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1-1-04 - On the 2nd cast of the 2nd day of 2004, I landed my first fish of the year.
With some work a second rainbow trout came to shore.
Siewers Spring is where Trout Run starts; just below is a deep, very narrow section choked with watercress; I landed & released Rainbow #3 here...not really 'fly fishing' considering only 1/2 my LEADER ever left my rod tip!
HOLY MOTHER OF IOWA RAINBOWS! Where the heck did this GORGEOUS fish come from? LIKELY A PUT & GROW - release these pristine rainbows when you find them!
The junction of Trout Run and the Upper Iowa River. While there "could" be trout here, I suspect that the holes upstream are more consistent in their "fish holding" abilities.
This is where it all starts for "Twin Springs". Good luck trying to catch the extremely wary tiny trout that reside in the larger spring.
Twin Springs has never been known as a "high catch" stream 'cause it's pounded all the time AND it's small and clear. But, as you can see, there are plenty of trout!
ANOTHER shocker for the day; BROOK TROUT! You just don't see these every day when fishing the typical Iowa streams, and they are definitely not "In Season" - Iowa only puts in the "catchable"-sized trout in the Spring; this guy is a Put & Grow.
Now that I have the hardest piece of the puzzle, the "Triple Slam" will come easy!
There's a couple streams where you're guaranteed to catch WILD BROWNS! This was my first.
Just in case you don't think I pulled the Triple Slam with that first brown, I'll add a larger and even more colorful 2nd!
The day ended cold and moist. For all of you wanting a "hint" at MP's Secret's the only hint I'll give to the general public.

1-2-04 - The New Year's Celebration Continues with the TRIPLE SLAM in Iowa Trout Country!

Waters Fished: Trout Run, Twin Springs, MP's Secret Stream
Fish Caught: 7
Outing Date: 1-2-04
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temp: As high as 50F
Water Temp: Trout Run - 44F
Water Level: A bit low in all, likely normal for winter
Water Color: CRYSTAL Clear
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout
Pattern Fished: Tucker Nypmh, Griffith's Gnat
Pattern Color: per respective patterns
Fishing Quality: OUTSTANDING!!!

If there's one thing I've learned in the past year that I want to share with all of you, it's that Iowa truly is the "Trout Mecca" of the Upper Midwest. The 24/7/365 Season; there is Trout Fishing to be done EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR!

Obviously you all know just how enamored I have become with the Northeast corner of Iowa in this past year since my introduction to it by Richard "FATMAN" Brown. However, I know many of you still scratch your heads. I also know a few of your downright consider Iowa a "lesser" trout experience. Well to those of you who are sitting at home talking smack about MP while waiting for a Wisconsin Season opener that's about 3 months away....all I have to say is read on, oh, and "Na NA NA NA NA".

I got to bed EXTREMELY EARLY on Thursday which was a good thing when I woke up at 5:00 AM Friday - a chugged Mountain Dew and that first smoke of the morning was all it took to get me in the car and on my way. Granted, I think I got about a quarter of a mile before realizing I had left my camera; a quick trip back and again, I was on my way.

The drive was BRUTAL - dense fog covered the area between Lake Como and Madison; that stretch probably took 2 hours instead of the normal 1 hour, 15 minutes. NO worries, sunrise comes late this time of year...plenty of nighttime left to drive in.

Sometime around 8:30 AM I was at Cabela's - time to get some supplies I needed for rod building (the other winter troutman hobby). Oh, and folks, your Iowa Licenses probably expire on the same day mine does, Jan 10. So, what the heck, I had $100 bill from my folks as a Christmas present just burning a hole in my pocket - what better investment of their cash than renewing my Iowa License!!! I'll tell you now, that is MONEY WELL SPENT!

10:30 rolled around as I pulled into Decorah; time to fish Trout Run. I have to admit there was a section I wanted to hit again after fishing it last month for the Pet Fly Smackdown. Admittedly it was a tough call; between the results that the BLT's had and then seeing VIDEO that Chromeseeker Shot LAST weekend on South Bear, I was very tempted to head there instead. But Trout Run and I were not done yet.

I also decided that this would be a good time to try a new rod; Justin (Alaskan Rod Crafters) built me a sweet St. Croix SCIV 9' 4wt. back in November for the Missouri Trip; that was the rod I let Dan fish all weekend. BTW, keep an eye out for Justin's new website; we're putting the finishing touches on it this week. I gave this new rod a few casts in MO, but never spent a day with the rig. The reel; a Ross Cimmaron from Creekside. The like is Air Cell DT 4. Yes, that Air Cell is a great affordable line. With this setup the balance is perfect and I can roll cast exceptional will probably be my default setup in Missouri next time!

On my second cast into the channel in the watercress, I had my first hit, and a feisty stocker bow came to shore. A few more casts in the hatchery's outflow produced a second rainbow. Overall though, I'd say the fish were VERY spooky in comparison to a month ago.

I headed all the way upstream to the springhead, and managed to sight a couple browns and bows. High sticking my nymph through the channelized watercress was a breeze with the 9 foot rod; a wary rainbow made a big mistake and gave up his concealed position to hammer the Tucker Nymph.

I admit, I wasn't done yet. However, the fish were indeed skittish; the moment the nymph hit the water fish everywhere would scatter. I guess this time of year they are not accustomed to things falling into the water. I tried a Griffith's Gnat for a bit, even stripped it under the water for subsurface presentations, but unlike the tucker it never got a look.

So I tied the Tucker back on and headed a bit downstream. Again, many skittish trout alerted their counterparts, so the fishing was relatively "tough". However, amidst all the chaos and confusion, I lured a trout out from underneath the watercress on the inside corner of a bend. When I got it to shore my jaw is by far the most stunning rainbow I have seen in ANY of the Iowa Trout Streams.

Trout Run had paid off big time, so now I figured "what the heck"; I'd stick with small water for the day and try to get more challenging trout. Twin Springs was an easy choice as the #2 spot for the day. I decided to scout some more and headed upstream all the way until suddenly the stream disappeared from my left. I turned around, headed back down the road and pulled is here that I found exactly how Twin Springs got it's name; two small springs, joined at one spot by some piping, form the source for this creek.

In the Springhead there are many trout, none larger than 7", and all extremely wary. The deepest point is probably no more than 1 or 2 feet, and all of these trout were basically unapproachable. I wasted FAR TOO MUCH TIME trying to coax a small yet vibrant brookie out from underneath the rocks that line the springhead.

Downstream in this small water there is abundant watercress that holds trout. I got a few looks; the key here is to approach VERY slow, stay low, and cast delicately. I missed yet another brookie. Hmm...brookies...hmm...

Well, I headed downstream to deeper water and it was here that I scored. The browns in the pool were uninterested, but I received MANY BITES from the rainbows that were holding in the pool. Somehow every single one spit the fly before I could set the hook. Well, every single one EXCEPT for a nice little Put & Grow Brookie that came to shore. FINALLY, a brookie!

Wait a minute, I have a brookie for the day! WHOO HOO! Time to complete the triple slam. Without hesitation, I left Trout Run and made the LONG drive to MP's Secret Stream to cap off the day with some wild browns!

Now, keep in mind I have this little piece of secondhand info in my head; back during the smackdown FMA and Fruitbat were given the privilege of my disclosing the secret stream's identity and location. They came back with very disappointed words; there were few fish, no big fish, and they didn't really catch anything. They had at least 2 or 3 hours to spend there...what the heck???

Well, MAYBE they didn't fish the right stream??? As I came to the stream I saw at least 50 or 100 trout, averaging 12" with several pushing 16-18"...and they were flying downstream as fast as they could just to get away from the disturbance that was occurring on the shore! OBVIOUSLY there were PLENTY of trout here IF this is where my teammates had fished. Perhaps they experienced what I had just witnessed...these fish had gone spooky for the winter!

Somehow, perhaps only by shear will and luck, I managed to land 2 browns, both wild, from the Secret Stream. I had only 2 additional takes that came off all too quickly. GRANTED, all of this only took 15 minutes ;) Was it worth the drive? ALWAYS! Oh, and YEAH for me; another successful "Triple Slam". Ok, not in the "purest" sense which is Rainbow, Brookie and Brown all from the same hole on the same stream on the same day on the same fly....but a Triple Slam all the same!

I couldn't have been happier driving 5 hours back to Lake Como in the fog!


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