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6-1-03 - Chief was first to the river and already stalking the pods of fish.
Fish, Fish, Fish, Fish, Fish, Fish, Fish....Greg supplied this photo (Copyright © 2003 Greg Posdal)
It's not too often you see a pic of your author, MP! Greg was kind enough to shoot a few! Thanks Greg! (Copyright © 2003 Greg Posdal)
From top to bottom: FAT, Chief, Duke and the largest brown of the weekend, pushing 18" or so.
Granted, this fair hooked sucker was the biggest fish of the weekend. FAT consoled me and said "Sucker's are the hardest to catch; you're definitely not skunked anymore!" Eh...I still need trout.
Tim found a couple nice stocker rainbows!
Brennon and a gorgeous 12" brown!
French Creek..back to fly-only no kill water.
I found this area rather tough...small and a lot of open sunny water...therefore a lot of spooky trout.
Patience is required to unskunk one's self. This 10-12" brown did it for me.
What a gorgeous fish..and for all intents and purposes this is probably a wild brown.
Three amigos head off into the sunset...well technically about 3:30 PM. (Copyright © 2003 Greg Posdal)

6-1-03 - Iowa, part 3/3!

Rivers Fished: Waterloo, Upper Portion of Lower French Creek
Fish Caught: 2
Outing Date: 6-1-03
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: 40's in the morning, up to 70's
Water Temp: French was 60F.
Water Level: Assuming Normal
Water Color: Crystal
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Suckers
Pattern Fished: MP's Antron Bug, small nameless Partridge nymph; other unproductive patterns included Black Nosed Dace
Pattern Color: Herring on the Antron, olive on the Partridge
Fishing Quality: Another good day!

Now, in my book sleeping in would be like 9:00 or 10:00 AM. Yeah right, I'm with FAT, I SHOULD know better ;) I got the "get up, it's time to fish" at about 7:30 LOL! Tim and Brennon had been out since 5:15, and Greg was just milling around since 6:00 AM waiting for us to wake up.

I admit I was a bit tired, but came-to pretty soon. We went back to the Waterloo to fish another stretch we hadn't done yet. Man, there were FISH EVERYWHERE. Greg went downstream, FAT & the boys parked by the bridge (Tim said they weren't biting) and I opted to go upstream to the barrier of private land.

I took my time scouting as I walked up, knowing that I'd fish it on my way back. I didn't spook up ANYTHING in the stretch I chose, but I knew there MIGHT still be fish. My lanyard had gone missing, so I was kinda frustrated and wasted a lot of time trying to tie on tiny flies while cutting tippet with my teeth. NOT EASY.

I took a fair amount of time working the stream ALL the way back to the bridge...in reality perhaps a bit more time than needed. I hadn't seen anything. I came back down to Rich and the boys and they already had a couple nice ones! Got a bit more frustrated.

Nothing was taking the little Antron, so I changed through a few streamers but still no fish. Meanwhile Dutton pulled a fast one on all of us and landed the largest brown trout of the weekend (see picture at right!). Chief had landed one similar, maybe only 1" less, the day before! Those boys outfished ALL the men...as usual! Man they were trash talking all weekend...it's hilarious! If FAT says he's bringing the boys, welcome the opportunity...they are some of the best fishing companions I have ever met 'cause they dish it out better than anyone else!

So finally I turned to FAT and asked for his advice...ended up setting up like we do for steelhead with splitshot and in my case I tossed on an indicator...it's sets the drift up right and gets the fly down fast. I tied on a fly sent in by Steve Promber for the Salmon swap...his steely stone nymph tied in Black and Red.

After several drifts a large fish moved forward...this all happened in plain view. It's lips jutted out and it sucked the fly right out of the water column...wait...trout don't have lips! DAMN! It's a SUCKER!!!! HUGE too. Unfortunately it put up one crappy fight. The boys got a kick out of it; they told me that a sucker detracts one fish from your total...so right now I was at -1 according to Chief and Dutton. GREAT.....

FAT at least came to my rescue and told me I was no longer skunked and that suckers are actually the most difficult to catch. Whether he was full of BS just trying to cheer me up or not, it did bring a bit of confidence back. As they got ready to go (they did take their time) I fished the hole from the other side. Drift drift drift and then my indicator stopped and moved slightly upstream...wham I set the hook! I pulled in the largest brown I landed all weekend....just one problem...it was FOULED on the tail. GREAT way for me to start the day. A 100% without a doubt FAIR HOOKED SUCKER followed by a fouled brown??? And to top it off, the brown was all deformed; he had a spinal twist like we sometimes see in hatchery fish that have nutritional deficiencies.

CRAPOLA. We left the Waterloo around 11:00 maybe...Tim had 2 nice rainbows + a brown he let go, and Brennon had a nice brown to show for his early morning efforts, probably released several more. I'm not sure but I think Greg was also getting off to a rocky start this morning...meanwhile the boys had slammed them to the point of actually having a fish BREAK one of their rods.

We got back to camp to pack up and at this point I was just plain old under the weather. A headache had crept up, I was tired, and to boot my nose was stuffed. I think it was a combination of allergies and frustration/tension combined with the fact that I hadn't gotten my regular dose of morning caffeine.

That wasn't going to stop me though. We made our way to French Creek...Rich hadn't fished in in 3 years and wanted to see how things were cookin. The French is Browns & Brookies (Brookies in the absolute uppermost section as they are naturally reproducing natives under special management). The 6 of them were on their way in no time, but I was floundering. I sat for a while and contemplated a nap, but then again I figured by the time I'd wake up they'd come back and say "Time to Go". OK, so I made a deal with myself. ONE TROUT, and then you can sleep.

I totally dragged myself to the creek, and went downstream until I found a spot that had some tree shade over the water. In the flats under the tree I spooked up a sizable pod of trout...probably 18 to 24 fish. I went downstream a bit more but didn't see anything I really liked, so I came back, sat down on the bank and waited.

So I sat COOKING in the sun and the biting flies found me. So here I am, sitting in the sun looking at slow moving water...flys buzzing around me and biting me. I was somewhat entertained by the fact that one fly in particular sounded like a miniature biplane, but that wasn't MUCH of a saving grace. Ok. ONE TROUT, that's ALL I NEED.

I did the best I could to block the headache out and muster up my best game possible. I was out of my go-to fly so I looked around and an olive partridge nymph size 20 seemed like a worthwhile offering. 2lb tippet (basically 7X) was on as it had been all weekend. I had NO backcast, so a roll cast was my only option.

And thus I started. Cast directly across stream in front of me and let it swing. Take out 2 more feet of line, cast just a bit downstream, and let it swing. I repeated the process until I got to the point where I could not roll cast if I had more line out.

3 runs through this casting series I got my first hit, and it came off. A second hit followed, again it came off. Now, the frustration starts to get to you when all you want is ONE TROUT and they you're "going home".

The third hit came, and I almost got him in. My instinct on a little fish like this is to raise the rod first, ask questions later. In my fatigue, I can't grip the line to strip it in...my rod is now at 12 o'clock...crap! I start leaning backwards, still flailing trying to get ahold of line so I can strip it in! RATS...he came off about 6 feet downstream as I failed to keep the tension on. Now imagine a tension headache behind your eyes, your sinuses, and the back of your neck, and all you want is ONE TROUT.

Aha, the fourth hit came...and was off. I could've killed something at this point. I'm getting bitten by flies, I'm 0/4, I have a bad headache, I'm baking in the sun and I can tell I'm ripe, and all I want is ONE TROUT.

I cast again. I cast again. I cast again. Where is my trout?

I cast again. It swings...it pauses...it continues on it's swing. Was that a take? No...it couldn't be. I pull back and no...nothing on the line. I repeat the same cast. It pauses again. Instead of waiting I SET the HOOK and my line TEARS through the water as a fish pulls hard. NO WAY IS THIS FISH GETTING AWAY! This time I get my hands on the line and strip it in..then I worry about bringing my rod up. "Keep the tension on" I tell myself. All that stands between me and this trout is my bigger brain, 2lb fluorocarbon and a size #20 hook. Somehow I managed to land this fish, a great brown about 10"...what a gift from the trout gods. The color was gorgeous, I had my trout, it was time for me to go.

The walk back to the truck was tiring, but I felt satisfied. I slept as best I could for about an hour at the most, when Rich, Chief and Dutton showed up. In that time Greg had gone 2/5 (I think that's what he said) and FAT was 3/5. It was 4:00, time to head back to Burlington. Tim and Brennon were still on the creek so I'm not sure how they did, but knowing them they surely were not skunked either. Greg got some Excedrin for me and I got the big 1 liter of Mt. Dew...an hour later I was in the truck on the ride home feeling very refreshed. NOW I was ready to fish again :P Since I didn't get to finish my day right, guess where I'll be spending next weekend?

  MP 

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