rainbows) run up?

The Bois Brule is the most well known of the local trout streams. The largest numbers of steelhead migrate from Lake Superior beginning late September and continuing through the first half of November. A spring run also occurs in April, but not nearly as large as the fall run. Most fish caught during the spring early season are overwintering fish from the previous fall run. In Bayfield County, the Sioux River, Pikes Creek, Cranberry River and North Fish Creek provide a popular spring fishery.

Are there any areas along the Brule River that have special regulations or refuges?

The section between Hwy S and Hwy B is designated for fishing with ARTIFICIAL BAIT ONLY and has a special size and bag limits. There are also 3 areas north of Hwy. 2 with special regulations. The area known as "Box Car Hole" is closed to fishing from July 15th through, and including, October 31st. The area known as "Skid Mays" is closed from September 1st through, and including, May 31st. Also, the sea lamprey barrier refuge is never open to fishing and extends 500 feet both upstream and downstream of the barrier. All these areas are marked with signs and have dates on them.

Does the Brule River sea lamprey barrier serve any other purpose than blocking sea lamprey that are ascending the river to spawn?

Go to the lamprey barrier page.

What other streams besides the Brule River provide a fishing opportunity for wild lake-run trout and salmon?

In Bayfield County: the Flag River, Cranberry River, Pikes Creek, Sioux River and North Fish Creek.
In Ashland County: the White River, Marengo River, and Brunsweiller River.

Which stream, or streams, along the south shore, support the best populations of lake-run salmon, either coho or chinook?

The salmon runs consist of mainly coho salmon, a few chinooks and pink salmon. The coho salmon run typically begins mid-September and runs through October. The best streams other than the Brule are the Flag River, Cranberry River, Sioux River, Pikes Creek and the North Fish Creek.

When are the general runs of the trout and salmon on south shore streams?

Steelhead: Spring = April through May, Fall = Sept. through Nov.
Brown Trout: August through October
Coho Salmon: October
Chinook Salmon: September through October

Where can I fish for stream-resident brook trout?

The Bois Brule River has the healthiest population. Smaller populations do exist near the headwaters of most Class 1 streams in the watershed, and some do provide a limited fishery.

How does licensing and regulations work on the St. Louis River for both Wisconsin and Minnesota anglers?

Since the St. Louis River is a WI and MN boundary water, anglers with either a Wisconsin or Minnesota license can fish the river. However, anglers must follow the regulations of the state you are fishing in, regardless of your residency. Wisconsin and Minnesota residents must have a resident license from their own state. For details check the Wisconsin Fishing Regulations or the Minnesota Fishing Regulations.

When does the refuge open on the St. Louis River?

The refuge area upstream of Hwy. 23 in Fond du Lac, Minnesota, is closed in early spring in order to protect the river's spawning walleyes. The area does open for fishing on May 19th and remains open for the remainder of the fishing season.

When fishing a river mouth, where is the line that determines if I'm fishing in Lake Superior or the river?

The boundary is determined by drawing a line from the beach line (lake/beach intercept) on one side of the river mouth to the beach line on the other side.

Are there any restrictive regulations on tributary streams other than the Brule River?

Yes, the Bark River and Whittlesey Creek have a "0 bag limit" regulation in place for brook trout as part of an on-going rehabilitation experiment.

Do all lake Superior tributaries have special extended trout seasons?

No, only a select few do, so you must check out the inland trout fishing regulations to be sure the stream you are interested in fishing is included. Note: There is no early catch-and-release trout season on any of the Lake Superior tributaries downstream of the 1st impassable barrier.