Hunting Hex’s on the Brule River

by | Jul 1, 2024 | fly fishing the Brule River | 0 comments

Brule-RiverThe great fishing isn’t the only fun and refreshing part of our big move from Idaho to Wisconsin two years ago, it’s been the reacquaintance with old friends and the making new friends.  I have a lot of buddies to fish with.  Today, Tim Nolde treated me to a late afternoon/evening canoe trip on the famous Boise Brule River not too far from home.



Boise-Brule-RiverI rarely mention names of fisheries.  But mentioning big names like the Snake River, Lake Superior, Henry’s Fork and today’s trip on the Brule, is no big deal.  Here in Wisconsin the Brule is perhaps its most renowned trout fishery.  The upper river where Tim treated me is famous for its amazing late night Hexagenia hatch.  Back in March you saw me chasing steelhead on the lower sections.


WisconsinTim picked me up at the house at 3 PM and by 4 we were easing our way down river in hopes of finding the Hex hatch.  I was a lucky guy because Tim was full on guiding me.  I was fishing my Winston 9-foot 4-weight Pure.  I’m happy to say this favorite trout rod of mine has been getting more use this summer than the last two combined.



Boise-Brule-riverThere was no hatch when we started but word on the street was that there were bugs last night so I had on a smallish Hex pattern.  It was actually one of my old Henry’s Fork Brown Paradrakes.  Even though the hatch wasn’t happening I knew fish would gulp it down if they saw it.  The only concern was that it was bright and sunny.  On this tight-quartered river trout can tuck way back under the brushy logjammed banks.


brook-troutAs you would suspect, regardless of the high sun, I kept my flight drifting tight to the bank and to our delight there were plenty of hungry fish.  Most of them brook trout.  I probably landed ten with several about what you see here.  I’ll take these guys on dry flies any day.



Currier-flyfishingLo and behold, I also stuck this nice brown trout.  It was an exciting eat as well.  The water is dark here and as I watched my fly drifting down a deep bank off a sunken branch I could see a white line of lips easing out and up to intercept.  Just as my fly got there that big mouth opened and I drove my Paradrake home.  This frisky dude put up a heck of a fight.


Brule-RiverTim took us down as far as the Buckhorn.  It’s a piece of private property that the owner generously lets folks hang out at.  Its great to see that people here are very respectful.  There wasn’t a hint of trash and little sign that it actually ever gets used.




Tim busted open his cooler and had some chicken and potato salad for dinner.  We followed that up with a couple beers.  We were waiting for the Hex’s to begin.  At 7:30 we saw one flutter past from upstream so we began the slow paddle back up.  We were downstream a couple miles from the parking lot.


We picked up a couple more brookies the next hour.  There were a few caddis hatching and we saw exactly two more Hex’s.  But unfortunately massive mayflies never hatched.  Strange thing, there were no mosquitos tonight either.  I’ve always found the worse the mosquitos the better the hatch.  A definite correlation.


Hex-hatchAt 9 PM we were within a half mile of the parking lot.  Sure enough a few other Hex diehards were out.  This one here had been out every night this week and said the hatch was good last night.  He recommended we give it till at least 10 before giving up.


At exactly 9:45 is when it went from evening to flat out night.  Literally at that minute the singing from white-throated sparrows, robins and others gave way to the night birds.  In the distance we listened to barred owls and up and down the river came the calls from the whippoorwills.  While folks that have whippoorwills living on their rooftops aren’t fans, when you’re fishing its one of the true sounds of summer in the Great Northwoods.


Fishing in the dark on a tight trout stream isn’t something I claim to be good at.  In fact, last time I held a rod on a trout stream at night was with my friend the legendary Joe Humphreys in Pennsylvania.  I only held my rod and never made a cast that night because if you don’t know where you’re at the trees and bushes will menace you to death.  Tonight was different because I was in a canoe and Tim had me pointed the right direction, but man did I screw up a few browns.  I hooked and lost two big ones.  I broke one off, although a bad night time knot could have something to do with it, and I missed at least a couple.


Spotted-CowWe pulled off the river in darkness at 10:45.  While my fish landing after dark ratio dropped dramatically it was still a blast trying.  No doubt I’ll have better strategies to work with next time.  Plain and simple, the strategy would be a short 71/2 foot leader and 1X tippet instead of a 9-foot 4X.


I fished a bunch of days in June and it looks like July should be the same.  I am in absolute heaven so far this summer.  The weather appears to go south on us tomorrow with cold temps and rain but we’ll see.  I might pack the waders up and go for a drive.  Stay tuned. . . .


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


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Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

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!