The number of steelhead rainbow trout, brown trout and salmon that ran up Wisconsin’s Bois Brule River last fall was up from 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported last week.
The DNR monitored upstream trout and salmon migration with digital video equipment from July 2 through Dec. 11, 2018, although the run was all but over after ice blocked the river in November.
The Steelhead count of 5,616 was considerably better than fall 2017 and about the same as 2015 and 2016, but still well below the high runs of 2002-2010.
Steelhead made up just over one-third of the total fall trout and salmon run. Two brook trout, one pink salmon, and 12 splake were also counted. Just over half of all steelhead ranged from 20 to 25-inches long, and 21 percent were 12 to 17-inches long.
The 5,616 steelhead counted at the Brule River lamprey trap was well above the modern low of some 3,000 in 2011 and well below the modern high of more than 9,000 in 2005.
The brown trout total was 4,212 in 2018 with 5,674 coho salmon and 398 chinook or king salmon.
The fall run is made up of fish that likely spent the winter in the upper reaches of the river before spawning in spring. Another run of trout and salmon will occur when ice leaves the river sometime in March or April. The Brule River steelhead season opens the last saturday in March.