Brule River Fall Steelhead Run Improves

An angler fishes for steelhead on Wisconsin’s Brule River on opening day of the season in 2012. (News Tribune file photo)

Steelhead anglers reported catching good numbers of steelhead on Wisconsin’s Brule River last fall, and now official counts confirm a solid rebound in the spawning run after a poor 2011 run.

A total of 4,594 steelhead were counted by the Department of Natural Resources last fall, up from 2,933 in 2011.

Last fall’s run topped the Brule’s 10-year fall-run average for the 1990s but was about 33 percent less than the 10-year average from the 2000s, DNR officials said in their report, issued Thursday.

The low fall run in 2011 raised concern among some anglers and DNR fisheries officials, but many anglers believed the river would bounce back.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape for this year,” said Paul Piszczek, DNR senior fisheries biologist for Lake Superior. “We’re probably expecting 6,000 fish again (in the combined fall-spring run) if all goes normally for the spring run. That kind of puts us back in the ballpark we’d like to see.”