Docks Day on Lake Superior

by | Aug 4, 2022 | fly fishing Lake Superior | 3 comments

fishing-bumI couldn’t wait to get back from Italy to once and for all start exploring the new waters around our Hayward, WI home.  Yeah, I hit the water some before I left for Italy, but I felt obligated to trout fish to be well tuned for the Worlds.  Once back I could do whatever fishing type I want.  But upon return, the Covid thing hit.  Not only was I feeling extremely bad, but I had to isolate and remained glued to our property.  Well, after feeling great the last two days, stir crazy hit and at 3 PM yesterday Granny and I loaded the Ruby Van and drove the hour north for Lake Superior for a night of camping and a day of shore fishing.


Bayfield-WisconsinWe camped a mile north of Bayfield.  We had to use an actual campground which we despise because of the crowds, but boondocking around here is tough.  There’s not a bunch of BLM land like out west and we aren’t yet familiar with the nooks and crannies for parking in the Great Northwoods.  Luckily the camp worked out and at 6 AM we left and I brewed our coffee at the closest parking spot to the Bayfield town docks on Lake Superior.


flyfishingBefore 7 AM the sun began to roast us.  The heat will surprise you here in the north.  But I rigged up my 6-weight Air 2 with a very heavy sinking line and a long piece of 0X Fluoro and two streamers.  Out towards the end of the dock we went – loaded Yeti’s in hand.


WW-flyfishingFishing was slow and I wasn’t surprised.  Word is that the big trout, salmon, pike and walleye slide deeper and offshore during the dog days of summer.  I picked up a tiny yellow perch to avoid a blank.


Currier-flyfishingAs I approached the end of the dock there was a rock jetty that continued.  Surely the rocks would hold some fish.  First cast I spooked what was perhaps the biggest bass I’ve ever seen in my life.  It was likely a smallmouth but I wasn’t sure.  Trembling with excitement, my next cast paralleled the rocky shoreline ahead of me.  I hooked up in an instant.


brown-troutA screaming run followed the hook up.  It wasn’t the gargantuan bass.  I suspected perhaps a coho salmon but then the sun lit the fish up and from afar I could see eraser head sized brown trout spots.  The oversized silvery-gold fish surged again then dove.  I always tell myself no more flip flops for shore fishing, but here I was again, rock hopping through the danger zone.


big-brownsAs I fought the brown I finagled myself to the water on a slightly submerged rock.  I forgot my net again just like May 19th.  This might even be the same brown trout.  The fish was tired from his hard fight and I slid him to my hands.  Terrible picture but he was a handful!


Jeff-Currier-brown-troutAs often is the case, photos don’t do this fish justice.  The brown was huge and thick in the girth.  He was also in immaculate condition.  Surely never met before by human hands.  The funny thing is, Granny and I were determined to take a fish home from the mighty Lake Superior.  We rarely harvested fish back I Idaho but here on a massive lake, what damage could it do?  But this fish was barely hooked and far too magnificent to eat.  We also had an audience of early morning tourists and boat captains starting their days.  After some photos, I let the beauty slide loose.  The wild Great Lake brown trout was out of there like Houdini!


Granny had to answer to the bystanders, “Oh my God!  You let that go?  Don’t you eat fish?  Those trout are delicious!”.  I chuckled as I went back to work with amazing confidence.  But that would be my one and only fish until afternoon.


bass-on-flyWe hit the Washburn coal dock with zero results.  The temperature continued to rise and there was no wind to speak of.  After Washburn we ran the dock tour of Ashland.  Again, no luck.  It was 1 PM and I was reluctant to continue.  We pulled into the “hot pond” area parking lot and I lit up the grill for some dogs.  While they cooked I couldn’t get my eyes off the turbulent current caused by the jetting factory plant discharge.  There had to be fish.


After my dogs I ventured out.  There was a bait ball of minnows.  I knew I struck gold.  Or should I say bronze.  I fished about 45 minutes and landed three chunky smallmouth bass.


It was a great day.  From now on I’ll refer to such days as the Lake Superior Docks tour.  If you add up todays casting hours, the fishing was slow.  But it was rewarding.  Those were some nice fish.  And best of all, my energy is back and I can honestly say I’m at 100% healed up!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. James Hersh

    Jeff you want choo for the table.GL Brown’s are not that tasty due to their diet.The true prize of the GLs is the Lake Perch which is one of the few fish I pursue just for the table.Blackened coho. is quite tasty also.There is no danger to the fish population by keeping a few fish from the GLs.

  2. Jeff

    James, we are true perch eaters as well! And thanks for the brown update. I’m glad I let him go. Like I mentioned in the blog, I was hoping coho but maybe this fall. And yes, I just need to whack a fish in the GL on occasion and not worry. Thanks for reading the blog!

  3. Matthew Norton

    Very nice Jeff. Personally I like the Browns from Superior. Much better than other lakes because of the cold water. See ya soon!

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!