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Steelhead anglers on Minnesota’s North Shore enjoyed some banner steelhead fishing days this spring. Returns of spawning steelhead to the DNR’s Knife River fish trap indicate it was a record year for wild steelhead returns since the trap began operating in 1996. As of last week, 680 steelhead had passed through the trap this spring. Although some total steelhead runs in recent years were higher, those runs included some hatchery-reared steelhead.

This year’s steelhead run also set a single-day record on April 18, when 157 steelhead were trapped and tagged, said Cory Goldsworrthy, Minnesota DNR, Lake Superior area fisheries supervisor. Despite low water early, conditions were right for a good run, Goldsworthy said. “We have water this year,” he said. “Last year at this time, there was still a bunch of ice on the lake. This year, we had a warm up with the snowmelt. This will be quite a spectacular year for steelhead numbers at the Knife River trap.” With the recent rain, there will be more steelhead coming.

Tough Kamloops Season

Returns of Kamloops rainbow trout, a hatchery reared strain, to the French River trap were up this spring but still below the long term average, DNR officials said. As of last week, a total of 731 Kamloops rainbows had returned to the French River trap, up from 437 in 2014. The long term average is 884. While those returns were encouraging, anglers still found it tough to catch Kamloops rainbows this spring. While Kamloops fishing was less productive than anglers liked, they enjoyed very good coho salmon fishing offshore in March. DNR fisheries crews trap Kamloops rainbows at the French River trap each spring, take eggs from females and use them to rear fish for the following year’s stocking. For the full story read Sam Cook’s article in the Duluth News Tribune’s article in the Sport’s page May 17, 2015.

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