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7-27-03 - Our first stop today was Trout Run...for once we got there and found no-one else fishing! GREAT! This is a view of our hole upstream.
Another view of the same hole looking downstream.
Eureka! A huge stocker brown. What a great fight!
And then came my first rainbow of the day.
Look at this, stocker brown #2. I was having a fantastic morning!
Another shot of me + stocker brown #2. Whoever says stockers don't fight, you're wrong. That's the largest smile I've EVER had on my face! I was whoopin' and hollerin' 'cause this was FANTASTIC FISHIN! Photo Copyright 2003 Frank Nardomarino.
Monster Stocker Brown Trout #3
Monster Stocker Brown Trout #4. By this point I already had my limit...hadn't even been fishing for 2 hours yet!
Frank hooks up with his first trout of the morning!
Brings it in carefully....
Frank's first fish turns out to be a nice rainbow trout!
Back to my catches...Monster Stocker Brown Trout #5
Don't know where this little dinker brown came from...
Monster Stocker Brown Trout #6
Monster Stocker Brown Trout #7
I really wanted "Monster Stocker Brown Trout #8" but instead got Stocker Rainbow #2 :)
On the way home I stopped at the Little Paint Creek. It's heaven on Earth...gorgeous! This is one particularly scenic pool shot looking upstream.
The same pool shot facing downstream.
The Trout Population was thin..they were skittish and easy to spot...making for some challenging fishing.

7-27-03 - What an awesome day on Trout Run!

Waters Fished: Trout Run, Little Paint Creek
Fish Caught: 11/20
Outing Date: 7-27-03
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Air Temp: around 80F
Water Temp: 58F
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Slightly Cloudy...deeper parts were blue.
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: MP's Tucker Nymph, Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymph, Pink Squirrel
Pattern Color: Refer to the pattern

Who would've thought this would be the best day of the trip?! It's hard to top a day where you triple slam on the Waterloo and end up with over 35 hits through the course of the day! Well, FAT was also in Iowa this weekend with 4 folks from the Chicago TU; they had spent Saturday on Twin Springs, Trout Run, and Trout River. Overall fishing had been "average"; some guys had good days, some not so good. Their plan for Sunday was to fish the French; our original plan for the "traveling day" was to hit South Pine Creek in the AM, followed by Coldwater Creek and North Bear. But that would all change. Coldwater hadn't been stocked in almost 2 weeks, new information on South Pine suggested that it was way too late in the year to hit it, and we had already done North Bear last night! What to do? Well, based on FAT's Saturday experiences, it was decided we'd probably do something like Trout Run and Coldwater Creek, maybe with a stop late at French on the way home.

Let me tell you now that we never made it past Trout was on FIRE!!! We got there and for once there wasn't anyone on the river...Sunday morning must have been the trick! We sat in on a large hole and within minutes we started catching fish. Frank got on the water first and hit the head of the pool; I got in lower and could instantly see MANY FISH holding at the tail. There were also many risers slapping the surface but there was nothing floating on the water...what the heck were they feeding on?

Well it didn't matter....within a few casts I laid out a nice one towards the tail. I could barely make out the gold glint from the bead head on my Tucker Nymph, but that was enough to call fish up from the deep. I stood and watch the nymph slowly swing in the almost nonexistent current when a form appeared rising up. It came up to the fly and looked...and then SLAMMED THE FLY AND DOVE DEEP! The fight was on!

I tugged and pulled...there was a lot of barbed wire scattered about the shore so I wasn't sure what was in the deep...thankfully this fish didn't tangle up. When I finally got the fish up to the surface I saw it was a NICE BROWN. The fish kept on diving and I'd have to work him up nicely until FINALLY I landed him. Talk about a stunning fish...definitely a stocker (no red coloration at all)..the fight was incredible for a brown of his size.

I switched up to try and get the risers across the pool from me, but got no interest on an Elk Hair Caddies. So I switched up again, this time to a Pink Squirrel, and in no time hooked up with #2...turned out to be a nice rainbow. Snapped off the fly and retied with a Bead Head Pheasant Tail.

And that pretty much was the fly that stayed on the end of my line the rest of the day. #3 was another stocker about a fun fish. He rose..I could see his leopard spotting as he followed the fly. A strip would keep his interest...and the faster I stripped, the faster he chased. I stripped my nypmh back faster and faster...the brown following with such ferocity that it left a WAKE on the surface. FINALLY, within 10 feet of me he HAMMERED the fly and again, headed deep. I was so excited by this battle I had to run over to Nardo and show him the fish...he snapped the shot of me at right (look at that smile...ear to ear permagrin!)

#4 again fell for a swing at the back end of the pool, and turned out to be another stocker brown. Frank meanwhile was having hard times at the head of the pool...having hooked up a couple times but not landing anything. After my fourth fish, I shouted up to him and said that if I got my limit before he even caught one we'd switch places. Right after that comment, I got #5, another chunky stocker brown. As usual, the fight was awesome on these fish...running deep, tiring, and when you thought you had them they'd make another mad dash down into the blue water. FANTASTIC! Sure, the stocker rainbows jump, but these stocker browns brought much more brute force to the fight...really made for a fun time on my 4wt. with 7x tippet.

It was about 11:30 or so at this point so I gave my spot to Frank and showed him what I was doing there. Let's clarifly now that he HAD caught fish in the upper part of the pool...a creek chub and 3 BLUEGILLS?!?!?!

Walked up and got some lunch out of the car, and came back down to watch him. Apparently the spot really was key....Frank got his first fish...a nice rainbow. I got something really cool...from my vantage point I was able to see the entire pool which made for some really fun camera shots of his fight.

I could tell Frank was frustrated by the lack of activity at the head of the pool, so I wasn't really keen on going up there. I joked with Frank that I would wait for him to catch his limit before I started fishing again, but he was rather insistent. A call out on my angling ability was made; "Keep fishing Matt. Go up there, and if you catch a fish, I'll be really impressed" Nardo remarked. A'ight, if that's the way it's gonna be ;)

Didn't take long before I hooked up...I could see a brown in the pool below and using the high-stick nymphing method I put my PTail right in front of him..again the hammering strike followed by the deep run. Of course, all the while I was yelling to Frank, "What'd you say about catchin' fish up here????"

Admittedly the action was much slower at the least an hour went by without a bite...Nardo got another rainbow down at the tail. I started casting less "fishy" sections just to see what was upstream cast got a tiny bite on what I thought was a creek chub.

I pulled in the tiny fish (about 6") and only then realized I had the most awesome thing I could've asked for that day...a BROOKIE! I turned to Nardo (who'd been really wanting a brook all weekend) and said, "You're really gonna hate me. No, I mean you're really, really gonna be mad" and held my catch up...still attached to the line.

Now Frank may have mumbled something or even given his approval, but I never heard it. The brookie wiggled and came off the line, tumbling down the steep bank! NOOOOOOOOO..... Frank shouted "It's still there...get it!" and I went for it. The tiny trout had landed only inches from the water in the leaf litter. I scrambled down what looked like a path to the water, and maybe it was, but in my haste my feet slid out in front of me and I landed hard, on rock! That wasn't gonna stop me though. I carefully made my way to the brookie, who thankfully had not made it into the water yet, and got my hands on him.

A quick rinse in the water and I held up my prize. Frank shouted, "Did ya get him?"

"YES" I shouted, and then like a bar of soap in the shower, the little brookie squirted towards the sky out of my hand. In slow motion I watched him arch through the air and land about 2 feet out in the pool.

I was too shocked for obscenities. All I could do was scream. I'm sure Frank laughed ('cause I would've)! So I turned to climb back up the path, and in my haste AGAIN lost my footing. Now, bear in mind that I wasn't wearing waders, or even wet-wading gear, when fishing on Sunday, so it really really got me mad when I went into to the pool about knee depth! I got friggin' wet for the fish and still didn't have a picture!

So I took a break after that and watched Frank continue to ply the pool, but by this time the bite had slowed down. The fish would move deep when a cloud passed, and return when the sun reappeared. Eventually I made it back to the head of the pool and managed another brown, admittedly not one of the chunky stockers we had been getting into earlier.

By about 3:00 Frank had the 2 decent rainbows plus a small brown as well, and he was getting bushed. So we switched off on the tail of the pool..and wouldn't ya know it I hooked into yet another stocker brown. These things were ravenous...all it took was to get their attention and then twitch...and if you got a follow but not a take start stripping line in.

Frank and I looked, and it even got to the point where I suggested he try my rod because the only thing different between our setups and techniques was line color and the fly (his was just a smidge larger than mine). It almost worked for him, but no dice. Somehow I managed yet another stocker brown!!!!

Ok, so Nardo wanted to wager, "Next fish...all or nothing". Immediately after that statement, BAM yet another fish for MP, another rainbow! I honestly just think that Sunday was my day. By about 4:30 the bite had totally stopped and Frank was already late for the drive back home!

We packed it up and parted ways...I still had a couple hours I could kill in Iowa..but where? Coldwater almost wouldn't be worth the drive...I wanted to hit something on the east edge. I remember FAT talking a lot about hitting the Paint on the way home...and a look at the map showed both the Paint and Little Paint right there, just a couple miles off my route back to WI.

Now I must say I went there pretty much with scouting in mind; I had gone a total of 11/20 on Trout Run so my day was already fantastic. I opted for the Little Paint, as the Paint is a temperature sensitive stocking river (which means no fish stocked June, July, August).

I think the pictures below pretty much sum it up. I hiked most of the accessible areas or at least drove through them...the scenery was absolutely breathtaking, the best I've seen in Iowa so far. The creek itself wasn't large but did have some fair pools...I spotted rainbows and brookies for sure, and what I'm 90% sure were browns as well. This was difficult fishing water, at least the areas I checked (I didn't go where people were already fishing). Tiny, crystal clear, the fish were spooky. On the upside the Little Paint is surrounded by'd be a great place to take an RV and set up base-camp!

Well, that about sums it up for another fantastic weekend in Iowa. Bart wanted to go back this first weekend in August, but that's a little too soon (I'm actually writing this report 6 days after the fact on Saturday anyways; I have some catching up to do!) I figure at least one more trip before the big trip to Ontario for Pink Salmon!


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