French River Fishing

Posted at: 04/10/2013 4:56 PM
Updated at: 05/01/2013 4:51 PM
By: Laura Kennedy

Fishermen spend all winter waiting to hit the water, searching for salmon and trout. But this year, their wait is a little longer than usual.

"I was kind of hoping the rivers would be open, but I drove past the Lester and it was still a solid block of ice," said Michael Chiovitte, a Hermantown native.

Instead, Chiovitte joined some other eager anglers in French River, hoping to land a fish on the shore of Lake Superior.

"I figure since I ain't got nothing else to do, I'll just stay down here as long as the weather permits," Chiovitte said. "Sometimes it gets too rough down here."

Don Newbarth has been fishing for kamloop rainbow trout, also known as "loopers," since the 1980s.

"I fish them all the way from October until they run the rivers," he said.

Despite the wind and waves, he managed to land a fish.

"I had one bite and landed one fish about 26 inches," Newbarth said. "The water is real cold yet so they're a little lethargic. But once it tends to warm up now, things will get a lot better."

For these veteran fishermen, it's all about the thrill of the chase.

"The challenge I guess is the thing I like the most," Newbarth said. "Catching them, eating them, nothing I don't like about it."

"It is fun to catch one. The trout down here put up a good fight, and they're good to eat," Chiovitte said.

For Chiovitte, chasing trout sometimes prevails over his pursuit of the Minnesota state fish.

"Most years, right when walleye season opens I'd rather come down here and fish trout because everyone else is fishing walleye," Chiovitte said.

Wind, rain or snow, there's never a wasted day fishing along the North Shore.