:: About the Brule River Valley ::
Welcome…natural retreat vacation….
The Brule River is a constantly changing, 4- season natural environment.
The Brule River was first explored and described by the French explorer, Sieur du Luht, in the late 1600s. The Brule soon became a superhighway for the French voyaguers, who found it led upstream to Upper St. Croix Lake. This lake is headwaters of the Brule (which runs north), and the St. Croix River (which runs south and joins the Mississippi, to Minneapolis, and New Orleans). Before the most recent ice ages, what is now the Brule is said to have run south, from Lake Superior. In the logging days of the 1800s, famed lumberman Weyerhauser recognized that the Brule River was a unique environment and a historical place. Sparing the Brule Valley his axe, he donated the land adjacent to the Brule River back to the state of Wisconsin. Today the Brule River State Park and Forest provides the unique habitat for multiple uses: wildlife protection; recreation; well-maintained and historical residences; camping (DNR Campground) and public access at multiple points. The Brule boasts some of the best canoeing, as well as catch-and-release trout fishing in the upper midwest, but very few get to enjoy it from the luxury of a pristine private residence.
Spring: March 21-mid June
The Spring steelhead run begins in late March, as the ice goes out of the Brule River. Fish the mouth of the Brule, or as far South as Highway 2. The trout opener on the upper Brule usually starts the first weekend in May (which can be snowy, wet, or nice, sometimes all on the same day). Plan a trip from Stones Bridge on opening day, drift and fish 13 miles (2-5 hours, depending on how much fishing and whether you stop for lunch at one of several lunch grounds along the way). You will end up at your very own canoe landing at the foot of Ashland Lake, fifty feet from the cabin. Mayfly hatches pick up the first few weeks of June. Fish from the dock, upstream (Spring Lake, Lucius Lake, or Big Lake), or downstream.
Summer: June 15-September 20
The June mayfly hatches pick up, approximately June 15-30, including both the green drake and brown drake hatches, great fishing for rainbows, browns, and brookies. June through September is the best time for canoeing the Brule. Starting from Stone’s Bridge, 13 miles from the residence, a gentle stream winds its way through mostly old growth conifer forests (Norway and white pine). You will pass Cedar Island, a famed lodge and 3,000 acres of nature preserve, where six American Presidents passed their summer days (those were the days). Gentle rapids, gradually increasing in size and excitement, provide beautiful views and fishing experiences for all ages. The trip ends at your own dock, one of only two on Ashland Lake. Other day trips include: from the residence to the DNR campground, or Highway 2 (2-4h); from Highway F to Pinetree (fast water, ledges, excitement, usually 2-3h). Call Brule River Canoe rental for pickup and delivery. Top it off with sunbathing on the private deck; swimming in Ashland Lake (holes, both in front of the house, or off the island nearby); cocktails (on the deck or dock – world’s greatest cocktail lounge); barbecue on the deck; or a walk in the woods, along your 1,000 ft+ of shoreline, including all of Ashland Lake. Day trips to Apostle Islands (boat to Madeline Island), Duluth, Ashland, Chequemegon (p. ‘shwamagon’) Peninsula, or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, all within one to two hours. Berry picking and wild flowers abound in the woods and along the numerous trails and roads. For a river tour of the stately 19th century homes of the Winneboujou Club, drift North from the residence as far as the Winneboujou Bridge (1.25 miles) canoe landing on Highway B. For some kid fun, take the little ones (and big ones too) to May’s Ledges, 10 miles north of the residence on Highway H. They can hide behind waterfalls, or ride gently over the ledges on their backs. At night, have a picnic on Lake Superior at the nearby Mouth of the Brule (great sandy beaches, wonderful views of the largest freshwater lake in the hemisphere). For lake swimming, take the kids to the nearby Lake Nebagamon beach area. For a steak or walleye dinner nearby, try The Spot, or Deep Lake Lodge, or The Hermitage, all near Iron River. If you feel up to the Wisconsin tavern life, try The Lake bar in Lake Nebagamon, Prevost’s Tavern (Solon Springs), or the Crow Bar in Brule. Children are generally welcome.
Take it easy
Some of the best summer days at Brule are spent doing nothing at all, except, walking in the woods, or sitting on the front porch with a binoculars, in a bathing suit, viewing the eagle, osprey, deer, an amazing variety of birds and other wildlife as you sip your favorite beverage and barbecue your favorite food, sunbathe, and read a book. Unlike most popular tourist destinations, where you are inundated with commercialized, crowded, and costly living, Brule is an escape environment, where you share the privacy and solitude of nature with the ones you love, and find recreational activities for all ages, young and old. Brule is also a writer’s and artist’s retreat, where you can enjoy the relaxation of being with your family and friends, while working in a quiet and pristine environment, without the distractions of daily life.
Fall: Labor Day-December 20
Fall colors come in early September, while late September and early October bring the Coho salmon run (from Lake Superior), as well as hunting seasons for grouse and turkey. The fall steelhead run starts in Late September, and peaks in late October, early November. Deer are abundant in the woods of northern Wisconsin, and can be hunted by bow, gun, or black powder. The eleven acres including the residence is posted, and can be hunted by written permission of Bois Brule, LLC, only. It is surrounded by large areas of State Forest land, where public hunting is permitted. The gun season coincides with Thanksgiving week, so don’t forget to wear your orange outerwear if you venture into the woods during that time.
Winter: Late December-March 20
The season us dominated by winter sports, especially cross country skiing. There are many miles of hunter walking trails (mapped), starting at the residence, for great ski-out, ski-in experiences. Strap on a suitable pair of skis, or snowshoes, and head out for some great exercise. Try skiing the hunter walking trails that go uphill from Castle Road, or venture across Castle Bridge and ski through the Winniboujou Club, finishing up back on Castle Road a half mile from your driveway. Rent snowmobiles at the Ski-Doo rental on Highway 2 at the After Hours Road, near Brule. You can still canoe the winter wonderland of Brule during most, if not all, of the winter. But don’t tip over! It is awfully cold, albeit spring –fed, and clean. The Christmas holiday season at Brule is great, and you can pick your own tree. If you like downhill skiing, head to Duluth (40 miles) to Spirit Mountain, or 80 miles to Giant’s Ridge, or 90+ miles to the Upper Peninsula, where several ski areas thrive on lake-effect snow. Rent snowmobiles and try the wooded rail bed trails passing through Brule.
Transportation to and from Brule:
By air: Fly into Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) airport, or Duluth (DLH), Minnesota, and rent a car. Brule is approximately 40 miles E. of Duluth. Drive to Brule, or fly yourself (private airports are located in Iron River (Y77); Ashland (ASX); and Solon Springs.
The residence was built in 1963 by Corrin and Mary Hodgson, Brule River afficianados, and it is still owned by the Hodgson family today, as Bois Brule, LLC. It is a cedar 1-1/2 story home overlooking the river, with 3 BR (sleeps 7), 2 bath, 2 car garage home on 11.2 acres, with over a thousand feet of River frontage, located in an old growth pine forest (cedars, white, and Norway pine, birch, and poplar). Daily or weekly maid service is available, or upon request. There are three canoes and one kayak available for local use, or for downriver trips.
Summer temperatures range from 50s at night, to 70s and 80s during the day. Fall can bring early snow or cold weather (generally 30s-60s). Winter brings lake-effect snow, and temperatures range from -30F to high 30s). Spring covers the range, from cold wintery days to summery days. In all seasons, the weather is dominated by Lake Superior. The Brule is largely spring-fed, and remains mostly open during the entire year.