Wow. You’ve got some GREAT water in that area. Lot’s of options, and of course the GL tribs will be teeming with lake-run fish, including big browns probably in Oct and steelhead as well as SMB in the St Louis and Cloquet.
In addition to the Lester, there’s the Gooseberry, Temperance and Baptism in N Minn. A good resource for you if you’re near Duluth are the guys at the Great Lakes Fly Angler in Duluth. They can hook you up with flies and info on the area, as well as general info on N. Wisc rivers like the Brule, Namekagon, White, and Amnicon.
And as Basher suggested, go to the DNR website to get more info/maps on trout streams and pay special attention to the regs for the waters you intend to fish for info on closed seasons/stretches, special regs for fish with unclipped fins (wild instead of stocked fish) etc.
Here’s a good resource for the UP
Trout and Salmon fishing in the Upper Pensisula of Michigan/ Rivers and Streams
As far as flies go, there are two ways to go…. “general anytime anywhere” stuff, and specific patterns to “match the hatch”.
I would do a little of both. A basic box might look something like this:
Woolly Bugger (bead head, black, size #10)- for fishing deep pools, ponds, lakes for trout and bass. Cast out, let sink a bit, and bring back with a strip strip pause retrieve.
Sculpin (this could be a regular muddler, size #8, or a black marabou muddler, or zoo cougar in size #6) Great for deep pools and big browns, as well as bass. Fish the same way as the bugger.
Pheasant Tail Nymph (bead head size #16) good imitation for small mayfly nymphs
Gold Ribbed Hare Ear Nymph (Bead head size #14) good imitation for medium and large size mayfly nymphs
Wet Flies (Partridge and Orange size 16 and Green Deep Sparkle Pupae size 14) These are easy to fish, and imitate emerging mayflies or drowned adult mayflies and caddis (P&O) and emerging caddis (Sparkle Pupa) Just cast out across stream in moving water and let swing in the current until it’s directly below you down stream.
Parachute Adams (sizes 14, 16, 18) Good dry fly to imitate mayflies in slow water
Griffiths Gnat (size 18 or 20) This is a good imitation for really tiny (size 22-28) mayflies and midges, it imitates a cluster of them and is easier to see, better hook holding power than the tiny imitations.
Elk Hair Caddis ( tan, size 16) imitates a variety of caddis, good in fast and slow water
Wulff (Gray, Ausable, or Royal, size 14) good fast water mayfly imitation for riffles
All of the above are good searching flies when nothing is going on, and can also be good during some hatches. Just pick something that’s as close to the natural in size.
But specific patterns may work a bit better when there is a lot of surface activity during a specific hatch. For “Matching the Hatch” – I would take a look at a hatch chart like these:
Minnesota Hatch Charts
Using these you can get a general idea of the flies and emergence of major hatches in your area. Not all streams will have all the same hatches, and times may be abit off--- maybe a week or two later for North than Southern water, but it’ll give you a pretty good idea of the goings on during the season. In NY I fish many of the same hatches during roughly the same times of year. Using charts like this you can pick up flies based on when you are going to fish. So for example in August you’d might want to pick up some of these to add to your basic stuff:
Grasshoppers size #10
Ant or beetle size #14 or 16
Blue Wing Olive size 16-20
White Miller Caddis size 12
White Wulff or Light Cahill size 14 to imitate the “white fly hatch” of mayflies which typically happens in August during late afternoon and evenings.
Orange Stimulator #6 (to imitate the large caddis “Giant Rusty Sedge”)
Local shops will have more info on local streams and will also be a great source of info on access to area streams and conditions and hot patterns.
One area of fly fishing that may be difficult to get your head around at first is getting a natural drift of your fly in moving water. There’s a good article you can google up by typing in “mending midcurrent article” and there are some good free video stuff out there on casting “fast takes casting part one two three youtube”
Hope some of this helps…