March Madness: Steelhead in the Upper Midwest

March 30, 2008 By: Marshall Cutchin

“As it flows to the lake through an industrial valley, the river witnesses graffiti-lined walls and abandoned factories. Its water is sullied by discarded shopping carts and urban runoff. But, too, the river meanders past stands of hardwoods and newly restored banks. Last weekend the river was dressed in its Easter finest: The sun dappled like diamonds in the riffles, marshmallow snow blanketed the banks and striped the trees.” Paul Smith gets his bell wrung by a steelhead on one of Wisconsin’s little urban anomalies, the Menomonee River in Milwaukee.
Meanwhile the anglers arriving on Wisconsin’s Brule at 2 AM are dismayed to find two cars already in the parking lot. “Anglers were right about one thing. It was cold in the darkness before dawn. Right at 20 degrees. A half-moon rode a starry sky above the boughs of white pines. Anglers built small fires for warmth as they staked out favorite runs. Fishing wouldn’t be legal until half an hour before sunrise, about 6:25 a.m.” Sam Cook in the Duluth News Tribune.