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7-6-03 - Another morning on the Waterloo.
Since we're right by it anyway, we took a look at the Big Spring Fish Hatchery.
Unlike the Decora Trout Hatchery, Big Springs was all in-ground runs.
Just upstream from the hatchery we dropped in on the Turkey River. It's like being out west...or at least the Sheboygan.
Another view upstream on the Turkey River.
Finally some daytime photos of the Sny Magill.
The water was kinda murky but one thing was clear...no fish.
Bloody Run. We got a bad feeling about this since it was awfully similar to the Sny Magill. Tried another access spot which turned out to have NO ACCESS.
So we head BACK to the North Bear in the afternoon...AGAIN!
On his first or second cast Bart already lands this big brookie...only Iowa has brookies like these ;)
And he spent the rest of the afternoon without another fish!
My last ditch attempt back on the Waterloo gave me my ONLY HIT of the entire day...0/1! SKUNKED IN IOWA????

7-6-03 - Independence Weekend in Iowa, Part III

Waters Fished: Waterloo Creek, Turkey River, Sny Magill, Bloody Run, North Bear Creek
Fish Caught: 0/1 personally, Bart got 3/3
Outing Date: 7-6-03
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: upper 70's
Water Temp: Turkey River -> 76F!, Sny Magill -> 62F
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Waterloo -> Pretty Clear, Turkey River -> Cloudy & Muddy, vis about 12", Sny Magill -> Cloudy, Bloody Run -> Clear, North Bear Creek -> Pretty Clear
Fish Species: Browns, Brookies & Bows
Pattern Fished: Everything Under the sun!
Pattern Color: You NAME IT!
Fishing Quality: CRAP

Sunday was the start of a good plan gone totally awry! The plan was to start by heading southeast to Big Springs & the Turkey river, then work our way North along the border to end our day at Bloody Run (by the Iowa / Wisconsin Border), cutting 45 minutes to an HOUR off our drive home!

Totally exhausted, and still battling a cold, I slept in while Bart & M went out for some early morning fishing on the Waterloo. Of course we *thought* maybe things would get better, but another night of heavy rains had totally shut the fish down! Bart turned one stinkin' rainbow.

So after about an hour drive and a couple wrong turns in tiny Iowa townships we ended up at Big Springs Fish Hatchery which rests on the Turkey River. Tons of fish were in the runs, and Bart got to see his first tank of broodstock. I'm tellin' ya, Brown Trout the size of Lake Michigan Carp are IMPRESSIVE.

We accessed the river through a campground and found ourselves at a nice bend; the temperature read 76F so wet wading was totally comfortable. I figured there were only a couple places to find fish, basically in or below the riffles, so I concentrated my area in these oxygen rich sections. Bart was all over the river scouting things out. I DID manage my first 2-on via my dual rig; 2 tiny MINNOWS! Well, there's something to be proud of!

I have to say we rather enjoyed the change-of-pace we got on the Turkey. It's by far the largest Iowa trout stream I've hit thus far, and other than the ultra-warm water it's probably a good stream in Spring or Fall. Bart and I both have this on our list should we come back this fall. We fished the Turkey for all of an hour before deciding that even if there were trout in the water, the conditions wouldn't be conducive this time of day, so our next stop was the Sny Magill.

I had originally intended to also look at one of the Sny's tribs, but as we drove over it (I could've JUMPED over it) I decided not to waste our time there. On to the Sny, and it turns out I happened to find the same spot FAT took us to the first time I fished in the middle of the night!

Well, things weren't good although the river was running cold. Ordinarily on a smaller shallow section like this I'd expect to find fish holding in the pools or being spooky in the runs. I didn't see anything...well, maybe ONE fish but I can't be sure! Bart opted to go upstream, and I took the downstream route.

Hiking got boring pretty quick...most of the "pools" were shallow enough to easily sight and determine "fish free"Those that were deep enough got fished HARD but didn't produce anything even like a bite.

Turns out I walked pretty far downstream from our access, and the only thing that made the trip worthwhile were fresh wild blackberries and some really neat dragonflies (metallic neon green bodies with black wings). The flew more like butterflies than dragonflies...more of a "flutter" type flight. I took some pics but they really don't show the details :(

After hiking through nettles and all sorts of vegetation I eventually worked my way back to the field through heavy brush, and hiked back to find M basically "done"...I couldn't blame her. Bart was nowhere to be found...usually at times when the fish aren't biting (or aren't even around) he's back in minutes....so maybe he found something upstream.

Well, I ended up having to hike UPSTREAM too, and once again didn't see squat. I went up about as far as the trail ran through the woods, and stopped when I started getting into nettles again (they even stung through my wet jeans, and a week later I still have some red marks on my arms from those nettles; INSANE!). I turned back to find M hangin' out under the bridge; a couple cold ones and we both waited for Bart.

Eventually he showed up and found us hiding from the heat (it may have gotten up to 90 by this point). Bart had gone REALLY upstream and met another angler who was fishing worms...he had been there since DAWN and only had two fish. A unanimous decision to "screw this" got us back in the car, headed towards Bloody Run.

So we get there, end up back at another campsite which happens to be FULL OF PEOPLE. One quick look at the river and we were already in "screw this" mode again....it was roughly the same size and character as the Sny Magill; we had enough of that for one day. At this point, we're still FISHLESS (well, Bart has his brown).

At this point we're kinda PO'd. What's up with the fishing???? No fish, no bites...this sucks. We were tempted to just go over the border and fish the Coulees in WI, but then again we had the goal of leaving the state with our possession limits (fresh trout are better than just about anything) and we weren't there yet! So Bart decided we must hit the North Bear as it had been VERY good to us over the past couple days.

On the Bear, the water was flowing cold. Bart ran upstream and sidled into his favorite hole. By the time I hiked up there he's standing in the middle holding a HUGE-ASS brookie up...only his first or second cast and he's got fish. Needless to say, I'm still fishless, and thus he got a friendly earful from me ;)

Upstream many of the fish were "missing" (AKA probably fished out) and those that WERE around weren't interested in much of anything. Dries, nymphs, they basically just weren't feeding at all. It looked like maybe I had to find deeper holes...perhaps one like Bart was sitting in.

Well, I hiked up, and up, and up. 2 FIELDS later and I hadn't found any holes...heck I hadn't even seen any FISH! OK, so upstream was a total waste, at least "upstream" from our access point.

I came back down, spending more of my time hunting blackberries (quite refreshing in the heat) and less time worrying about fish. By this point it was apparent that the holiday weekend and turbulent weather had FINALLY caught up with us. So much for my 30 fish day in Iowa...that is going to have to wait for another trip.

So in roughly 3 hours of fishing Bart had failed to land a second fish?!?!?! Come on! This was getting ridiculous. Someplace, somewhere, the fish must be biting.

Back to the Waterloo, Iowa's flagship trout stream. We split up and fished 'till dusk. I FINALLY managed a hit, and lost the fish as I turned to pick up the net for a solid landing. NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED the rest of the evening...I was 0/1 in IOWA???

Bart faired slightly better, landing one brown and hooking up with nothing else. So that's 3/3. Ridiculous! On the drive home I had to put in a call to FAT; he always said that if ya get skunked in Iowa "we laugh at you" and well, I was well deserving of the laugh I got ;)

  MP 

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