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2-21-04 - RCochran with his 19" brown.
Nice MOJO on a rod I just finished building...first fish is a stunning little brookie with a heron peck.
RCochran was getting into the brookie action too..
QUICKTIME VIDEO of Rcochran casting griffith's gnats to rising brookies. THIS IS SWEET (but a big download, 15.9 mb, 1 minute in length). Sorry about the file size folks..I don't have the time to compress all the vids right now!
I tried several times to get this brown with the Tucker Nymph, and my persistence paid off! My largest for the day, 13"...and only the second or third fish on this new rod...talk about good trout mojo! Maybe by the end of the day I can make this a "Lucky Rod"?!
We headed downstream of the hatchery in search of big trout!
RCochran at left, and Chiro in the distance, both fishing for some big browns.
As I worked my way back upstream I hammered another colorful brookie!
THERE IT IS! A nice PUT & GROW Rainbow Trout! The Triple Slam is IN THE BAG and this rod now has earned "Lucky Rod" Trout Mojo all over it....
Anyone know what kind of tracks these are? For starters, what the heck are they doing streamside in IOWA? They were HUGE!!!
QUICKTIME VIDEO again! This time, you can see several trout holding in an eddy. (4 Mb, 15 seconds or so...)
Chiro gets in on the brookie action as well!
The Manchester Hatchery. Lots of broodstock in the raceways at this facility!
QUICKTIME VIDEO one more time today, this time a shot of the largest broodstock pool at Manchester, simply full of 2 to 3 FOOT Rainbow Trout! (15.9 MB, 1 minute)
Later in the day we decided to spend 30 minutes or so at Maquoketa River (another checked off my list now!)
Chiro made a mad dash upstream in the hopes of finding a good pool...he never did though.
Can't argue with another great sunset in Iowa!

2-21-04 - Triple Slam Trout Mojo on a new rod...

Waters Fished: Spring Branch, Maquoketa River
Fish Caught: didn't keep track...there were many
Outing Date: 2-21-04
Weather: Cloudy
Air Temp: Around 34F dropping to around 29F.
Water Temp: Spring Branch = 44F, Maquoketa = 42F
Water Level: Up
Water Color: Heavily Stained
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: Tucker Nymph, Griffith's Gnat, Micro Jig in Black & Yellow, Travirsen Brookie
Pattern Color: as per pattern
Fishing Quality: MIXED

Well I promised you all pics this week, and there were only a few weeks I was going to get them...drive to Sheboygan (kinda far), have my camera shipped (kinda risky) or meet up with Chiro, have him bring the camera, and do some fishin!

Well, due to the weather, Chiro showed up at the LC house early, as in a DAY early! Friday night we got together and did some rod building and fly tying; after some recent reports about big trout eating little trout (nothing new) I had been thinking about all the big trout I had seen in Spring Branch...I had also been thinking how Spring Branch is entirely Put & Grow....which got me thinking...I needed a baby brookie streamer! Well, Chiro and put our heads together and with the materials at hand we devised the Travirsen Brookie...more on this later.

Despite getting up "early" we were still behind schedule, pulling into Walmart to meet up with FAT & the boys around 10:00. After everyone had their licenses, we headed straight out for Spring Branch, were RCochran was waiting. Along the way I let Chiro take the wheel...I'm sitting shotgun looking at my Iowa map (which is now in two pieces). My window is cracked no more than an inch to evacuate the smoke from my cigarette...I'm lookin' at the map...there's a loud FWRAP...and I'm now looking at my feet...where the HELL IS THE MAP?!?!?! Chiro is laughing hysterically and that's when it hits me; 50% of my Iowa map has just been sucked out my window! We were both in tears before finally gathering ourselves and focusing back at the task at hand...going fishing!

As we pull up around 11:00 am there's this guy standing right by the hatchery with his rod doubled over...I'm thinking, "I know that type or rod bend, that's a BIG FISH bend!" Sure enough, there was Randy who landed a 19" brown just as we walked up!

Well we wasted no time getting on the water! "Let the Catching Begin!" In no time Chiro picked up a brookie! I struggled a bit as I was targeting a large brown I had seen holding last week. The water in Spring Branch was heavily stained from the snow melt; I went at it with the Travirsen Brookie until snapping it off...then hit the run for a while with a black & yellow micro jig...but again no luck!

Fat was working upstream, and Chiro continued to head downstream, so for a while Randy and I bumped around until finding a pool full of willing biters! I got my first brookie of the day (Tucker Nymph as always) while Randy opted for the Dry Fly...a Griffith's Gnat. Man in no time we had landed several fish; it made shooting the video a snap (1 minute of video was all it took to capture the entire 3-4 casts, the bite, and the 3 landing attempts!).

All the while there was a larger brown holding in an eddy...an early attempt had gotten a follow but now take...I was ready to try again. Excellent presentations didn't spook the brown, but they didn't get his attention either. Patience would win this game; as the brown chased a brookie in a territorial display, it then turned to whack the Tucker Nymph! WOW...talk about fun! This would be the only fish that I felt I truly NEEDED a net for....turned out to be a spawned out 13" brown hen....a nice prize all the same!

Randy had shown me some great action, but almost too easy, so we left that pool alone. However, we did tell FAT what was going on and where, considering he was out with the boys it was the perfect spot (I hear they all got several fish).

I worked downstream and bumped into Chiro, who now had a couple more fish under his belt too. I set up a position just downstream from where he had been fishing while he bumped down to the riffles below. For our efforts I had one LARGE bulge that took off with my Tucker Nymph (must have been a BIG fish), while Chiro picked up a few more Brookies and a Rainbow in the riffles! Rcochran came down, and we decided to move further.

Seeing as Spring Branch is "one of [Rcochran's] fave' streams" we opted to let him play guide as he showed us the various pools and runs downstream from the Hatchery. We set up on a pool for a while; I managed a small brown (quickly released, sans photo...no need) while Rcochran and Chiro were chasing some risers a bit further down. After a short while I opted to head back up to see what FAT was up to, but first I stopped to take another crack at that large bulging fish that I had lost earlier (I wanted my NYMPH back...I was already down 3 for the day!).

I came back to find that FAT had pulled the Houdini! No trace whatsoever. So instead I kept fishing...I worked a small pool that looked to only be holding brookies! I probably had every fish bite the Tucker Nymph...lost most due to tight quarters that prevented a good hookset (had my best luck sightfishing and stripping in the slack to set the hook!).

It was then, just as I thought I had gotten my chance at every fish in the pool, that a smaller fish slammed my Tucker Nymph with gusto! Upon landing imagine my surprise when I found that I had just completed the Triple Slam with an 8" Rainbow!

Towards 2:00 we got lunch and people started showing up in droves...good weather does that I think! After lunch I took Chiro to the lucky hole for some of the "you gotta see it to believe it action". Turns out he had done well downstream. To quote Chiro, "Well, I took off the Tucker Nymph...." and I stopped him mid-sentence.

"You TOOK OFF the Tucker Nymph? WHY?!" I queried.

"It was getting TOO EASY" chuckled Chiro. "I put on that Brookie pattern and got a brookie and a couple nice browns!" I think he said the largest was 16"....in any case I think I may have to post up the recipe for that Travirsen Brookie!

So I sat on shore, shot some video and pictures, all the while watching as fish after fish slammed Chiro's offering (I think he was back to the Tucker Nymph). From his location he really couldn't see into the pool, and the strange eddy does weird things with your line (like putting slack in it so you can't feel your strikes)....we joked later about the constant, incessant "SET THE HOOK, SET THE HOOK" being shouted from the bank by me.

On my first trip to Spring Branch I hadn't bothered to check out the Manchester Hatchery...imagine my surprise as I walked in to find out that it was full of broodstock (and only then did I recall that Manchester is where the NORMALLY keep the broodstock)! Shot a ton of video, but for some reason I neglected to get video of the HUGE brookie broodstock....man Chiro and I were DROOLING over those. The worst part, none of the pics turned out terribly well either 'cause I hadn't though to override the automatic ISO settings...lots of blurry fish pictures!

As sunset loomed we opted to head to one more stream...not sure what it was going to be but we settled on a new one to all of us, Maquoketa River...maybe 15-20 minutes away from Spring Branch.

When we pulled up I took the cursory look over the bridge and sighted nothing. Maquoketa was also stained, but nowhere near as much as Spring Branch had become throughout the day (when we left Spring Branch it looked like dark coffee).

Chiro vanished like a Ninja upstream, while Rcochran and I headed downstream of the bridge...it looked kinda promising...maybe. We worked our way downstream to a large pool, then turning around to come back up. As we headed back in the dwindling daylight, I spotted risers in the flat water. I cast and cast until I fouled my line...alright I'm out for the day. I watch on as RCochran worked it hard to get a bite from one of the risers...whatever they were we were determined to find out. Just as I made it back to the top of the bridge, Randy shouts 'I figured out what those risers are" as he held up a 3" creek chub!

Well, there's not much else to say other than this was a great day out with some great new fishin' buddies and we all learned something from each other. It is worthwhile to note that we ALL walked away from Spring Branch with the Triple Slame. I'm looking forward to fishing with both RCochran and Chiro again!

  MP 

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