Outdoors blog: Is the North Shore steelhead run over?
By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune
Is the North Shore steelhead run over?
I was talking with my colleague, Al, an avid steelhead angler this morning, and he suspects the North Shore steelhead run may be largely over. That would be pretty amazing for this early date. But the runoff is over, and stream temperatures have been high enough over the past week that a lot of fish have probably already run.
I spoke to Don Schreiner, Lake Superior area fisheries supervisor at French River this morning. He said the take of steelhead at the DNR's Knife River trap was about 100 last friday, about 70 on Saturday and down to 20 on Sunday. Water levels are fairly low now on North Shore streams.
The question is, what would a good rain do? Will it bring some fresh fish in, ready to spawn? Or have those fish already come up when water levels where higher? Nobody knows for sure, of course. And there really isn't much rain in the forecast.
Here's an excerpt from the DNR's North Shore fishing report, updated April 2 (last Friday):
"The rivers on the Minnesota Shore of Lake Superior are now open from Duluth to Canada. From 3/29 through 4/1, water temperatures ranged from 38-43 degrees in the morning and 50-51 degrees in the afternoon on the Lower Shore. On the Middle Shore, water temperatures ranged from 34-36 degrees in the morning and 41-46 degrees in the afternoon. On the Upper Shore, water temperatures ranged from 33-34 degrees in the morning and 41-45 degrees in the afternoon.
"From 3/29 through 4/1, interviewed anglers caught 29 Steelhead, 13 Kamloops, 5 Coho and 1 Brook Trout on the Lower Shore; 43 Steelhead, 5 Kamloops, and 2 Brook Trout on the Middle Shore; and 3 Steelhead and 7 Brook Trout on the Upper Shore. The run is peaking on the Lower Shore, and starting to peak on the Middle Shore. Water levels and clarity is fairly low and clear, and hopefully we get at least ½ inch of rain on Friday night and Saturday as predicted to bring in more fish."
Of course, we know now we didn't get that much rain.
The Kamloops returns also seem to be fairly low again this spring, Schreiner said. A number of Kamloops rainbows were seined in the French River today and are being stripped of their eggs, he said. Many of those eggs will be shipped to the Spire Valley Hatchery near Remer rather than being reared at the French River Hatchery on the North Shore in an effort to save money, DNR officials say.