With the heavy rain and snowfall that the northland has endured during these last few months, many eager anglers patiently wait for fishable water. It is no surprise that the weather that is associated with Spring in northern Wisconsin can be unpredictable, but with river levels remaining a bit higher than most would like, anglers are forced to wait for the rivers to come down, despite the opening fishing season.

The Bois Brule River has seen river levels greater than 600 CFS (cubic feet per second). Although the river levels have been coming down from what they were, many anglers are still unsure of whether they should make the pilgrimage to the river.
John Schaefer, a local fisherman who frequents the Brule, highlighted his thoughts on the current state of the river.

“It’s been a difficult Spring to be a steelhead fisherman. We had some decent luck before the snowmelt hit, but since then it’s been a waiting game. We’re hoping to be able to get out sometime within the next couple of weeks to catch a couple more fish before the spawn is over,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer, who is certainly disappointed in the lack of fishing that he has been able to do, also looks to the bright side of the current river situation.

“With fewer people out fishing, I would think that the overall population and health of the steelhead is remaining intact. Even though people are disappointed in not being able to fish as much as they’d like, I think that this spring will end up being a blessing in disguise, as it will help the steelhead population flourish,” Schaefer said.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website highlights the spring fishing season on the Brule, saying during the first several weeks of the early season, the vast majority of steelhead caught are fish that remained in the river from the previous fall run. Water temperatures dictate peak movement.

The Bois Brule season opened on the last Saturday of March and runs until November 15. With this, The General Inland Trout season begins on May 6 and runs until October 15, while the General Inland Fishing season runs from May 6 until March 3, 2024.