Outdoors blog: Check this North Shore spring ritual
By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune
Watch the steelhead leap tall falls
A steelhead -- Lake Superior rainbow trout -- leaps a 6-foot set of falls on the Lester River in Duluth. (News Tribune file)
This is the perfect time of year to witness one of the coolest spectacles of nature -- steelhead leaping falls on their North Shore spawning runs. The watching was good Tuesday afternoon at the Lester River, and I suspect it will be good again today. There are no guarantees in the natural world, but it's worth a look.
Park along Superior Street where the Lester River (actually the Lester and Amity Creek) pass beneath the street just west of Lester River Road. Look over the railing along the sidewalk, facing downstream. Watch the falls that spill into the pool below. Keep watching. Every few minutes, if conditions are right, you'll see a steelhead -- a Lake Superior rainbow trout -- hurl itself up the falls. Some make it. Some don't.
Watching those fish leap that chaos of falling water never fails to grab something deep inside of me. What an act of courage, of reckless abandon, of sheer will. All to get upstream to their spawning beds and leave eggs for the next generation of steelhead. And most of these fish are big -- a couple of feet long or more. Thick, powerful fish with tails that move a lot of water and generate a lot of thrust.
Best time seems to be early to mid-afternoon, especially if sunlight is shining into the pool.