6-8-03 - The Triple Slam was SOOOO close....I hope
you won't get sick of fish pictures ;)
Rivers Fished: Waterloo Creek, Trout River
Fish Caught: 16
Outing Date: 6-8-03
Weather: "Schizophrenic" as Dave described it
Air Temp: 60's
Water Temp: See below
Water Level: Pretty Normal
Water Color: Waterloo = Waterford, Trout River = cloudy, maybe 2'
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: beadhead caddis nymph in grey & gold, size 16.
Pattern Color: see above
Fishing Quality: FIRST CLASS!
Sunday was going to be a fun day; it had rained
overnight again so we really weren't sure what to expect. Another
Mountain Dew & Pop-Tart breakfast got me feeling good and ready
to go fishing around 7:30 am. Dave from Creekside Outfitters in
Chesterton Indiana had been camping with 2 guys, Danny & Brendon.
They stopped by in the morning; apparently despite their best efforts
the rain had still gotten into the tent and some sleeping bags were
The plan was to meet back up around 12:30 at camp;
Rich was going to fish in the morning with the boys and then head
home after 1:00 to spend time with the rest of his family. So in
the morning, it was my job to take us upstream on the Waterloo to
see what we could find.
I lead the caravan, with Bart & M behind and
FAT bringing up the rear...we headed through Dorchester and up the
road along the Waterloo; we passed 2 new access points along they
way. The first was pretty close to town, the other was being camped
at. At some point the road is supposed to cross OVER the Waterloo
and then vear away to the west, but I never saw that. Before long
we ended up at the Minnesota border; a U turn followed and we went
back down to an access point that you REALLY wouldn't notice driving
The water was a bit smaller up here, but it was
crystal clear. Rich scouted a bit, didn't see ANY fish, so he went
downstream with the boys. As they pulled away, I hooked into my
first brown of the day and gave a shout up to the road, holding
my prize. There were indeed fish to be had here! Not long after
I pulled out Rainbow #1 which Bart was kind enough to land.
I set Chromeseeker up and showed him what I was
doing...before long he too had his first brown of the day. I looked
around and decided the area just wasn't big enough for the three
of us, so I left Bart & M to work the stream while I ran all
the way back to camp to use the facilities.
So in only 15 minutes or so I already had 2 fish
under my belt...maybe this would be my 30 fish day? I met back up
with FAT and the boys working a nice hole...in no time I managed
another bow. Bart and M showed up and worked the areas downstream...after
a while I moved down and learned that Bart was something like 0/12
at this point.
A bit further downstream I found the honey hole,
a deep pool with lots of current. Little fish, big fish, simply
lots of fish and they were actively feeding. Treating this hole
like I was "chucking and ducking", simply feeding my fly
in at the tip and following the vertical line with my rod tip produced
a number of strikes and looks. Brown, Bow, and a couple more browns
came out for me. The BEST missed opportunity was a HUGE brown that
was in the pool; at first I thought he was a carp. But then, he
took a snap at my fly and I saw this HUGE MOUTH open...carp don't
have "huge mouths"! I also had another big brown come
after but come off. This was a sweet little place, however landing
fish without a net was REALLY tough here...the bank was at least
a couple feet above the water.
Bart and M moved downstream to try the hole, and
I went back up...some holes had biting fish, other holes had fish
that wouldn't touch anything. I eventually made it back up to the
boys and FAT; they had been slamming them on just about anything.
We were getting pretty close to 12:15 which is when I figured we
should leave, but I had time for a few more casts.
On only my first or second cast I connected with
a nice fat rainbow. No aerobatics involved here, just a lot of rolling
and churning at the surface. I'm sure Rich was just goofing around,
but he yelled to the boys, "Get Back, Matt got our big rainbow!"
Rich landed this guy for me; he was really good
about guiding the leader through his hands without actually grabbing
it. Watch him do this once and you'll might learn something; I did.
We got him onto shore and I had FAT take my picture several times
(I need to teach him how the camera works...it delays just a bit
before shooting the picture so MOST of them were a blur of grass
and not much else).
Bart came up and had gone a total of 6 fish in
the morning...not too bad for a guy who's only been inland twice.
I think M actually was skunked at this point...not to worry...we'd
get her into fish sooner or later.
So it was close to 12:30, but we had to clean our
fish. A total of 15 fish were kept in the morning, 12 were the 100%
guilt free stocker rainbows, and 3 were browns that were bleeding
upon coming to shore, so again pretty guilt free. The boys did it
again, landing the largest fish of they day, a really nice brown
around the 18" mark. Bart hadn't done too badly either, a nice
brown easily over 12" with great color.
It was a little late by the time we got back to
camp. We helped Rich with whatever we could, and Dave & crew
came over after they had finished lunch. After getting everything
together, Bart, M and I said our good-byes to FAT, Chief and Dutton
and headed over to the restaurant for a quick bite.
I gotta say the food was great and REALLY inexpensive.
Bart polished off TWO bacon-double cheeseburgers in the time it
took me to consume my huge Breaded Pork sandwich. Best part, everything
was like $2.50. The Sportsman's restaurant gets a Five Star Rating
for friendly service, and inexpensive good food. Considering that
it's probably the ONLY restaurant in Dorchester, I'm totally satisfied!
So Dave and his crew had done really well on the
Waterloo that morning. Danny took the cake, having already gone
for a 30 fish day! Outstanding. I was 4 browns and 4 bows personally.
I'd have to do some catch-up. So we were discussing where we should
go, and I brought up the Trout River. I was still without a brookie
and really wanted to land one of those slabs! Another possibility
was to go back to the French, but after some discussion we settled
on the Trout River.
Probably a 35 minute drive later, we were on our
spot! Only one other angler was in the area, and I didn't run into
them during that time. Brendon, Danny and I went upstream, while
Bart, M and Dave went down.
I didn't waste much time in getting to the uppermost
pool where we had done well the day before. My first strike didn't
connect, but then a fish rose at the tail. A well placed cast got
the attention of the fish, and I pulled out a brown?!?! According
to the info on the Iowa DNR website, there aren't any browns stocked
in the river.
Meanwhile Danny came up and started working the
pool beneath me, another hot one that I hadn't turned squat in on
Saturday. Within a few casts he hooked up; I whipped on the camera
and got a couple shots of him landing a nice rainbow.
Shortly thereafter I hooked up with fish number
2, another nice bow taken from the far side of the pool in the fast
water. A solid hit, no problem bringing him in. Dave came upstream
and suggested an alternate method...he managed a bite in the pool
but didn't land 'em...I stuck with the cross stream drift &
swing that had been working consistently for me, although I have
used Dave's downstream drift method many times before. More than
anything else, I just wasn't prepared to stand in the ice cold water!
Dave also informed me that Bart had brought one in downstream, a
nice brown. Where were all these browns coming from? Well, according
to Dave's info just about all of the good trout streams support
populations of browns...whether they are stocked or not. Hmm..that
would make sense I guess. Then I got to thinking; I could pull the
TRIPLE SLAM HERE! I already had the brown and the bow, all I needed
was the brookie, and this stream was supposed to be full of them!
Meanwhile Dave started moving back down to the
hole that Bendon had camped out, and I continued to fish the "honey
hole". I managed another bite from a decent size fish...could've
been my brookie?! I'll never know though, the fish came off. After
that the bite seemed to taper off, and I opted to go downstream.
As I came down, Danny moved out of the hole. Even
though he had been fishing it for a while and DAVE had come through
and fished it too, I put a cast into the stream from high up on
the bank. On my FIRST CAST I connected with another small brown!
DARN, not a brookie!
I managed to sight a second fish that was feeding
on the bottom...definitely a trout though based on it's movements.
I probably spent way too much time on this spot trying to get a
fish that wasn't interested in biting.
So I continued downstream and passed Dave &
Brendon who both had a couple 'bows under their belts at this point.
I went back to the spot where we pulled the brookies the day before,
and daringly drifted my fly under a downed tree in the river....
TUG TUG TUUUUUGGGG and my drag started whirring.
This was a nice fight! As I brought the fish close to the surface
for the first time, I was pretty sure this was a rainbow, a NICE
rainbow. He wasn't about to come to the surface and dove deep into
the gut of a run, in the process getting my leader into some submerged
roots and sticks.
I could FEEL the line grinding on the underwater
wood...all I could do was maintain tension and try to pull the fish
out from underneath. Only the fish knows how I got him out..but
I did...and then fought him for another minute or two before I was
able to land him a bit downstream. I think this 'bow qualifies as
the largest one I landed this weekend...very fat and chunky.
Again, I wasted way too much time trying to turn
yet another fish out of this small hole, and then I wasted more
time going through the hole that both Dave & Bendon had worked
over. Eventually I met up with Bart & M downstream; they hadn't
had much success. Danny whacked a couple more in a long run where
they were rising and taking Elk-Hair Caddis. I kept going downstream
and found another promising hole. No dice! Dave & Brendon came
up from further downstream; their report was that the water down
there wasn't good holding water. At this point the general group
consensus was to move; there was another access point upstream so
we decided we'd check it out.
As we approached a family group was heading out;
their reports weren't good (granted, the sentiment was that the
kids didn't have enough patience to catch fish). The first flow
of water we found was extremely small; it barely ran over the stocking
road. If this was the upper stream we were in big trouble. The stocking
road split after crossing this tiny creek, we took the right and
came upon an extremely picturesque are of the river. It wasn't quite
as large as downstream, but this definitely was the Trout River...not
that little drainage ditch we passed a minute before.
Again we fanned out; the majority of us headed
downstream while Bart went upstream. In no time he was back down
saying that upstream was a waste of time. Ok!
We again focused on the pools when we could find
them; the water was still cloudy upstream so sighting fish wouldn't
be likely. With 6 folks all moving down this little stream together
things got kinda crowded, each of us staking out our own little
spot briefly and then going further down.
We did find one larger deep pool where the little
spring fed into the Trout River. The flow in this area was extremely
slow, so I focused most of my time on the far side where the stream
fed in from above. Brendon opted to work from the far deep end of
the pool, just above the riffles, and drift in the countercurrent
of the flow. We spent a lot of time working the pool over, all the
while never seeing any activity of fish. I even saw caddis coming
down and landing on the surface of the water..not a single sip occurred.
I did managed 4 tugs, but I suspect they may have been something
like creek chubs. No trout materialized in this pool that looked
Meanwhile, Dave had better luck downstream, pulling
a 2on; on brown on the dropper and one brown on the second fly at
the same time. That HAS to be fun! Danny also scored a brown, while
Bart, M, Brendon and myself all went fishless. We all agreed that
it was NICE to get out of the sun and into a change of scenery for
a while though.
Bart & M decided it was time to make the drive
back to Chicago, and Dave, Brendon and Danny were eager to get onto
the Waterloo for the weekend, so we all said our good-byes and got
on the road. I figured I had a couple more hours to kill before
I HAD to get on the road to WI; it was only a 3.5 hour drive back
so why not put in more time on the Trout in my attempt to beat my
bro to the Triple Slam!
Rather than bore you with all the details, lets
just say that my trip back downstream was an extreme case of Deja
Vu; 2 more bows and 2 browns out of the same holes as before; at
the time I was very convince that I was catching the same fish all
over again. No brookies ever materialized!
So here's what it comes down to. Earlier in the
day Dave reminded me that "Brookies are the easiest to catch";
ha that made me feel "real good" at the time ;) However,
more likely this is how that advice applies: this weekend was Iowa's
"Free Fishing Weekend"; everyone was out on the streams.
If folks were keeping their fish, the brookies would be gone fairly
quickly, even at the hands of experienced anglers. So it's extremely
possible that this stream, with its proximity to Decora, was probably
fished out of brookies.
But now that I'm home I have even worse news..it
looks like the information on the Iowa DNR website is messed up
for Trout River. I came to Iowa with the assumption that the Trout
River was stocked with 70% Brookies, 30% Rainbows. Looking now at
quotas I can see that the info probably isn't correct. The "stocking
ratio" lists 70% Rainbow, 30% Browns according to the chart,
but shows 0 RAINBOWS being stocked (I got the columns confused,
thought that was the brown column).
Apparently the # for rainbows got shunted over
to the brookie numbers. CRAPOLA. More than likely the # of brookies
that goes into the Trout River is the typical low # in the couple
hundreds per year. To make things worse, Brook trout are only stocked
April through June, so the chances of getting back out there to
get huge stocker brookies is WEAK at best! DOUBLE CRAPOLA!
Fortunately there are plenty of other places to
get brook trout, and plenty of rivers where there is the potential
to grand-slam; trust me I'll be trying in the coming weeks! All
told for this weekend, I had 19 trout (pretty evening split between
browns and rainbows); Bart had 7 or 8 I think. Daves crew averaged
out at over 40 fish each over 2.5 days of fishing. Rich and the
boys definitely turned 40 easy. Bottom line, between 9 people we
easily caught and mostly released well over 200 fish in the Northeast