STEELY. With the turn of the calendar to February, we’re thinking spring and planning a trip for one of our favorite trout species that is not only challenging to hook but also to land – the steelhead. We’ve got some info on this species to fill the front half of your weekend and set your sights on something new.
Featured Photo: DEO’s Nick Simonson with a Lake Superior steelhead from the Sucker River caught on a hand-tied McFly Foam egg. Simonson Photo.
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Sat 2/1 – Hey Feb. – Hi 41, Lo 31, Wind W@15, G25
Tomorrow: Sun 2/2 – I Got U Babe – Hi 40, Lo 26, Wind NW@20, G30
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Moonrise Moonset Overhead Underfoot
11:45AM 12:44AM 6:41PM 6:19AM
Moon Phase: Waxing Crescent (45% Full)
EDGE HOUR: 11:30AM-12:30PM. Moonrise and warming temps will bring a good mid-day bite in our Edge Hour.
STEEL YOURSELF. The steelhead is a hard-charging big-water run rainbow trout that is born in small streams and rivers but makes its way out to the ocean or large bodies of water like the Great Lakes before returning to spawn in the same streams they were born in. While many west coast populations are in peril, there is a strong population on Minnesota’s Lake Superior and its tributaries.
TAKE A TRIP. The north shore of Minnesota’s Lake Superior is known for its spring run of steelhead. Popular public-access areas range from the north edge of Duluth all the way up the shore to the Canada line. Follow the DNR’s tracker when it starts in April and plan trips accordingly. Many die-hards follow the migration up the warming shore as spring progresses.
METHODOLOGY. Steelhead can be caught in the spring on a heavy fly rod (8-10 wt), on a centerpin combo or large drift rods employing spawn sacks or other artificial baits. Popular flies include egg flies, yarn flies, egg-sucking-leech buggers, and x-legs patterns. As waters start to break loose and river temperatures warm into the 40s, watch for the fish to make their run.