Steelheading In The Snow?

A steelhead — rainbow trout — attempts to leap a falls.

Steelhead anglers planning to fish tomorrow’s opener on Wisconsin’s Brule River have a lot more to think about than water conditions.

Snow conditions, to be precise.

Tonight’s forecast calls for 5 to 9 inches of snow to fall overnight, with a chance of 2 to 4 more inches before 1 p.m. on Saturday. Winds could gust up to 30 mph on Saturday. What all of that means for the roads that lead to angler parking lots along the river remains to be seen. But I’ll bet a lot of steelheaders will be packing a snow shovel along with their waders.

I seriously doubt that the forecast will change many Brule River steelheaders’ plans for Saturday. These are folks who are accustomed to sliding down remnant ice shelves and standing in 35-degree water for several hours for a chance to tie into one of Lake Superior’s chunky rainbows bound upriver to spawn. Some years, anglers have had to snowshoe to the river for the opener.

The steelhead opener on the Brule is a rite of spring — if you can call 5 to 10 inches of snow “spring” — and my hunch is few will want to miss it. This could be one of those epic openers that steelheaders talk about for years: “Remember that year it snowed 10 inches the night before the opener? That was crazy.”

Who wants to miss out on that kind of crazy?

I don’t. I’ll be there, not fishing but reporting along with News Tribune photographer Clint Austin.

See you there.