James Eagan’s Fly Tips
“East Bay is in the heart of Grand Marais, and Grand Marais is in perfect East-West position on Highway 61 for spring-run fly-fishermen and women.
Our downtown protected harbor warms in the spring earlier than Lake Superior, and the warmer waters attract baitfish – and trout and salmon in pursuit of them. Streamers that can run deep (using sinking fly lines or split-shot or weighted flies) and retrieved slowly are the first recommendation; after that move to size #8-#12 generalized nymphs in the same manner.
Steelhead will be attracted to any spring-melt, rainwater flows coming down from the Sawbill Mountains, and this time of year many smaller creeks will attract steelhead. Any creek with an egress to Superior and with brown, warmer water is a possible spot to fish. Cast right into the culverts under 61 with an imitation egg – hard- or soft-plastic or yarn.
It’s not just the fish and the fishing that bring people to the North Shore. Several of the major rivers have magnificent cascades under which great pools have developed over millennia. Even smaller streams within 10-15 minutes of downtown Grand Marais have beautiful waterfalls under which steelhead stack up. In these waters, again, you may need weighted flies or weights to get down to the bottom of roiling pools. Stonefly and Prince nymphs are classic options; as are any egg imitation.
Remember that water temperature is important: generally, any ice needs to be out from the streams, with a temperature around 35F, for fish to move upstream. Peak spawn will occur at 42F. Rain is helpful: the second day following a good rain is often great. And it is very important to keep your eyes open and on the water with Polaroid sunglasses: fish where and when you see fish and more efficiently when you’re not.” – James Eagan
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Remember that water temperature is essential: generally, any ice needs to be out from the streams, with a temperature around 35F, for fish to move upstream. Peak spawn will occur at 42F. Rain is helpful: the second day following a good storm is often significant. And it is imperative to keep your eyes open and on the water with Polaroid sunglasses: fish where and when you see fish and more efficiently when you’re not.” – James Eagan
More Fishing Fun / Resources
As the snow melts the people and fun festivities of Grand Marais come alive. Check out these fun fishing activities to plan your summer weekends around.
- Take Mom Fishing Day – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Don’t leave mom at home this coming mothers day weekend. Instead, show her just how fun stream trout fishing can be on beautiful Lake Superior North Shore.
- Fly Fishing the Gunflint Trail – North House Folk School
This course is designed for the fly fisherman who wants to learn about different equipment, knots and fly fishing fundamentals.
- Build Your Own Custom Fishing Rod – North House Folk School Courses
The old saying to teach a man how to fish is one thing but NHFS are teaching students how to build their own fishing rods!
- Fly Fishing 2: Chasing the Hex – North House Folk School Courses
Learn how to tie the flies you’ll need to compete with the famous mayfly hatch.
- Fisherman’s Picnic – Grand Marais Lions Club
88th Annual Fisherman’s Picnic is one of the North Shore’s biggest celebrations! You don’t want to miss out on this one.