As a dock worker at the Duluth, Minnesota, harbor, my schedule can be somewhat erratic. We go to work when a freighter needs loading or unloading—whenever that might be.
I was scheduled for an overnight shift last Friday, unloading a shipload of clay that was bound for a paper mill somewhere. And because the weather forecast called for a wicked winter storm to arrive in 24 hours, I decided to squeeze in a few hours of chasing brown trout and steelhead with my close friend Tim Pommer. We arrived at Wisconsin’s famous Brule River and got our waders wet by 9 a.m.
Big, bulky streamers rule the late season and my choice was an olive drab sculpin. After 90 minutes of casting and wading, a fish took the fly as it swung through a hole. To swing a fly you quarter-cast downstream and let the fly swing across the current. A weighted sink tip and Skagit shooting head help the fly get down in the water column. It’s a technique that targets active fish—and they’re usually big.
This trout slammed the fly and immediately came out of the water, so I knew it was a monster, but didn’t realize until I had the brown in hand that it was the largest I’d ever caught. Fully kyped and in spawning mode, the brute measured 28 inches!
The second, and only other, fish of the day was a fresh, chrome-sided steelhead that took Tim’s fly. It went about 7 pounds.
We fished four more hours without seeing another trout, then hit the road so I could get ready for work. It was just a 2-fish day, but what fish they were. I won’t soon forget the impromptu trip that gave me the brownie of a lifetime.
Bonus Video: Sockeye Salmon On Fly Tackle