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6-8-03 - Far upstream on the Waterloo.
Brown #1 for the day...and the first fish of the day for the 6 of us.
Shortly thereafter, bow #1.
Bart's first fish of the day, an handsome wild brown!
Another Bow!
Another little brown, had to keep him though 'cause the nymph tore his gill...he was bleeding everywhere.
Bored yet? Another bow!
Some of the scenery on the Waterloo is absolutely breathtaking. I'd love to have this as a fully functional miniature in a glass box!
I had FAT take my pic 'cause I got "their bow"; the fattest one in the pool that they had been trying for over the last couple hours ;) And I didn't even know he was there. It looks smaller in this pic than it actually is.
Another shot of the "fat" bow, now you get a better idea of the size.
Bart's largest brown on the Waterloo...gorgeous fish.
12 100% guilt free trout that went home for dinner, and 3 bleeder browns than joined in.
First brown out of Trout River...no longer skunked there!
Danny hooks into his first fish, a nice rainbow.
And then I got my first rainbow from the Trout River. Just need a brookie now.
Not a brookie...
Little spots like this can seem empty; it's still worth a toss.
Dave@Creekside and Brendon worked the deepest pool and turned a couple bows each.
This fat bow put up one heck of a fight, almost got away by running under some logs...I could FEEL the leader being dragged over and around the roots!
The upper public area on Trout River.
It was GREAT to get out of the sun and into some the woods for a change. I KNOW this pool MUST hold fish, but we didn't bring any to shore. 4 bites though...hmm.
Back downstream trying again for the triple slam. NOT a brookie.
Not a brookie....
Not a brookie....
Not a brookie....
I had to give up; sunset was approaching and I had a 3.5 hour drive ahead of me and things to do when I got there!

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' visibility
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 soaked.

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 by.

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 so promising.

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 the stocking 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 of Iowa!

  MP 

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