Back in Business as the Brule Reopens for Trout Season

Trout Season on the Brule River Opened Saturday, Mar. 27

BRULE, Wis. – Fly fishing is now the name of the game on the Brule River in Wisconsin.

This past Saturday, the trout season officially opened, and many avid anglers are thrilled to be back out doing what they love.

“Anything you need in the fly fishing world, I can provide it,” said John Fehnel, owner of Great Lakes Fly Shop.

If you ask Fehnel, he’ll tell you it’s been a busy, hectic few weeks at his shop in East Duluth.

“Early season they normally come in, they get their gear; they get their lines, leaders, fresh tippet because their stuff in the fall is probably all torn up,” said Fehnel.

The rapid pace of business this time of year is a welcome sight for Fehnel.

“I see old friends again. It’s amazing because I don’t see them for another year,” said Fehnel.

As nature starts to come alive once again, avid anglers are thrilled to be suiting up, picking the perfect flies, and wading into the now chilly, high rivers.

“The thing that you’ll find most about trout fishing versus some of the more popular bass, steelhead, is you do find seclusion. So you’ll find places you can fish and there’s nobody,” said Fehnel.

It’s a sense of relaxation, he says, that promotes his passion for the sport.

“As long as the river mouths are open, the fish will be in. I’m expecting it to be a really good season; there will be some nice fish in the rivers,” said Fehnel.

Just across the state line, Dave Zeug is seeing a spike in business at his quaint vacation rental.

“It’s the homestead. In 1892 or 1893, $8 filing fee, ya know. McNeil’s has been here ever since,” said Dave Zeug, owner of McNeil’s On The Brule.

The business flourishes thanks to trout fishing, and the serenity of the north woods.

“There will be people all over here and we’re going to know a lot of them. We know everybody’s first name. There’s Larry, and Joe, and Bill. It’s kind of like a reunion on the first day of spring on the Brule River,” said Zeug.

Dave himself is an avid angler. He says there’s nothing quite like fly fishing for the big ones.

“Steelheads are – you’ve got all the other fish and then you have Steelhead. They are what we live for up here,” said Zeug.

As he’s eager to wade back into the water and catch up with old friends, his goal isn’t to get dinner on the table.

“You catch them and let them go, that’s the name of the game,” said Zeug.

As the trout start to spawn, both of these men are optimistic for a strong season on the Brule.

“And don’t tell anybody about the walleyes that come in,” said Zeug. “That’s quiet!”

With secrets kept quiet, the only other advice to ensure a successful trip is to keep safety in mind.

“This is a good time, there’s a little bit of shelf ice along the river, so be careful. Wade with caution, the rivers will be high,” said Fehnel.

“We’ve met so many wonderful people here that were guests for a while, and all of a sudden they become friends,” said Zeug.

The Wisconsin DNR wants to remind those venturing out to the Brule, there is a limit of five trout and salmon in total.

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