Signs of spring mean steelies season loomsCome April, the long northern Minnesota winter finally parts. North Shore streams surge with snowmelt, their dark waters ricocheting downstream.
By: Michael Furtman, Minnesota Conservtion Volunteer, Lake County News Chronicle
Come April, the long northern Minnesota winter finally parts. North Shore streams surge with snowmelt, their dark waters ricocheting downstream. Steelhead trout surge against cold currents, flinging their bodies over waterfalls, struggling to reach their spawning grounds. Long and lean, silver as a new dime when first emerging from Lake Superior, each steelhead seeks just that stream in which it was born, to return to reproduce, to fulfill its destiny.
April sees another migration along these streams. With trees still bare and chill winds off the cold lake, neoprene wader–clad diehard steelhead anglers come seeking one of the most exciting sport fish in the world. With frozen hands and runny noses, steelhead anglers brave raging currents and icy waters for the chance to hook a steelhead – an indomitable spirit that will leave them weak-kneed from the fight.
Where once anglers could bag three per day, today the steelhead fishery is strictly catch and release. Yet steelhead are back from the brink of complete collapse in Minnesota. Thanks to the fish’s own incredible survival instincts and to the efforts of anglers and the Department of Natural Resources, steelhead fishing is the best it has been in 25 years.
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- This story comes courtesy of the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, a bimonthly magazine of the Department of Natural Resources. Visit the magazine online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/ volunteer/index.html.
- Michael Furtman is a Duluth writer and photographer. Visit his web site at www.michaelfurtman.com