8-31-03 - Scoutin' West and honing MS2's Fishin'
Ninja Skills on some Whily Iowa Troutskis!
Waters Fished: Trout Run, Coldwater Creek, Bigalk
Fish Caught: PLENTY
Outing Date: 8-31-03
Air Temp: 50's in the AM, 70's for the high
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: All Seemed Normal except Coldwater which is now definitely
Water Color: All pretty clear
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: Tucker Nymph
Pattern Color: gray & gold
Fishing Quality: GOOD but not yet fantastic
So we finally caught up with MS2 and L, and on
Sunday morning we probably got up around 6:30 and, at the latest,
were on the rivers by 8:00. I set Bart up where Brennon had done
well the last weekend; meanwhile I took MS2 and L to a hole that
would get them working their roll casts in on some close fish in
tight quarters! Meanwhile, I'd work some of the most difficult water
in this stretch comprised of an undercut in the watercress followed
by a sharp bend and gut; watercress on both sides.
So the casting options were not great, either cast
into the bend from downstream OR go upstream and drift to the bend.
No way to actually go around the bend as you can in many circumstances;
the foliage on the bend provides some good screening as fish in
this area are rather skittish!
Somehow I managed my first brown, at first I thought
"put and grow" or "wild" but actually decided
to keep it anyway; turns out it was actually a stocker (the lack
of red is really the giveaway; those stocker browns vary quite a
bit in coloration, but rarely have ANY red on them). Meanwhile,
Bart had not faired well on the pool and moved downstream, leaving
MS2 and L to work the pool.
Somehow, I set up again on the bend and managed
a second nice stocker brown. MS2 and L were not so lucky; after
their initial bites the fish had shut down. After a while Bart came
back up, having landed only one rainbow, and we decided to fish
up at the rearing facility.
I wouldn't have though it, but high-stick nymphing
through the cuts in the watercress brought on some awesome fights.
Jim hooked up a few times. I spent some time on a smaller trout
which at first I thought to be a brookie, but later on determined
to be a small brown.
FINALLY things paid of for L., her first trout
on a fly rod ever. She handled it well, and brought in a great stocker
rainbow. We were ALL extremely happy to be there for that moment;
I know MS2 and I both had a lot of pride in that moment. L was now
officially a trout fly fisherwoman!
MS2 whacked yet another, followed by Chromeseeker
(for those who can't keep track, BART=CS=Chromeseeker). After they
had all had their fun, with me mostly running around taking pictures
and netting fish, I decided to work over the tiny water myself...2
on..and off..literally lost one in the watercress when I foolishly
tried to land it sans-net. Darnit, there's a reason I carry that
net in the first place!
Time to move to Coldwater! I fully admit, I kinda
played guides with my friends on Sunday; I had a few key areas I
wanted to hit and set L & MS2 up on one of the best holes; afterall
it was their anniversary trip...they should really enjoy themselves!
Bart worked downstream and eventually came up to
find me doing the wading and casting thing...I had lost at least
3 trout in the same hole and my feet were FROZEN...I was ready to
get out, so I let him have at it and snapped some pictures of him
casting that great Alaskan Rod Crafter's rod that Justin made for
him! SWEET PICS if I say so myself (to right, below).
I worked a smaller lunker structure and another
couple holes...ended up with TONS of takes but NOTHING materialized
on my line. I wasn't about to get skunked on Coldwater again. However
things weren't looking up.
I hit all the holes I knew off, and finally as
I was walking back I noticed one that for whatever reason, simply
gets overlooked. No sooner had I dropped my Tucker into the pool
than a respectable rainbow immediately rose to it and smashed it
without hesitation. He stirred up the entire pool, but I got my
rainbow! Meanwhile, MS2 and L faired really well..I believe they
landed 3 or 4 out of that one hole. Congrats again!
Now, on my last trips to Coldwater I'd noticed
another trout stream in the area, Bigalk, but I'd never gone. Well,
I figured today would be the day! Only a short 10 minute drive or
so and we were at the first pool.
Fish were swarming everywhere on the far bank...I
fished it only briefly but it was clear that whatever Bart had on
his line, the fish wanted that. Almost every cast he hooked up,
and then lost a fish. By the time I got to counting him at 0/7 I
didn't even think to keep fishing it.
But then he hooked into a nice stocker bow and
with the help of MS2 got it landed. I moved up to watch them fish...from
my vantage point I could see EVERYTHING going on. Shouting casting
instructions and hoping for the best, but nothing showed up for
MS2 or L. Bart managed a second, tiny fish. From where I stood it
looked like a creek chub, but I can tell you know it was a fingerling
rainbow! SWEET...I think.
Well, we continued to scout other sections, and
here's the jist of Bigalk. There MAY BE naturally reproducing rainbows
in there...so I seriously recommend considering catch and release
here for the time being until I learn more. Fingerling rainbows
were ABUNDANT...I landed at least a few myself (see the picture
below). There were definitely stocker rainbows in the stream, but
there were also some rainbows that held WILD coloration, bright
red stripes running down their sides.
Now, the DNR does not show any stockings of FINGERLINGS
in Bigalk, neither on their website or the map. That doesn't mean
they weren't stocked in there, but from my current information they
weren't stocked. If that's the case I'd LOVE to see a stream like
Bigalk turned into C&R only for wild rainbows. Iowa has plenty
of streams with wild browns, one or two with natural brookies, but
none that really are managed for natural rainbows. IDNR, if you're
reading this, I say GO FOR IT!
Some other noteworthy topics; it appears that TU
or the DNR or someone is doing some streamside improvements. There
were many lunker structures sitting out, ready to be installed,
along the banks. Folks, you might be wise to make a trip and note
their locations now...it is information that'd make you a better
angler on this stream in the future.
On top of all that, it is worth mentioning that
the rainbows DID NOT come easy on Bigalk. I only hooked up with
Fingerlings; Bart managed to find what they wanted and had a few
takes, all resulting in long-distance releases.
Additionally, the "stocked" waters are
not terribly long, so if you go spend an hour or two and hike as
much as you can gain access to. A lot of the fish-holding areas
are DIFFICULT fly water...adding to the challenge. DNR, I'll say
it again, if there is natural reproduction going on it seems there
are ample numbers of fingerling rainbows...go for a C&R only
on this stream...it's a challenge and would be worth it!
Well, in all fairness we spent way too much time
on Bigalk...well...way too much in the definition that we were all
pretty hot, tired and hungry! A trip back through Decora fixed most
of that, and by evening we were ready for one last stream. Trout
River? North Bear? Nope, we settled for the Waterloo.
By this point we'd only have maybe 1-2 hours of
daylight left; I was done "playing guide" and immediately
got to MY favorite hole. Man I whacked them hard and produced 2
more stocker rainbows to fill my limit for the day....well worth
it! I brought L down to the hole and made her get in; the only way
she'd reach the risers was to quietly wade to them. It paid off
big-time; she hooked up with a stocker that gave her a wild ride...running
out her line, then charging. When it finally started to tire I got
the net out to her and had her try to land her first fish. She almost
got it, but then it swam upstream, then across towards shore and
back downstream behind her! Somehow the fish managed to get tangled
in a log and get away! D'Oh!!! It didn't matter though; that night
we'd eat L's secret campfire potatoes and trout...delicious!