Angler’s Isolation: Fishing on the Brule River

Coronavirus doesn't keep anglers from fishing for steelhead trout.

BRULE, Wis.- Since solitary outdoor activities in state parks are considered essential in Governor Tony Evers’s Safer-at-Home order, some anglers took advantage of that, casting their rods on the Brule River.

The babbling brooks feeding into the rushing river are the only sounds that greet you out along the Brule.

“This is about as isolated as we can get,” Eric Polkoski said.

Making fishing the perfect way to spend all the time away from work and school.

“That river doesn’t stop and the fish don’t stop running so we gotta get out and take advantage of it while we can,” said Polkoski, fishing with his son.

As the Steelhead Trout start running, anglers like the Polkoskis start running to the river to cast their rods.

“I always tell everybody I’m gonna catch the biggest stick today. And he already caught one fish today so he’s one up on me,” the fishing father said, gesturing to his son Max, who smiles triumphantly. “So we just go out here just to have fun and enjoy the beautiful nature out here on this river. ”

But for many people fishing, it’s just a treat to be out of the house for once.

“Can’t be cooped up, y’know, just drive you crazy,” said Jay Jackson of Duluth.

“Fresh air. Just being out, taking a walk, y’know just being out in nature. Catching the fish is a bonus if you do,” he said.

With many families staying at home due to COVID-19, everybody can pick up the rod and go fishing.

“Get these kids out in the air and get them running around and get their wiggles out before they go back home,” Eric said, as the rest of the Polkoski pack cast their rods further down the riverbank.

And his kids sure don’t mind it.

“I like to fish for the same reasons.” said Max. “I enjoy fishing just, and because sitting at home gets boring actually.”

Eric is happy to be doing something else with his family for a change. “Putting together a puzzle or playing games, we can do that later on tonight or when the rain comes later on tonight.”

And after all, you can only watch so much Deadliest Catch before getting out and living it.

“Turn off the TV for a while,” one angler said.

As long as Coronavirus keeps everything else on hold, the Brule will be busy. “I might be out here everyday this week next week if they can get their homework done,” said Eric.

“Heck yeah!” replied Max.

And if the crunch of leaves and twigs under feet alert you to someone getting close, walk 6 feet ahead.

There’s plenty of river to go around.

“Keep yourself of course distance and know these precautions, there’s enough woods and enough area and greenspace to enjoy being outside,” Eric said.

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