The Bois Brule River

The Brule River State Forest contains all 44 miles of the Bois Brule River (click on Forest Map for a map of the state forest and the river), one of the best known rivers east of the Mississippi.  For more than 100 years, it has been known as an exceptional trout stream.  The Brule River contains resident brook, brown and rainbow trout.  Lake-run brown and rainbow (steelhead) trout along with coho and chinook salmon migrate up the Brule annually from Lake Superior.

The river itself has 2 distinct personalities.  The upper river (the southern portion) flows through miles of coniferous bog and is fed by numerous springs.  When the river crosses the Copper Range, it begins a fall of 328 feet in the 18 miles to Lake Superior.  Here, flashing cascades tumble over rocks and ledges and between steep river bluffs forested with aspen and balsam fir.

The Forest Map download is a pdf file that require Adobe® Reader®. If you don't have this software you can download it free by clicking on the link below.


Upper river downstream from Stones Bridge

Big lake section

Lower river upstream from Wisconsin Highway 13

Enjoying the Brule

There is a mix of public and private land along the Brule River.  Most of the land along the upper river is privately owned.  We urge anglers and canoeists enjoying the river to be aware of the riparian ownership, to be familiar with the current Wisconsin stream access law, and to respect the rights of private landowners.  Details of the current stream access law can be found by clicking on Wisconsin Stream Access Law.  You can also view an informative video about the Brule by clicking on Enyoing the Brule.

Big Lake. The Winneboujou Club allows access to Big Lake via its walk-in canoe trail and landing. The Club issues annual Big Lake Access Passes for this use, and the Club recently revised the process it uses to issue the passes. Under the terms of the Winneboujou Club’s easement agreement with The Nature Conservancy, no commercial use is allowed via the walk-in trail. In addition, fires and overnight camping are not allowed. All items carried in must be carried out. This includes canoes, which cannot be left overnight. The application includes an option for an annual renewal. The Winneboujou Club hopes that everyone will care for and appreciate this resource that they are so blessed to share. To obtain a pass, download the application and follow the instructions (click here to download the application Big Lake Pass).

Access to Big Lake through the Winneboujou property is a privilege. Please obtain a pass if you wish to access the river at this point. It is important to respect the private ownership!

River Flows

The U.S. Geological Survey maintains a stream gauge on the Brule that is part of the National Streamflow Information Program.  To see up to date information on streamflow, click on Brule River Streamflow.  More information about the National Streamflow Information Program can be found by clicking on NSIP.